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Poised to Lead: How School Counselors Can Drive College and Career Readiness

March 5, 2012

Poised to Lead: How School Counselors Can Drive College and Career Readiness (PDF)
Source: Education Trust

The caliber of course selection strongly shapes the choices students have after they leave high school. Yet, few students are equipped to determine which combination of courses will best prepare them for success after graduation. School counselors can help. These educators know how to create course schedules that will prepare students for the twin options of college and career.

Not only can school counselors help individual students, they can help their schools, too. Their unique vantage point gives them insight into which students (including which groups of students) are on a dead-end path, which are receiving an education that will yield real choices, and which are in between. They also know which courses or teachers produce the most failures and successes, which policies hold students back, and which instructional supports actually help. This knowledge makes school counselors an invaluable resource for helping schools see how their policies and practices may contribute to holding students back, and for determining how to propel all students toward success.

However, on too many of our campuses, high school counselors are saddled with menial tasks that are unrelated to preparing students for success after graduation. The reasons for this range from the way school counselors are trained to how they see themselves, and the way their role is defined in schools. The failure of principals to recognize school counselors as potential leaders in the effort to raise achievement and success for all students also is a factor.

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