October 2018

President’s Letter: Resources for Measuring Program Success

By Mindy Hall, M.Ed., M.A., SAC
During career exploration activities with students, have you ever used the Party Game exercise? Adapted from Holland’s Occupational Codes, the game is a simple activity that helps students to identify general areas of interest, which then can be linked with future majors and careers. Students are asked to imagine walking into a room where party goers are congregating in six areas of the room, grouped by similar interests and personalities. Students are then asked to rank the top three groups of people with whom they would prefer to mingle.
 
If you were to ask school counselors to select preferred groups in the Party Game, their answers would probably be Social, Investigative, Enterprising and perhaps Artistic. I would guess that not many school counselors would first select the Conventional group of people; those who like to work with data and possess strong numerical ability.
 
Yes, we must admit the truth: School counselors seem to have an aversion to data. However, it is imperative to remember that data can be our best friend. When stakeholders and budget planners pose the question, "What do school counselors do?" counselors can help to promote their programs by answering, instead, "How are students different or more successful because of what school counselors do?” To answer this question, counselors can access tools provided by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) model developers, which help to measure comprehensive, data-driven school counseling programs.
 
On the ASCA National Model website, members may download documents to plan, deliver and monitor program initiatives. These documents will not only serve as a compass to keep school counselors headed in the right direction, but they will also help create useful archives for yearly performance evaluations. NJSCA has created the NJSCA School Counselor Evaluation Model endorsed by the NJ Department of Education. This model which can help guide program implementation and provide measurement of program success.
 
Our executive board members who created and updated the NJSCA evaluation model will be presenting during the NJSCA Fall Conference, October 11-12, 2018, at Pines Manor in Edison. We have many exciting workshops and keynotes planned and an excellent selection of exhibitors scheduled to attend. Dan St. Romain will lead Thursday’s pre-conference session (October 11 at 5:00 pm) and Friday’s Keynote Address (October 12 at 9:00 am). We will again be offering the Mentor Program certification track.
 
There is still time to register for these breakout sessions and many more workshops which will offer tools to support your efforts in promoting student success. The National Center for Youth Initiatives is the company coordinating our NJSCA conference this year, so the registration process looks a little different. NJSCA Fall Conference Registration
 
Thank you for your dedication to promoting student success throughout the school year. We look forward to seeing everyone at the NJSCA fall conference!
 
Contact Mindy Hall, M.Ed., M.A., SAC, NJSCA president, at mhall@mtps.com.