by: Eileen Melody, CSCA Chairman
At our last Governing Board meeting on November 7th, members discussed the resistance that we experience in our role as school counselors and as members of the Governing Board. As the CSCA’s leaders we work diligently to live the CSCA vision and meet the goals of our association (see Chairman’s October Blog) of leading, advocating, providing quality professional learning, and creating an inclusive and diverse professional identity and community.
We agreed that the resistance we experience comes from multiple sources: some from school administrators and district leaders who may see the role of a school counselor differently than the proactive, outcome-focused school counselor described in ASCA’s National Model, Fourth Edition. The CSCA promotes and supports this professional school counselor. Resistance comes from within the profession as well, from fellow school counselors who seek to deliver a school counseling program which has not adapted to the changes in the educational landscape, the changes in our schools, and the changes in our students. Board members shared that this resistance manifests in various ways from vocal push back to dreaded silence. Both forms of resistance require skillful School Counseling Leaders and School Counselors to manage and overcome.
We discussed the skills that we have as Board Members and School Counselors to overcome the resistance and to remain focused upon our vision. First of all, as Governing Board Members and members of the CSCA, we have a network to access for support. We meet regularly as a Board; all CSCA members are invited to join our meetings. It is during these meetings that we determine that Board actions are solidly rooted in the ASCA Student Standards and other accepted Student Standards, and in the ASCA Professional Standards and Competencies as well as ASCA’s Ethical Standards. With the certainty that this reflective practice ensures, we affirm one another as Professional School Counselors.
There are other skills that School Counselor Leaders have honed that help us understand that resistance is an opportunity. As School Counselor Leaders, we are visionaries, focused on our ultimate charge of advocating and supporting students in their well-being and student success. This skill of seeing possibilities and being future oriented allows us to see resistance as a checkpoint, not an endpoint. In addition, we do not succumb to resistance, because as School Counselor Leaders, we are committed to staying current with research and using data so that all our decisions and actions are based upon inquiry and findings.
Perhaps our strongest skills as School Counselors Leaders are our willingness to listen, reflect on input, and demonstrate collaboration. We innovate, working within existing structures to transform these spaces of resistance into places of growth. We understand the value of coming together with our vision and our expressions of many perspectives, with one voice (One Vision, One Voice - ASCA National Conference, Seattle, 2020 theme).
As Chairman, I write this piece, mindful that November is Gratitude Month. I was grateful for the opportunity to work through the tough topic of resistance with the Governing Board on November 7th. The Governing Board willingly listened to one another and reflected on the weighty challenges that are ahead of the CSCA as Connecticut’s leadership association for school counseling. I am grateful to each Governing Board member for their service this year.
Please reach out to me, Eileen Melody, at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your ideas and feedback about the CSCA’s work in recognizing resistance as an opportunity.