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CSPU 618 Best Practices in Counseling

Rebecca Heindel

Brandman University

February 2, 2018
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Mount Diablo Unified School District is located in Northern California. It is a large

district that has 31 elementary schools, 9 middle schools, 5 high school schools, 17 alternative

schools, and 2 adult education schools. Before 2015, there were no school counselors in this

district at any grade level. The administration team was responsible for all the counseling needs

of the students.

With a new Superintendent at the helm, she saw the need, and importance of having

school counselors at all grade levels. In January of 2015, the first eleven counselors were added

to the high school, and middle school campuses. To date, there are 60 counselors employed by

Mount Diablo Unified, and all schools have at least one counselor two days a week. The

elementary school counselors share their time between two elementary schools. At the middle

school level, there are two full time counselors at each site. The high schools vary in size, as well

as need, and it is up to each principal to determine how many counselors each school site has.

The largest high school currently has five full time counselors, two high schools have four full

time counselors, and the smallest of the two high schools, have three full time counselors.

With the districts direction, all schools use the American School Counselor Association

(ASCA) model of school counseling. Each school has a comprehensive counseling plan in place.

There are monthly counselor meetings at the school district office that all counselors attend for

professional development. The program coordinator for the school counselors offers guidance

and support, as well as recommendations of what the counselors should be striving for at each

grade level. Since each is school is unique, the comprehensive programs reflect the needs of each

individual school.
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This is my eighth year working at Concord High School. For seven years I served as the

College and Career Advisor, and this is my first year as a School Counselor. Concord High

School is one of five comprehensive high schools in the Mount Diablo Unified School District.

Grades 9 through 12 are served at Concord High, with a population of roughly 1600 students.

The school population reflects the diverse cultural composition of the community it serves. There

are approximately 80 staff members that include four full time counselors, as well as one College

and Career Advisor. The counselor to student ratio is approximately 400 students to each

counselor. The counselors are each assigned a range of the alphabet in which to follow. One of

the counselors oversees all the AVID students, one checks in with athletes that are using

academic waivers in order to participate in sports, and one oversees the students in the

Health/Public Service Academy.

A needs assessment was emailed to all staff members to help determine how to better

support the students at Concord High School. 27 staff members responded, this includes 20

teachers, 2 counselors, 2 support staff, 2 instructional assistants, and 1 school psychologist. The

focus of the needs assessment was based on how the counselors can better support the needs of

all students so they can be successful in their classes at Concord High.

The overall consensus, with 95% of the respondents either strongly agreeing, or agreeing

that the lack of parent support has a negative impact on student success. 100% agreed that there

needs to be more parent education, and 92.3% feel that more communication is essential to

student success. The majority of Concord High parents work full time. When attending sporting

events, there is usually a decent number of parents attending, and cheering on the team. For back

to school night in the Fall, the participation of parents is very low. Some teachers report that they

only have a few parents in each class. This year, at our junior and senior parent night, where we
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go over expectations, graduation requirements, college requirements and senior activities, there

were only twelve parents present. This is by far the lowest turnout we have had in eight years.

We are considered the “transfer school” in our district, and our transfer student population has

substantially increased in the last four years. What this means, is that we have a large population

of students that live outside of our neighborhood, and it makes it very difficult for parents to

commute home from work, pick up their child from school, and drive all the way back to school

for an evening meeting. Thus, the school counselors need to be creative and find a more

productive way to get important information to the parents.

In 2011, Gentry’s study on school aged children, and parent involvement, revealed that

“parents who back their children make a difference in school success by helping develop an

appropriate mindset, motivation, and self-discipline at school. Disengaged parents promote

school failures.” It is important to provide parent education, because parent education activities

can be very powerful tools that lead to the success of students.

What does parent involvement look like? Activities that the parents engage in at home,

for instance, helping with homework, asking to see work done in class, or just asking about the

student’s day. Checking the students grades as needed, and talking to their child about poor

grades, missing assignments, as well as praising them for work well done, and being focused.

Topor, Keane, Shelton & Calkins, (2010) state that “children whose parents are more involved in

their education have higher levels of academic performance than children whose parents are

involved to a lesser degree.” Also noted was the attitude parents have towards their child's

teachers, and school. Negative attitudes on the parent’s part, led to higher reports of misbehavior

by the students while at school. Whereas, parents who have a positive attitude towards education

usually have children with increased academic performance. (2010) With the decline in parent
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participation at Concord High School, it is time to make a change, and use the resources we have

available. By educating the parents on how to better support their student, it is the hope that

attendance improves, there will be fewer students with failing grades, fewer students needing to

transfer to an alternative education program to make up credits for graduation, and improved

parent/student/teacher relationships.

Change Proposal

Currently, there are two walk-thru days at Concord High School where it is mandatory

that the students and parent(s) both attend. There are set times for walk-thru, and on average, it

takes an hour to complete the process. Currently, the students are there to have their pictures

taken for their ID cards, and to pick up their class schedules and books. The parents are required

to be there so they can sign any mandatory papers, sign up to volunteer, and pay any fees that

there might be.

To promote more parent participation in their student’s education, I propose that the

walk-thru process be changed to include 20-minute stations that the parents will need to attend.

This will help the parents feel more connected to the school, and learn about all the resources

available to their students. The stations the parents will attend will be on the follow subjects:

Naviance

Aeries

Supporting Your Student

Graduation Requirements

Parent Faculty Club and Boosters Club

These stations will be in addition to any other stations that already exist in the walk-thru

process. Holding these workshops during walk-thru eliminates any extra cost. The school is
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already open so there is not a need for extra custodial services, and the staff members that are

presenters are already being paid to be there for the entire day, making this program change cost

free.
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Naviance Training Station #1

Time: 20 minutes

Trainer: College and Career Advisor

Location: 902 Computer Lab

Purpose: To familiarize parents with Naviance, and how the students use the program for

college, career and scholarship searches, as well as create four-year high school plans.

Supplies: Parent Handout

______________________________________________________________________________

Use projector to walk parents through a sample students profile on Naviance, while they are log

on to their student’s profile.

EXAMPLE of parent handout:

Welcome to your Family Connection/Naviance, your online locker with loads of features to

help you make decisions about your career and/or college. This is a sample of the available

features:

· Assessments including personality type and the learning style


· Research colleges
· 4-year course planner
· Look up colleges alphabetically
· Financial aid for college
· Scholarships
· Resume building template
How to log in: Go to https://connection.naviance.com/concordhigh

User name = Google username (chrome book account) Grad year, first two letters of first name, first

three letters of last name, 01@mdusd.net

Password = first initial of first name, first initial of last name, student ID#
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Aeries Training Station #2

Time: 20 minutes

Trainer: Attendance Secretary

Location: Library Computer Lab

Purpose: To hand out the homelink user names and passwords for Aeries. This allows the parents

to check on their students grades, and attendance.

Supplies: Aeries/Homelink Handout

______________________________________________________________________________

Invite parents to sit down at a computer. Hand out the student information for their student, and

have them log in to their account to make sure all parent contact information is correct. Use the

projector to show a sample student, and explain how to check attendance and grades.

EXAMPLE:

Student Name: John Green

Grade: 11

Dear Parent or Guardian:

To begin using HomeLink please visit our website at www.mdusd.org/homelink. There you will

find instructions for creating an account, along with other helpful information. The codes below

MUST be used when creating a HomeLink account online.

Permanent ID Number: 2187195

Primary Telephone: 9259393939

Verification Code: 75U45Y67RX9


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The School Counselor #3

Time: 20 minutes

Trainer: 2 Counselors

Location: 502 Computer Lab

Purpose: Parent teenager relationship support

Supplies: Handout of resources – See Appendix A-E

______________________________________________________________________________

Display on projector:

Counselor: Jane Doe alpha A-G (925) 687-3090 doej@mdusd.org


Counselor: Sally Smith alpha H-L (925) 687-3091 smiths@mdusd.org
Counselor: Mary Lee alpha M-R (925) 687-3092 leem@mdusd.org
Counselor: Steve Star Alpha S-Z (925) 687-3093 stars@mdusd.org
We encourage students to come in to ask questions, seek information and get to know the

counselors.

Why Contact a School Counselor?

■ Student guidance and social/emotional support


■ Academic monitoring
■ Scheduling Advice
■ Credit Remediation
■ Off Campus Alternative Education/Cyber High
■ Home & Hospital
■ Foster Youth Services
■ Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE) program
■ 4-year plans
■ Independent study and small necessary schools
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Graduation/College Requirements Station #4

Time: 20 minutes

Trainer: 2 Counselors

Location: College and Career Center

Purpose: To inform parents of what the graduation requirements are for Concord High School,

and what the a-g college requirements are.

Supplies: Graduation/College Are You On Track Handout (See Appendix F)

Course Selection Handout (See Appendix G)

______________________________________________________________________________

Parent handout/worksheet is attached.

Have parents make a four-year high school plan as if they were the student. Have them compare

the difference between graduation requirements and college a-g requirements.


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Parent Faculty Club/Boosters Station #5

Time: 20 minutes.

Trainer: PFC President & Boosters Club President

Location: 507 Computer Lab

Purpose: To inform the parents of the importance of the Boosters and PFC, and how these

organizations support their students.

Supplies: PFC and Boosters Application

______________________________________________________________________________

For this station, I would reach out to the PFC and Boosters club to have applications available. I

would also have them do short presentations as to what the Boosters clubs are, and how they

support the students throughout the year. I would also have them talk about the importance of

parent involvement at the high school level.


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References

Contra Costa Parenting Guide, Help in Hard Times, Resource Guide, Retrieved from

MDUSD.Org

Gentry, J. R. (2011, July 13) A lack of parent engagement helps create failing schools who is

more at fault, teachers or parents? Psychology Today. Retrieved from

https://www.psychologytoday.com

Topor, D. R., Keane, S. P., Shelton, T. L., & Calkins, S. D. (2010). Parent involvement and

student academic performance: A multiple mediational analysis. Journal of Prevention &

Intervention in the Community, 38(3), 183–197.

http://doi.org/10.1080/10852352.2010.486297
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Appendix A

Retrieved from MDUSD.org


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Appendix B

Retrieved from MDUSD.org


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Appendix C

Retrieved from MDUSD.org


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Appendix D

Retrieved from MDUSD.org


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Appendix E

Retrieved from MDUSD.org


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Appendix F
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Appendix G
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Copy of Needs Assessment


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Needs Assessment Results


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