Advocacy Interventions 101 from Your GSCA Advocacy Team: A Challenge!

Advocacy interventions in your school and community can seem daunting when there is so much on our plates already. As counselors though, we know that sometimes just making a few small changes can lead to growth and a much larger impact. With these ideas in mind, your GSCA Advocacy Team challenges you to do the following.

This school year, choose just three interventions from this list compiled by our friends in MSCA, the Missouri School Counseling Association, and try them out at your school and in your community. Some of our GSCA members may be using all or many of these ideas already, but many of us are developing our roles and programs. These ideas are for you!

Please join your GSCA Advocacy Team for the session on advocacy efforts at the GSCA Conference in Augusta in November. We would love to hear from you about the interventions you’ve tried. Again as counselors, we know that hearing about the success of others can inspire us further. We hope this list of ideas inspires you, and stay tuned for more everyday advocacy intervention ideas in upcoming publications.

Advocacy with stakeholders:

  • Develop a comprehensive counseling program handbook.
  • Provide workshops to explain the role of the professional school counselor and the components of a comprehensive counseling program.
  • Communicate with the total school family - that includes custodians, cooks, and bus drivers as well as other educators.
  • Publish a monthly counseling newsletter. Let others know the process for referring a student for services.
  • Provide workshops to share special topics to meet student needs.
  • Present information about the counseling pro- gram at monthly faculty meetings.
  • Prepare a brochure about your school’s comprehensive counseling program to demonstrate what services are available.
  • Be visible, be helpful, and involve others in your counseling program activities.
  • Organize and maintain an advisory committee made up of parents, teachers, counselors, administrators, students, and community members.
  • Serve as a member or leader on school/district wide committees.
  • Make posters and hang them in classrooms, hallways, and the office to advocate the counseling services available.
  • Develop a job description to share with appropriate stakeholders.
  • Publish a monthly counseling newsletter for teachers.
  • Present the role of the professional school counselor to new staff members during new staff orientation meetings.

Advocating with administrators:

  • Meet with district administrators at least twice a year to discuss the importance of having a fully implemented program.
  • Throughout the school year collect annual program data to share with district administrators and other stakeholders.
  • Meet with district/building administrators on a regular basis to discuss ways in which the school counselor is of value in meeting the needs of students and the school community.
  • Keep an annual calendar and share the events of the year with building administrators.
  • Schedule a weekly meeting with your principal to share information about needs of students, your program, successes and concerns. Such a dialogue can be valuable for a school counseling program.
  • Share your weekly schedule and appointments with the building administrator so they under- stand the importance of the role of the counselor in a comprehensive counseling program.
  • Provide a comprehensive counseling end of the year summary report for building principals, district administrators, superintendents, and school board members.
  • Invite principals and superintendents to attend counselor association meetings.
  • Make sure your administrator gets a copy of anything you do.
  • Take your administrator to lunch to show your appreciation for his or her support.

Advocacy with parents:

  • Publish a monthly counseling newsletter for parents.
  • Use school newsletters to inform others about counseling activities.
  • Let parents know the process for referring a student for responsive services (individual or small group counseling).
  • Provide parenting groups and workshops on special topics.
  • Offer to be a speaker at a PTA meeting to inform parents of the counselor’s role and dis- cuss the personal, academic, and career development needs of students.
  • Become active members of your school PTA.
  • Offer to be a speaker at a PTA meeting to inform parents of the counselor’s role.
  • Pass on compliments and remember that parents talking to one another are the best advertisement we have!

Published with permission from MSCA, Missouri School Counselor Association.

Missouri School Counselor Association. (2011). MSCA pointers for school counselors [Brochure]. Jefferson City, MO: Author.