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Thursday, March 15, 2012

FSCA eNews March 2012

The mission of FSCA is to represent professional school
counselors and to promote professionalism and ethical practices.

Affecting Student
Pro-social and Bullying Behavior
by Implementing an Evidence-Based Classroom
Guidance Program

Melissa Mariani,
Student behavior, school
success, academic achievement, and accountability are pressing concerns for
today’s professional school counselor. Given that these demands are increasing
amidst times of limited funding, resources, and personnel, these issues can be
even more overwhelming. The ASCA National Model calls for school counselors to
tie the services they provide directly to improvements in student behavior and
achievement. Additionally, No Child Left Behind mandates accountability on the
part of all school personnel. Today’s counselor has to be informed of current
“best practices” and determined to meet the needs of all their students through
the services they provide. Classroom guidance offers the most readily available
and naturally occurring setting for school counselors to access students.
Therefore, implementing evidence-based classroom guidance programs that result
in positive outcomes for students is called for.
The Impact of
Bullying on Student Success
Bullying is the
most common form of aggression experienced by school-aged youth. Though other
forms of youth victimization have steadily declined over the past decade,
bullying occurrences have remained relatively stable. Recent reports suggest
that between 30 and 40% of students admit to regular involvement in bullying
behaviors. Of even greater concern is the fact that most incidents go
unrecognized, unreported, and unaddressed. A wide range of negative consequences
can result if bullying is not dealt with effectively. These consequences span
several areas of student wellness including physical, emotional, personal,
social, and academic issues. It is necessary to confront bullying in a
proactive way, and the professional school counselor should play in integral
role in this process.
A variety of
approaches have been developed to address bullying, ranging in level of
effectiveness, including punitive “zero-tolerance” policies, educational
strategies, restorative-justice philosophies, and social competence and
resiliency training. Recent researchers cite the need for interventions that
are comprehensive, incorporating the whole school in an effort to address school
culture. These systematic, long-term tactics seem more promising given their
focus on education, as well developing pro-social skills in students. The
Student Success Skills classroom guidance program is one such intervention that
has been shown to improve both academic achievement and behavior by teaching
students things such as progress monitoring, healthy optimism, and the
importance of a positive classroom/school climate.
Experts in the
area of student success have cited that in order to grow, perform, and achieve,
all students need to be competent in the following key areas: cognitive/learning
skills, social skills, and self-management skills. These necessary skill sets
align with those proposed by ASCA as areas (academic, personal/social, and
career) that should be fostered in all students. Teaching these key skills is
intended to foster a positive, safe, and caring learning environment for all
students, an environment that is less likely to promote aggressive behaviors
such as bullying. These key areas are also negatively impacted by bullying.
Student Success Skills (SSS) is a comprehensive, evidence-based, school
counselor/classroom teacher collaborative program that supports development of
these key skills in students.
Case Study
The author
conducted a research study to examine differences in pro-social behaviors,
bullying behaviors, engagement in school success skills, and perceptions of
classroom climate between students in the treatment group who received the
school counselor led, Student Success Skills (SSS) classroom guidance program,
and students in the comparison group who did not. Previous studies employing SSS
have shown its’ effectiveness at improving standardized test scores in both
reading and math. This study was different because it focused on student
behavior (pro-social and bullying).
forty fifth grade students from public elementary schools in central Florida
voluntarily participated in the study by completing various self-report measures
of behavior [Peer Relations Questionnaire (PRQ), Student Engagement in
School Success Skills
(SE-SSS), My Class Inventory Short Form Revised
(MCI-SFR), and the Teacher My Class Inventory Short Form (TMCI-SF)].
Data supported SSS as a viable intervention for positively affecting student
behavior. Statistically significant differences were noted between the
treatment and comparison schools in pro-social behaviors (p = .000),
bullying behaviors (p = .000), engagement in school success skills
(ranging from p = .000 to p = .012), and some measures classroom
climate (p = .000). Effect sizes (h
p2 ) ranged from .02 to .49,
with most estimates resulting in medium to strong effects, signifying the
practical significance of the intervention. These results provide empirical
support for the theorized notion that students taught skills in key areas
(personal/social, self-management, and cognitive/academic) evidence benefits
across several outcomes.
This type of
research-based intervention could be used at any grade level to show the
positive impact school counselors can have in schools. Today’s students are
facing constant challenges socially, emotionally, and academically and
professional school counselors are specifically trained to intervene in these
areas. Classroom guidance lessons make valuable use of the counselor’s time and
allow the facilitation of needed skills to all students in areas known to impact
their success.
Melissa Mariani, Ph. D. is a
professional school counselor at St. Juliana School in West Palm Beach. She can
be reached at Please contact the author for the
list of references used in this article.

School Counseling Outcome Researchers
Institute of Education Sciences Grant

Jay Carey, Ph.D. and Linda Webb, Ph.D.

School counselor educators at Florida Atlantic University (FAU),
partnering with researchers from the Center for School Counseling Outcome
Research & Evaluation (CSCORE) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst,
were recently awarded a $2.7 million grant from the US Department of Education’s
Institute of Education Sciences (IES) to fully fund a four-year project titled
“A Randomized Controlled Trial of Student Success Skills: A Program to Improve
Academic Achievement for All Students.” The grant will provide funding to
evaluate the Student Success Skills (SSS) classroom program when facilitated by
school counselors in collaboration with classroom teachers. The SSS program is
designed to teach students fundamental learning, social and self-management
skills to improve student achievement and behavior outcomes.
The mission of IES, the research arm of the U.S. Department of
Education, is to provide rigorous and relevant evidence on which to ground
education practice and policy and to share this information broadly. IES has
helped raise the bar for all education research and evaluation by conducting
peer-reviewed scientific studies, demanding high standards, and supporting and
training researchers across the country. IES funds top educational researchers
nationwide to conduct studies that seek answers on “what works for students”
from preschools to postsecondary. Since its
creation by the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002, IES has transformed the
quality and rigor of education research within the Department of Education and
increased the demand for scientifically based evidence of effectiveness in the
education field as a whole.
Of particular interest in the project is the impact of the SSS
program at the level to which students are cognitively and behaviorally engaged
in daily classroom activities. Also of importance is their use of skills and
strategies that have been associated with students who are academically and
socially successful. In addition, researchers will evaluate outcomes related to
standardized test scores, grades, and school attendance. The evaluation of
programs to improve academic and social outcomes for students is central to the
mission of IES to determine which interventions are most effective and confirm
best practices in the field of education. This mission is in direct alignment
with the central focus of the American School Counselor Association’s National
Model calling for the use of evidence-based programs, facilitated by school
counselors, that improve academic and behavior outcomes for all
The SSS program is based on a strong body of theoretical and
empirical research and uses developmentally appropriate student lessons,
activities and teaching strategies. The program has been widely used in
elementary, middle and high schools across the country for the past seven years,
and the program’s developers have to-date trained approximately 9,000 school
counselors and teachers in 15 states. In addition, international school
counselors working in American Schools in approximately 13 Central and South
America countries have received SSS program training.
Dr. Linda Webb, Associate Professor in the Department of Counselor
Education at FAU, will serve as the principal investigator for the project.
Co-principal investigator, Dr. Greg Brigman, professor and coordinator of the
school counseling program at FAU, will also oversee and participate in all
aspects of the project. Drs. Brigman and Webb co-developed the SSS program and
will train teachers and school counselors to implement the program. Dr.
Elizabeth Villares, Associate Professor at FAU and a co-principal investigator
for the project, will develop electronic tools to be used during the study to
monitor implementation fidelity and oversee all aspects of the project related
to technology. Dr. John Carey, Professor of School Counseling and Director of
CSCORE, also a co-principal investigator for the project, will supervise
operations at UMass including instrument development, maintenance of
longitudinal data sets, and analysis of data. Dr. Craig Wells, Associate
Professor in Research and Evaluation Methods and Assistant Director of the Center for Educational
and Dr. Aline Sayer, Associate Professor in Psychology, will serve as statistical consultants for the
project. Karen Harrington, Assistant Director at CSCORE, will act as project
coordinator for all UMass-related activities. The School District of Palm Beach
County and Duval County Public Schools are the school-based research partners
for this project.
Jay Carey, Ph.D. is the director of the
Center for School Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation at the University
of Massachusetts, Amhurst and can be reached at Linda Webb, Ph.
D. is an Associate Professor of Counselor Education at Florida Atlantic
University and can be reached at

Florida’s Historically Black Colleges
Universities (HBCUs)

Clifford H. Mack,

What is a HBCU?
Historically Black Colleges and
Universities (HBCUs) were founded to offer African-American students the
opportunity to earn high-quality post-secondary degrees and to receive training
during a time when other institutions prohibited the admission and matriculation
of African-American students. As laws have changed and access to college and
universities has become fair and equitable, the HBCUs remain relevant and
significant, offering a robust offering of undergraduate and graduate degrees.
The Sunshine State is home to four
prominent HBCUs: Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Edward Waters
College in Jacksonville, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU)
in Tallahassee, and Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens.
Each institution is unique in its
structure, mission, and purpose; however, each one offers an array of programs
to meet the need for qualified and trained professionals in business, medicine,
law, engineering and other high demand fields.
Information on Florida’s

University—formerly Bethune Cookman College-- was founded in 1904 by Mary McLeod
Bethune. B-CU offers baccalaureate and Master’s degrees in 37 areas of study
within the fields of arts and humanities, business, education, nursing, science,
engineering and mathematics, and social sciences. The university maintains a
relationship with the United Methodist Church and, through this relationship,
works to honor Bethune’s legacy of faith, scholarship, and service. It has
gained national recognition for its athletic and music
Edward Waters College
The oldest HBCU in Florida, Edward
Waters College was founded in 1866 with the purpose of educating newly freed
slaves and, according to its Web site, still “stands as a beacon of hope for
many young people who might not otherwise have an opportunity to enter higher
education”. Its academic programs prepare students for careers in education,
technology, research, religion, politics, and other fields.
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical
University (FAMU) is Florida’s only public HBCU. The university offers
Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, and professional degrees. FAMU is the
number-one ranked institution for awarding doctoral degrees in natural sciences
to African-American students, and its distinction as a doctoral/research
institution will continue to provide mechanisms to address emerging local,
national, and international issues. FAMU offers over 50 undergraduate majors
through ten colleges/programs, including allied health, nursing, environmental
science, engineering, arts and sciences, architecture, agriculture, business,
journalism, and education.
Florida Memorial
Florida Memorial University offers
degree programs that embody its mission of “instilling in students the
importance of becoming global citizens through life-long learning, leadership,
character, and service which will enhance their lives and the lives of
The School Counselor’s
As school counselors, we need to
encourage students to find their fit! When choosing a postsecondary
institution, students must consider which schools will help meet their academic,
athletic, cultural, social and economic needs. HBCUs may not be a match for
every student; however, one of these HBCUs may be the perfect fit for another.
When working with students on your case load to determine what post-secondary
options are available to your students, remember to include HBCUs in the
I’m reminded of a student I worked
with who had her sights set on attending the local community college. However,
after a conversation between the student, her parent, and me, she made a campus
visit to one of these HBCUs and discovered a suitable fit academically and
socially. She is now thriving in an environment that is nurturing her academic
and social needs.
For school counselors, exposure is a
vital component to helping students find the appropriate fit. From one school
counselor to another, I challenge you to make a campus visit, sit with an
admissions representative and discover the opportunities these institutions
offer. By exposing yourself to these institutions and encouraging students to
do the same, you can help open the door to a rewarding educational opportunity.
Helpful Links
Bethune Cookman
Edward Waters
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical
Florida Memorial
The Historically Black College and
University Experience: What it’s all about?
Historically black colleges
and universities: Why students should consider an HBCU experience?
Clifford H. Mack, Jr. is the FSCA
Region 5 Vice-President. He can be reached at

College Counseling Considerations for Undocumented
Immigrant Students

Araseli Martinez-Pena

Nancy graduated from high school with
a 5.2 GPA and hundreds community service hours. She was the president of her
school’s National Honor Society and a leader in several other student
organizations. Her dream is to become a pediatrician.
Alex had a 6.4 GPA and dreams of
becoming a neurosurgeon. He was at the top of his class in a rigorous health
science magnet program, which required him to travel 20 miles to school each
morning. His program required seniors to perform clinical rotations during the
last semester of their senior year. When preparing for this experience, Alex
discovered that he was an undocumented immigrant. This prevented him from
participating in the clinicals and, unable to meet his program requirements, had
to transfer to his local community high school.
Jacky had dreams of becoming a school
counselor and, after learning in 9th grade that she was undocumented,
she became depressed and gave up on her dream because she did not think she
would be allowed to attend college.
Jessica is a high school student who
wants to become a behavioral analyst for the FBI. She has a 4.9 GPA and, like
Alex and Jacky, only recently found out she is undocumented. However, through a
recent presentation by Hillsborough County Public Schools Guidance, she learned
it is, in fact, possible for her to attend college. Though she still worries
about her future, Jessica still has hope that her dream can come
Few would dispute that Nancy, Alex,
Jacky, and Jessica are exemplary students with Ivy League potential. They are
supreme examples of what our public school system can create in response the
mission of most school districts or educational organizations: To provide
educational opportunities that produce responsible and civic minded citizens and
leaders. However their dreams of contributing to society—and the dreams of
thousands of other students—are stalled due to their undocumented
In 1982, Plyer v. Doe responded to
laws that prohibited access to an education to immigrant families by
establishing under the 14th Amendment the right of undocumented
students to an education. However, this right concludes with compulsory
education. Pursuing a postsecondary education has become a challenge. Although
there are no federal laws prohibiting access to a college education, there is
certainly a conglomerate system of red tape. This is where our role as school
counselor takes an important function.
Immigration is a complex issue, and
individual school counselors may have very different personal and political
beliefs with regard to immigration policies. However, regardless of our
personal beliefs, it is our professional responsibility to assist these students
in understanding their educational options and opportunities, and the first step
in doing so requires us to uphold the ethics of our profession. As is outlined
in the American School Counselor Association’s Ethical Standards for School
Counselors (2010), “Professional school counselors are advocates, leaders,
collaborators and consultants who create opportunities for equity in access and
success in educational opportunities”. Every professional responsibility that
we have to all students, including undocumented immigrants, is outlined in the
First, understand that college is
possible for undocumented students. Help students challenge the myth that they
cannot go to college by becoming familiar with the options available to these
students. Many states, colleges and universities have their own policies
regarding admission for undocumented students and financial aid eligibility, and
there are opportunities for undocumented students to attend college. While some
private universities may have policies prohibiting undocumented students from
applying, it is unlawful for a public college or university to do
Though students and families may
reveal their immigration status to you during discussions about postsecondary
planning, you cannot legally inquire about a student’s immigration status.
However, be aware that not all students know their residency status. Encourage
them to understand their residency status and to involve their families in
finding this information. Additionally, create a safe zone where students and
parents feel comfortable seeking you out as a resource as they work around the
obstacles that will likely come up during the college admissions
Guide and educate undocumented
students through the college planning and awareness process just as you would
for any other student. Emphasize college selection, the admissions process, the
application process, college costs and options for paying for college. If
undocumented status is known or suspected, encourage them to prepare to apply
for private scholarships as these tend to be the primary source of financial
assistance for undocumented immigrants. Ensure that families are included in
the college planning process and that they have a full understanding of
Again, remember to encourage
undocumented students to strive for the same high standards and
college-preparation activities as other students. Encourage them to take
college entrance exams, such as the SAT or ACT, and to get involved in
extracurricular activities on campus. Make students aware of AP and dual
enrollment courses available at your high school, which will provide them with
opportunities to earn college credit at no cost.
Early preparation is important for
all students, and sometimes even more vital for undocumented students as the
process can be more time-consuming. Counselors can make students aware in
9th and 10th grades by posting signs inviting all students
to participate in conversations about postsecondary options. When creating
college awareness presentations for students, include options for students who
do not have a social security number. Create a resource card to share with
students explaining their rights and reminding them of resources available to
Undocumented students should be
cautioned to never provide false information on any admission or scholarship
applications. Assist the student in filling out the admissions applications for
the universities and colleges they are applying for, and make them aware that
they can still apply to many colleges without a social security number. Provide
accurate information regarding the challenges they face during this process
while also helping them identify resources to help keep their dream
Undocumented students are not
eligible for federal financial aid through the Free Application for Federal
Student Aid (FAFSA), nor should they apply as the FAFSA process confirms
citizenship status. In Florida, they do not meet the requirements for state
scholarship funds, such as Florida Bright Futures. Additionally, undocumented
students in Florida are not eligible for in state tuition costs and are charged
either international student tuition or out of state tuition by most state
colleges and universities. This does not apply to documented immigrants or
citizens with undocumented parents; these students are eligible for federal and
state aid and in-state tuition regardless of their parents’ immigrant
While these students are not eligible
for state or federal aid, undocumented students are eligible for countless
private scholarships, and school counselors can assist the student in finding
these opportunities. Provide students with a list of private scholarships that
do not require residency or that are available regardless of immigration
status. There are many organizations that support the college dream of
undocumented students and have scholarship resources available online.
Stay informed about your students’
educational rights and advocate for them. You can access this information
through the National Immigration Law Center. Inform your student about FERPA
laws and its protection over student records at educational institutions. Stay
informed about legislation and bills that serve undocumented students and about
the tuition, admission, and residency policies of
Encourage students to get involved
and self-advocate. Inform the student about the DREAM Act and how they can get
involved. Share informational Web sites about the DREAM Act. Encourage them to
participate in local community support networks like UnitedWeDream Network and
Connect students with community
advocates and support organizations that can help them understand their
immigrant rights and their role in gaining access to higher education,
especially local and free legal resources.
Resources for Counselors and
Florida Immigrant
Immigration Law Center
Legal Services
Jacksonville Area Legal Aid

Legal Services, Inc.—Archdiocese of Miami
Legal Aid
Society of the Orange County Bar Association
Legal Aid
Society of Palm Beach County, Inc.
American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
Rivera Policy Institute
Scholarship Fund
Council of La Raza - Keeping the Dream Alive: Resource Guide for Undocumented
working for equal rights
Dream act
Araseli Martinez-Peña is the Middle
School VP and District Bilingual School Counselor for Hillsborough County Public
Schools. She can be reached at

FSCA Student Scholarship Essay Competition Now

FSCA March 14, 2012 Advocacy Update

FSCA Advocacy

Florida School Counselor Association NEWS Blog (Lots of
free Resources)

Must You Testify?: When you receive a subpoena to testify
in a court case involving a student, must you testify, or do you and your
student have "privileged communication" status? Check out a state-by-state chart
to see what your rights and responsibilities are. Source: American School Counselor

Next Deadline to Submit: April
1, 2012

Theme: Culturally Competent School Counseling Programs

Submit to:

Shannon Romagnolo
Editor -
Florida School Counselor

The Florida School Counselor Association
(FSCA) expands the image and influence of professional school counselors through
advocacy, leadership, collaboration and systemic change at the state level. FSCA
empowers professional school counselors with the knowledge, skills, linkages,
and resources to promote student success in the school, the home, the community,
and the

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