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School Counseling to Close Opportunity Gaps
Foreword by Ibram X. Kendi
- Grade Level: PreK-12
- ISBN: 9781071854914
- Published By: Corwin
- Year: 2022
- Page Count: 232
- Publication date: February 17, 2022
Create conditions that lead to success for ALL students and confront conditions that create opportunity gaps
School counselors can play a powerful role in closing opportunity gaps and addressing the social, emotional, and academic needs of students. This new edition of a groundbreaking bestseller shows school counselors how to incorporate principles of social justice, antiracism, equity, and advocacy into their practice.
Written by Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, university professor and advocate of transformational change in school counseling, this book addresses the reasons why some students are more likely to encounter challenges at school due to racism, sexism, heterosexism, and classism. It includes:
- Vignettes, strategies, activities, and reflective individual and group study questions
- A framework for how school counselors can mitigate the impact of negative factors that hamper academic performance and healthy development, especially among students of color
- Six functions of school counselors that move schools toward more just practices and, ultimately, to higher test scores and increased student achievement
- Presents real applications of school counseling concepts in numerous features: "Counseling Snapshot" vignettes, "Thinking About..." practice activities, and "Counselor-in Action" challenges for readers.
- Details the six functions of school counselors for social justice: (1) Counseling/Clinical Assessment, (2) Connecting Schools, Community Members, and Families, (3) Consulting, (4) Collecting and Analyzing Data, (5) Challenging Bias, (6) Coordinating Student Services
Table of Contents
About The Author
Chapter 1: Opportunity Gaps: Our Ultimate Challenge
School Counseling and Education Disparities
Where We Have Been, Where We Are, and Where We Are Headed
The Power of School Counselors
Opportunity Gaps versus Achievement Gaps
A Closer Look at the Gaps
What Do We Know About Closing Opportunity Gaps?
Chapter 2: School Counseling Within the Context of Social Justice and Antiracism
Redefining School Counseling to Serve Diverse Groups
Focusing on Antiracism and Social Justice
Key Functions of School Counseling Based on Social Justice and an Antiracist Approach
Chapter 3: Counseling and Intervention Planning
Critical Factors That Affect School Counseling and the Counseling Relationship
Antiracist and Culturally Appropriate Counseling Interventions
Assessing School Counselors’ Cultural Competence
The Influence of Culture and Race on Intervention Planning
Chapter 4: Consultation
Social Justice Considerations and the Consultation Process
Assessing School Culture
Chapter 5: Connecting Schools and Communities
Avoiding the Blame Game and Racist Narratives
Equity Framework for Reciprocal Partnerships
Five Principles of Effective SFC Partnerships
Barriers to School–Family Collaborations
Chapter 6: Collecting and Using Data
What Is Accountability?
Using Data to Uncover Inequities
School Counseling Program Evaluation
Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP)
Developing Program Assessment Tools
Chapter 7: Challenging Racism and Bias
How to Be an Antiracist School Counselor
Guidelines for Challenging Racism and Bias
Social Justice Education in Schools
Chapter 8: Coordinating Student Success and Support
Collaborating With Community Organizations and Social Service Agencies
Implementing Scheduling Practices That Promote Racial Equity
Antiracist Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Support Systems
Coordinating College Readiness and Preparation Interventions
Coordinating Tutoring Services
Advocating on Schoolwide Committees
Chapter 9: Doing the Right Thing: Developing An Antiracist, Social Justice–Focused School Counseling Program
Assessing Your Beliefs
Assessing Your Skills
Assessing Your Students’ Needs
Vision for My School Counseling Program
Resource A: Assessing School Equity
Resource B: School Counselor Multicultural Competence Checklist
Resource C: School Culture Assessment
Resource D: Assessing Beliefs About School–Family–Community Partnership Involvement
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S. Kent Butler
"School Counseling to Close Opportunity Gaps addresses 6 key functions that should be proactively performed by school counselors across the nation. At its very core, it provides a blueprint on how culturally competent school counselors may actively address systemic and structural racism and oppression within our school systems.
I applaud Dr. Holcomb-McCoy’s tenacity for social justice and this earnest attempt to connect culturally relevant research to culturally competent practice. This text is passionate and deliberately delivers a viewpoint that is both poignant and ferociously honest. The book delivers a profound understanding of the devastating impact that systemic racism has on OUR society, especially as experienced by marginalized and oppressed People of Color. I am confident that the challenge put forth within this second edition will lead to action: game-changing, sustainable, and meaningful action. I love this book for our children, because they need us, the adults in the room, to step up our game. We are co-conspirators for positive change, and it is time for action. Let’s accept the challenge and get to work!
Dr. Holcomb-McCoy speaks truth and power to the overdue racial justice conversations and implores school counselors, and I add ALL counselors, to lean into discomfort and be an active part of the solution. The time is now for good people to do something; perhaps get into some good trouble, as posited by a great social justice advocate, John Lewis. As one of my favorite quotes states, 'the only thing necessary for the triumph of evils is for good [people] to do nothing' (Edmund Burke).
The preface states that the book is a labor of love, long overdue, and a ‘love letter to her beloved profession.’ Dr. Holcomb-McCoy delivers a profound call to the profession to “Wake UP.” I, too, echo this challenge! I implore readers to delve into the words and digest them well and with discernment so that they can come out of this on the right side of justice. For the established co-conspirators, the text will embolden you to step up your game and make a difference in your part of the world; for newcomers to the beautiful reality that is Dr. Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, sit back, take a deep breath, and get ready to be encouraged by the words that make up this text. Let each syllable build upon the other and create within you a desire to be a staunch advocate for our children. The school counseling profession needs you, in fact it needs all of us, to take a bold stance for justice, a momentous stand that helps us to see each other. Envision it with Cheryl and me, how WE the people…together…doing the right thing…collectivistic in nature…can advocate and positively impact each and every school environment that we enter."
70th President of the American Counseling Association
Norma L. Day-Vines
"Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy’s analysis of school counseling contexts is now more timely, incisive, and compelling than ever. For such a time as now, School Counseling to Close Opportunity Gaps provides school counselors with strategies to understand and dismantle inequitable systems using both antiracist and socially just frameworks in an effort to reduce the pernicious effects of oppression on Black and Brown students and their families."
Professor, Associate Dean, Diversity and Faculty Development, Johns Hopkins University
Ileana Gonzalez, PhD, Assistant Professor
"This book should be required reading for all school counselors as the profession takes on the challenges of 2021 and beyond. School counselors must be armed with the words written here to create lasting impacts in the lives of students and communities. The profession is at a pivotal juncture, and this book provides a map to transform the way we serve children and communities."
Johns Hopkins University
"School Counseling to Close Opportunity Gaps is the book school counselors have needed for some time. School counselors are uniquely trained to identify and work to remove the social-emotional barriers to learning; however, first they must identify the role they have played in creating, enabling, or monitoring the barriers to academic success for some students. Dr. Holcomb-McCoy courageously addresses the racial and social injustices that infiltrate the education system. She presents it clearly in this book: 'If school counselors focus on fixing access to opportunities, they aren’t furthering racist ideas but providing resources and opportunities for student success.'Dr. Holcomb-McCoy pushes the reader to examine further the underfunding of schools that Black and Brown students disproportionately attend. She explores the economic and academic impact this has on the education of these students and the community. 'According to the Century Foundation (2020), the U.S. is underfunding public schools by nearly $150 billion annually, robbing millions of children—predominantly Black, Brown and low-income children—of the opportunity to success.'
In this book, Dr. Holcomb-McCoy does not allow the reader to focus solely on the challenges but encourages the school counselor to transform the way they think of their role in the school. She then provides the reader with tools needed to deconstruct the systems of oppression in place in education. This is the book that school counselors have needed for some time, and it is finally here. Now it is time for this book to be transformed into a course to train school counselors."
President, Maryland School Counselor Association and Associate Director of Clinical Counseling, Bowie State University
Paul C. Harris, PhD, NCC, NCSC
“Dr. Holcomb-McCoy brilliantly educates, inspires, and calls every school counselor to antiracist action, NOW. This is mandatory reading for everyone connected to the school counseling profession.”
Associate Professor, Counselor Education, The Pennsylvania State University
"Once again, Cheryl Holcomb McCoy lands a seminal read that is not to be missed! This second edition, a decade after her first, doesn’t disappoint. Dr. Holcomb-McCoy calls for school counselors to actively address flawed racist policies, white-centered curriculum, and white supremacy culture in schools. One of the most significant shifts in the text is the focus on 'opportunities' rather than achievement gaps. Dr. Holcomb-McCoy implores school counselors to no longer be silent, but rather to commit to disrupting oppressive practices and policies in their schools. Throughout the text she pleads for counselors to rise up and re-structure programs that continue to marginalize and oppress Black and Brown students. She calls for counselors to move the needle of the conversation in schools by identifying and describing racist policies, practices, and procedures and then be personally and collectively active in eliminating them. This is the proactive work of today's anti-racist school counselor. Finally, Dr. McCoy introduces six key elements along with multiple scenarios and self-reflective activities for school counselors to draw from as they commit to addressing long standing disparities in education by dismantling racism."Trish Hatch, PhD
President and CEO of Hatching Results, LLC
Erik Hines, Associate Professor, Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems
"Dr. Holcomb-McCoy’s new book is timely and informs counselor educators, preservice school counselors, and in-service school counselors on the latest information on closing achievement and opportunity gaps for ALL students. It provides information to produce equitable schooling outcomes for the most vulnerable student populations."
Florida State University
Kara Ieva, PhD
“School Counseling to Close the Opportunity Gap is a very timely and relevant book for the school counseling profession and transformational educational leaders. This book contains steps and activities to guide you to use data to plan, implement, evaluate, and advocate locally and systemically in order to remove barriers and promote more opportunities, specifically for our students who have traditionally been minoritized.”
Rowan University, NJ
Spencer G. Niles
"Differential access to opportunities in life represents the primary issue in our society, and systemic discrimination does damage to a young person’s sense of hope and possibility for the future. Discrimination represents a cancer transmitted by the power structure intent on controlling access to power, opportunity, resources, and influence. As the human development specialists in our schools, school counselors are called to be social justice strategists—social justice oncologists if you will—addressing this cancer and meeting students and stakeholders at the crossroads of what has been, what is, and what could be, pushing back against such discrimination. For our future to be the best that it can be for all students, we must engage in social justice and anti-racist work. This is the call of this important book. It should be mandatory reading for all school counselors and educators."
Professor and Dean Emeritus, The College of William & Mary
Dr. Laura Owen
"Once again, Dr. Holcomb-McCoy has written a critical and cutting-edge book that takes the reader on a comprehensive review of historical and current events that marginalize and harm Black, Brown, and Indigenous children. This edition builds on the author's prior work and utilizes student experiences to showcase the ways in which school counselors engage in oppressive and racist practices and serve as bystanders to policies that reinforce a deficit lens. This deficit lens unjustly places blame on the targeted group for the educational opportunity gaps the policies created. The author makes an urgent call for change and provides a six-step framework for school counselors and counselor educators to embed an antiracist and social justice approach to their work."
Executive Director, Center for Equity and Postsecondary Attainment, San Diego State University
"Dr. Holcomb-McCoy has done it again! She has taken a book that once reformed the school counseling field and, with clarity and heart, has transformed it into a love letter to the entire school counseling community. In this contemporary and authoritative update, Dr. Holcomb-McCoy reminds us that simply claiming to be an anti-racist educator is not the same as actively dismantling long-standing racism in schools. School counselors who are looking to make good on their commitment to support all students, rather than merely perpetuating the status quo, will need courage, tenacity, and a copy of this book."Mandy Savitz-Romer
Nancy Pforzheimer Aronson Senior Lecturer in Human Development and Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
"The updated edition of School Counseling to Close Opportunity Gaps revisits the lauded school counseling book more than 10 years later. The book serves as a reminder and a continued call to action, asking the simple question, 'Why haven’t school counselors disrupted their students’ uneven access to opportunity?'
With a powerful foreword by Dr. Ibram X Kendi, challenging school counselors to shift their focus from the failures of their student to the negligence of the education system to our most marginalized students, the book servers as a spirited guide to continue to reimagine school counseling as a tool of equity and opportunity.
The edition isn’t a simple update of statistics and figures. The book structurally reworks school counseling through not just a social justice lens, but also an antiracist lens. Antiracist practices are highlighted, including defining opportunity, identifying affirming practices, and self-reflecting through the process. All these sound antiracist practices and more are highlighted while continuing to challenge the reader to Do the Right Thing. There are updated student stories showing the contours of opportunity and disparity. The new counselor snapshots create relevant and contemporary scenarios reflecting the increase complexity of modern education with practical guides and thought-provoking questions.
More than other social justice in education books, Dr. Holcomb-McCoy interweaves themes of empowerment and liberation, not just for students, but into the school counseling repertoire. The guides and self-assessments provide the foundation for counselors to transform themselves and their programs to instrument of liberation and opportunity for all students.
School Counseling to Close Opportunity Gaps is a needed companion for school counselors of all experience levels to transform disparity to opportunity, bias to connectedness, and build a foundation of hope in education as we move forward from the pandemic and the legacies of oppression in education."
School Counselor, Hempfield School District, PA