School Counseling for the 21st Century

On September 16, 2011, the Program in School Counseling and the GSE hosted the first School Counseling for the 21st Century Conference.  The Program and the School Counseling Advisory Board sought to bring community partners together through a forum that addressed contemporary issues faced by school counseling personnel.  Dr. Caroline Clauss-Ehlers, Associate Professor and Program/Clinical Coordinator for the Programs in School Counseling and Counseling Psychology at the GSE, and Mr. Nathan Grosshandler, Director of Guidance at Highland Park High School, served as co-chairs for the event.

The conference focused on the growing importance and changing role of school counselors and included school professionals, clinical supervisors, GSE alumni, and current students among its participants.

“Conferences like this provide a wonderful opportunity to work with our partners to create an ongoing learning community,” said Dr. Clauss-Ehlers. “The diverse audience here today, ranging from first-year master’s students to seasoned clinical supervisors, speaks to the relevance of this type of conference throughout one’s professional development. ”

Designed to address the growing need for school counselors as well as ongoing professional development, the event featured three speakers: Keynote Speaker Dr. Carol Dahir, Associate Professor and Coordinator of School Counselor Education at the New York Institute of Technology, Nathan Grosshandler, Director of School Counseling, and Linda Remolino, a New Jersey licensed professional counselor and Director of School Counseling at North Plainfield High School.  Following a networking luncheon, the workshop began with opening remarks given by Dean Richard De Lisi and an introduction to the keynote speaker provided by Dr. Lorraine McCune, Chair of the Department of Educational Psychology.

Dr. Carol Dahir provided an overview of the growing importance of school counselors. Through her interactive presentation, School Counseling: Social Justice and Student Success in Today’s Schools, workshop participants discussed the role of school counselors in today’s educational system and critical responsibilities such as the importance of understanding school issues to develop strong relationships among  colleagues, teachers, and parents. Participants were also introduced to a variety of skills required for effective counseling practice. These skills extend beyond what is traditionally expected of a counselor and include leadership, advocacy, and the use of concrete data in advocacy efforts. This provided an excellent segue to Nathan Grosshandler’s presentation about the importance of using data to improve the delivery and relevance of counseling services. This was followed by a presentation about supervision, from the perspective of both supervisor and supervisee, given by Linda Remolino.

GSE intends to make this conference an annual event in support of the CACREP accredited master’s degree program in school counseling.