"School counseling is more than simply meeting with students. It is vital that school counselors be advocates for the profession."
-Shana Friedman, SSU Alumni School Counselor for Youth Build Santa Rosa
Shana Friedman, an alumni of the Counseling graduate program at Sonoma State University, shared the the possibilities of what service-learning can accomplish. Dr. Adam Zagelbaum's excellent service-learning classes include COUN 521: Pupil Personnel Services: Concepts and Organization, COUN 510B: Seminar: Counseling Practicum, and COUN 514B: Supervised Internship/Field Experience . In these classes, Zagelbaum successfully incorporates two important components of service-learning; face to face counseling with local elementary, junior high, and high schools in need of the service as well as a data driven accountability research project.
In the latter, Sonoma State University graduate students create a Support Personnel Accountability Report Card (SPARC) for the schools they are working with. A SPARC is a very valuable school report card which is aligned with the standards of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). It includes an immense amount of research with several different components emphasizing academic, career, and personal/social domains. The SPARC highlights data about the school climate and safety that incorporates how students feel about issues, such as bullying, on their campuses and features data on grade point averages and graduation rates. It also has a principal's message of approval and lists the various stakeholders and supporters of the respective schools. The SPARC created by SSU graduate students ultimately gets sent tobecome approved by a review committee based out of the Los Angeles County Office of Education and then they are sent to the Governor's office for the purposes of further supporting the work of school counseling programs.
Zagelbaum has been doing these projects for 4 years and they have proven to be very beneficial to students as well as the schools involved. Creating the SPARC gives the school a tangible report of their work and also gives the graduate students a chance for professional development and networking opportunities. "What these projects do is really show that the work of a school counelor is not always the same as a teacher, but it helps to support the work of teachers and school staff, which is important since everyone has limited space and time."
Lora Grimes, an Adele Harrison Middle School Counselor, describes her experience working with SSU graduates in the program. "This has been an opportunity for them to see evidence that great qualitative and quantitative results can come out of the profession they are choosing. The SPARC is a testimony to the value of school counseling and is shared with the district and the public.
Friedman agrees on the value of creating the SPARC as a part of Zagelbaum's service-learning course. "Through my field experience and development of a SPARC, I was able to see the tangible impact of the efforts of the school counseling staff. " Friedman now serves as a School Counselor for YouthBuild Santa Rosa, a program of Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County and spoke on CCE's last year's Careers for The Common Good Panel. "What I gained from working with Adam was a respect and dedication for the profession that I did not know was possible."
To learn more about the program, contact Adam Zagelbaum.