As school counselors return for a new school year it is the perfect time to focus on our role of advocacy. Events like Open House, first day of school, and Back-to-School Night provide face-time with families so it is imperative to have a plan to maximize these opportunities. Remember to use data to show how students are different as a result of the school counseling program. An advocacy orientation involves not only systems change interventions but also the implementation ofempowerment strategies in direct counseling.
1) an ethical and legal imperative for school counselors.
2) the desire to be a voice for students so that the school acts in students’ best interests.
3) teaching students to be self-advocates.
4) educating legislators, school board members, parents, administrators, and teachers about the school counseling program.
5) joining a professional organization which provides school counselors with a legislative voice.
Technology offers many tools for advocacy. A well designed counseling program web page, a blog, electronic flyers (smore.com), and social media like Twitter are a few I use on a regular basis. For example, all of our school board members follow me on Twitter so when I share what lessons, groups, workshops I am doing and their impact they can see in the comfort of their own home or office the impact of the school counseling program in my school!
Here are a few resources if you do not have a lot of training in advocacy. I print copies of the ASCA National Model Executive Summary and share it frequently with stakeholders.