Sampson County Schools support services counselors were given a big thumbs up by the North Carolina Department of Instruction whose staff said counselors and their program model are way ahead of other systems.
Charlotte Murphy, assistant superintendent for Educational and Student Services, gave the news to members of the Board of Education earlier this week.
“This past Friday, I spent a full day with a representative from DPI going over the system counselor programs,” Murphy said to the board, “She validated everything that we have been doing over the past three years. I was told that Sampson County Schools was well ahead of the curve and they indicated that our counselors were so far ahead that they could be doing presentations throughout the state.”
But that vindication came courtesy of years of work from Murphy, her staff and the 18 counselors (one at each school).
Murphy explained that back in December 2008, DPI staff developed professional counseling standards that were aligned to the American School Counseling Association models, more commonly known as the ASCA National Model.
“A couple of years ago, we decided that we would go ahead and develop a comprehensive counseling program for each of the schools in Sampson County,” she noted. “Not only did we need to organize a comprehensive counseling program, but we needed to ensure that it was aligned to the standards approved by our state Board of Education, as well as the ASCA Model nationwide and the North Carolina Future Ready Goals for the 21st Century.”
Counselors worked diligently to develop those programs and, by 2009, a timeline was created for the organization and implementation of a comprehensive counseling program. “That tim-line supports all of the legislation as it applies to support services,” Murphy added.
The only thing left in the timeline is for counselors to organize advisory committee or councils at every school.
“Everything we are doing with education, across the board, encourages us to get stakeholder input ” Murphy said. “Having advisory councils at each school is needed because it will include internal and external members.
The advisory committees will be limited to 10 members that will include school board members, parents, administrators and parent and teachers.
“You will probably have counselors approach you and ask you to serve on their advisory boards,” Murphy explained to the board. “People on those advisory boards can review the process of our counselors and make suggestions for improvement to make sure we are on target in serving all of our students with the support service that they need and certainly deserve.”
The meetings will be held once during first semester and again during the second semester.
“We have already been validated and we know that we are on track and we are doing what is required,” she added. “Not only are we in compliance, but it is in the best interest of our students and that makes us feel really good.”
With the board asking only minimal questions, Murphy shared that since the system counselors were so ahead of other systems, the DPI official asked if she could send over materials from the past three years so it could be presented as a shining example to other LEAs as the proper way to create and follow a comprehensive counseling program.
“Needless to say, we were elated to hear that,” she said. “We are just so happy we are so far ahead.”
For more information on getting involved with your local advisory board call Murphy at 910-592-1401 or ask your school’s councilor.
To reach Doug Clark call 910-592-8137 ext. 123 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.