Guidance for School Counseling Faculty

As you welcome students back to your program – whether online or virtually – you will face unprecedented challenges including virtual learning plans that must be flexible to allow for changes in state guidelines and university policy. Additionally, your students will be managing their own anxiety and fear around the pandemic, you’ll be seeking more creative approaches to your teaching and you’ll be at the mercy of school district plans when it comes to internships. 

Schools and districts across the country begin classes this fall with a mix of settings including reopening for in-person classroom learning – in many cases with adapted schedules and significant health and safety practices – and schools reopening with virtual learning only. And for all schools, the situation could change at any time based on current risk of COVID-19 transmission. What’s certain is that the fall semester, and likely the spring semester as well, will be anything but predictable. 
Below you’ll find resources and information to help you as you navigate this new terrain.
Encourage Your Students to Join ASCA: From liability insurance to free webinars on relevant topics, ASCA has what your students need to stay up to date in the profession. ASCA has created a PowerPoint presentation you can use to educate your students about ASCA membership. 

School Reentry: The School Counselor’s Role: Graduate students need specific training to help students successfully transition to a new school year, even a year as challenging as 2020. By focusing on direct student services, school counselors can help students develop skills that will help them navigate changing expectations and environments. By providing indirect student services including consultation and collaboration with families, teachers and other stakeholders, school counselors can partner with others to make this year the best that it can be, even with its many uncertainties. 

School Reentry Guidelines and Considerations: Organizations including ASCA, National Association of School Psychologists, CASEL, AASA (School Superintendents Association) and others have released detailed recommendations regarding school reentry. Among the issues addressed are multidisciplinary teams, addressing social emotional learning and academic needs, school safety protocols and equity and access considerations. 

FAQs: Virtual School Counseling Ethics: When school counselors were suddenly thrust into online school counseling this spring, myriad ethical questions followed. Even though online school counseling has been a part of our profession for decades, new issues have emerged as school counselors ramped up to support students whose world had shifted. 
Anti-Racism Efforts Upon Return to School: All educators have an obligation to end racism and bias, and school counselors have a unique opportunity to be an important part of the solution. Through implementation of a school counseling program, school counselors promote equity and access for all students and make a significant impact on creating a school culture free from racism and bias. While online instruction will create new challenges, consider how the ASCA standards specifically address the school counselor role in anti-racism. (Coming soon: Anti-Racism Efforts in a Virtual World.)
Practicing Self-Care During a Pandemic: School counselors are great at caring for others, but they don’t always care for themselves. Clearly, there are no easy answers when it comes to self-care, but you can take a number of steps to improve your daily outlook.

ASCA’s Pandemic Resources: Since March, ASCA has created and curated a variety of resources related to navigating COVID-19, including webinars, town halls, guidelines, resources, curated information from related organizations and more. These resources are updated regularly. 

New Books for School Counseling: ASCA is releasing three new publications in September 2020. Visit the ASCA bookstore in September to order or request desk copies after Sept. 15, 2020. 
  • “Culturally Sustaining School Counseling: Implementing Diverse, Equitable, Inclusive Programs,” by Tim Grothaus, Ph.D.; Kaprea F. Johnson, Ph.D.; and Natalie Edirmanasinghe
  • “Making MTSS Work,” by Emily Goodman-Scott, Ph.D.; Jennifer Betters-Bubon, Ph.D.; Jacob Olsen, Ph.D.; and Peg Donohue, Ph.D.
  • “Making Supervision Work,” by Taqueena S. Quintana, Ed.D., and Sonia Gooden Alexis, Ed.D.
New Recognition Programs: ASCA CAEP SPA and Certification: In February 2020, the ASCA Standards for School Counselor Preparation Programs were approved by the Commission for the Accreditation of Education Programs (CAEP). In September 2020, programs may request “report shells” to begin collecting their data to apply for the ASCA National Recognition through CAEP. The ASCA SPA national recognition for school counseling programs is available for programs that are accredited (or seeking accreditation) by CAEP. Learn more, including how to request report shells, here.

Additionally, ASCA announced the new ASCA-Certified School Counselor designation during the ASCA@Home conference in July. The ASCA-Certified School Counselor (ACSC) certification demonstrates school counselor knowledge in designing, implementing and assessing a school counseling program. Students who graduate from ASCA SPA programs will benefit from an expedited pathway to certification.