Hello, Colorado school counselors! I’m writing this with great anticipation for the 59th CSCA Conference, which is right around the corner. By the time this article is published we will have spent two amazing days learning and expanding our professional practice. Having this time each year helps me set my intentions right for the rest of the year as things settle in. This edition of Colorado School Counselor focuses on equity in schools, covering topics like addressing racial and religious biases, meeting the needs of LGBTQ students and students with disabilities, and building cultural competency of school counselors, which are all hot topics at our conference each year.
When we think about equity in schools, I’m sure we can all think back to our cultural competency course in our counselor education program, but in reality, building cultural competency is a life-long process. We barely scratch the surface as we prepare to become school counselors. The real learning comes in our day-to-day interactions with students, families and other staff. These interactions give us the opportunity to address our own biases and expand our understanding of the unique differences that make us individuals.
A topic that comes up in my school and many others across the nation is how we acknowledge a transgender student’s preferred name. The questions I’ve seen in my own department and on counselor Facebook groups and the ASCA Scene relate to changing of the name in the school data system and how to handle a parent phone call when the transition is not supported at home. As school counselors, we are in a very important position to advocate for the rights of our transgender students by working with district personnel regarding student database systems reflecting a student’s gender identity, supporting the student as they choose to come out to those within the school when they are ready, and helping our students with communication at home. Understanding the needs of each student in their transition is key.
CSCA is highly involved in legislation that impacts school counselors across the state and we are thankful to have wider protections for those that are part of the LGBTQ community. We are often seeking school counselors willing to testify on behalf of our profession and how we support our students and school communities. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about testifying.
I look forward to another year of growth in my own practice and with the Colorado School Counselor Association, and I hope that you find this edition our newsletter useful. More resources about cultural competency and equity in schools for all populations are available through ASCA at www.schoolcounselor.org or on our own CSCA website at www.coloradoschoolcounselor.org. Follow CSCA on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for more information on what is happening for school counselors across our state.