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School Counseling - Mission Statement

The School Counseling Program at Portland State University is designed to prepare knowledgeable and competent professional school counselors who: (1) advocate care and support for all students, (2) engage in participatory leadership to help all students reach high academic expectations, (3) collaborate with others in and beyond their school communities to ensure opportunities for meaningful participation for all students, and (4) commit to lifelong professional development.

We prepare professional school counselors to develop comprehensive school counseling programs based on the American School Counselor Association National Model, Oregon's Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance Framework, and Oregon's Teacher Standards and Practices Commission school counselor competencies. We teach school counselors to actively engage as self-reflexive practitioners in developing and evaluating counseling programs and educational practices that promote teaching effectiveness, community responsibility, and social justice. We are guided by Oregon's Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance Framework to enhance the learning of all students by integrating academic, career, personal /social development, and community involvement. We promote collaboration between school counselors and other professionals to create learning communities where students are engaged as learners, passionate about what they do, and empowered as people. We are informed by a vision for school counselors that defines five school counselors competencies: (1) leadership, (2) advocacy, (3) teaming and collaboration, (4) counseling and coordination, and (5) assessment and use of data.

Relationship: Providing Care and Support

Our master's degree program is designed to help professional school counselors foster effective human relationships grounded in respect for and celebration of diversity, the support for the learning success of all students, and the recognition that human development is a lifelong endeavor. School counselors must be knowledgeable and competent in fostering positive relationships that link students, parents, teachers, administrators, and the larger school community in conversations and actions directed toward the care and support of all youth.

Structure: Defining High Expectations

Our master's degree program is committed to social justice and high expectations for all students. School counselors are responsible for advocating that high expectations be defined in a manner that ensures opportunities for success for all students. School counselors are responsible for recognizing and confronting cultural, socio-economic, and other inequities, such as racism, sexism, ageism, classism, consumerism, homophobia, and institutional and instructional approaches that limit educational access for students with special needs. We prepare school counselors to be assertive advocates who reduce the effect of environmental, institutional, and attitudinal barriers that impede student success. We focus considerable efforts on poor and minority students in order to ensure that all students complete school, prepared to choose from a wide range of post-secondary options, including college. We teach school counselors to work within their organizations to promote community peace and the fulfillment of human potential.

Community: Opportunities for Meaningful Participation

Our master's degree program is committed to meaningful participation for all students. Our school counselors collaborate with professionals within the school and with members of the community to develop contextual learning opportunities that engage students in learning activities with adult mentors, service projects, and other community enterprises. Our school counselors help students see that social/personal, academic, and career preparation are connected to the real world and that assessment is authentically grounded in activities students themselves find meaningful.

Commitment to Lifelong Professional Development, Research, and Evaluation

Our master's degree program prepares school counselors to enter the profession with a commitment to lifelong development. We believe effective school counselors take on the role of being participatory leaders engaged in the ongoing assessment and research directed toward the success of all students. In our program, students are engaged as participatory learners through an active program of evaluation and action research. We want our school counselors to be self-reflexive practitioners who take a collaborative approach to research that engages in real world research that arises from their experience, definition of questions for study, courses of action taken, and analysis and interpretation of findings. To this end, students generate their own projects documenting prevention and intervention strategies, complete action research projects, and prepare a Professional Practice Portfolio as an authentic form of assessment.