The School Counselor and School Counselor Supervision
ASCA PositionSchool counselors engage in quality school counseling supervision during their training and professional practice to enhance the implementation of their school counseling program. Supervision by individuals who have a background in school counseling or certification in supervision enhances school counselors’ professional growth and leadership development in their roles as practitioners and potential supervisors.
The RationaleSchool counselors pursue consultation and supervision in their school counseling training program and throughout their professional career to strengthen their school counseling skills and remain culturally supportive and ethically compliant (ASCA, 2016; ASCA, 2019; ASCA, 2020). Supervision provides opportunities for novice and experienced school counselors to develop and refine the skills required to address the needs of pre-K–12 students through typical stages of development and as they navigate societal challenges (Bultsma, 2021). Supervision is also helpful in adapting to changing cultural and environmental demands.
To meet the needs of future students, to support current school counselors in the field, and to sustain the school counseling profession for the future, school counseling ethical and professional standards highlight the need for school counselors to seek supervision and training as supervisors (ASCA, 2016; ASCA, 2019, ASCA, 2020; CACREP, 2016). Effective supervision infuses knowledge of supervision models specific to school counseling,ethics, social justice, professional development, leadership, advocacy and other professional roles such as gatekeeping (ASCA, 2017; ASCA, 2019; ASCA, 2020; Levitt, et al., 2019). Trained school counseling supervisors provide necessary professional development to assist school counselors and school-counselors-in-training to be well-prepared, skilled and competent practitioners (Bernard & Goodyear, 2019; McCoy & Neale-McFall, 2017).As gatekeepers, supervisors also intervene with professional colleagues when the safety and welfare of pre-K–12 students is in jeopardy (ASCA, 2016; Schuermann, et al., 2018).
The School Counselor's RoleEffective school counselor supervision is an intensive, interpersonally focused, individual or small-group intervention delivered by a more senior member of the profession to a junior member to facilitate continued professional growth (Bernard & Goodyear, 2019). School counselor supervisors work to:
- support and encourage school counselor development
- foster the continued development of instruction, appraisal and advisement, and counseling skills
- facilitate personal and professional growth for operating in complex educational settings, including cultural competence and anti-racist work
- promote adherence to and integration of school counselor standards and competencies related to leadership, advocacy, collaboration and systemic change
- model the development of data-informed and accountable school counseling programs
- serve as gatekeepers for future professionals’ entry into the school counseling profession
- safeguard students and families with whom the supervisees work
- promote ethical behavior of supervisees under their supervision
- remain current on trends, techniques and strategies within the field of school counseling
- obtain professional development in supervision (ASCA, 2016; ASCA, 2019; ASCA, 2020; Bernard & Goodyear, 2019)
School counseling supervisors must have the following qualifications:
- a minimum of a master’s degree in school counseling or related profession with equivalent qualifications, including appropriate certifications and/or licenses
- a minimum of two years of professional experience within school counseling
- relevant training in school counseling supervision
New school counselors should maintain professional supervision (McLain, 2019). Notwithstanding, all school counseling professionals benefit from formal or informal mentoring from those school counselors with specific experience and competencies (ASCA, 2019; Brott, et al., 2016; Tang, 2020).
SummarySchool counselor supervision involves the continued personal and professional development of currently practicing school counselors and school-counselors-in-training regarding the knowledge and skills needed for providing effective school counseling programs. Supervision focuses on the development and growth of school counseling skills and the integration of school counselor standards and competencies in practice. School counselor supervisors have the appropriate background, experience and training needed to prepare school counselors to meet the ever-changing needs and challenges of students, families, schools and communities.
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