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School Counseling to Close Opportunity Gaps - Book Cover Look Inside
Updated Edition of Bestseller

School Counseling to Close Opportunity Gaps

A Social Justice and Antiracist Framework for Success

By: Cheryl C. Holcomb-McCoy

Written for both preservice and in-service school counselors and those who support them, this essential guide prepares readers to take an active role in creating equitable conditions for success for all students. 
Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781071854914
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2022
  • Page Count: 232
  • Publication date: February 17, 2022

Price: $37.95

For Instructors

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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
Written for both preservice and in-service school counselors and those who support them, this essential guide prepares readers to take an active role in creating equitable conditions for success for all students.

Key features

  • 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



Cheryl C. Holcomb-McCoy photo

Cheryl C. Holcomb-McCoy

Dr. Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy believes in the revolutionary power of school counseling. An American Counseling Association (ACA) Fellow with 30 years of experience as a former kindergarten teacher, elementary school counselor, family therapist, and most recently university professor and administrator, she has a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and wisdom.

Dr. Holcomb-McCoy is currently the Dean of the School of Education and a professor at American University (AU). She is also the author of the best-selling book School Counseling to Close the Achievement Gap: A Social Justice Framework for Success (1st edition) and her upcoming book, Antiracist Counseling in Schools and Communities (ACA Publishing).

In her five years as Dean, Dr. Holcomb-McCoy founded AU’s Summer Institute on Education, Equity and Justice, and the AU Teacher Pipeline Project, a partnership with the DC Public Schools and Friendship Charter Schools. She is also actively working to develop an antiracist curriculum for teachers-in-training.

Prior to leading the School of Education at AU, she served as Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs campus-wide and Vice Dean of Academic Affairs in the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University. She launched the Johns Hopkins School Counseling Fellows Program and The Faculty Diversity Initiative. Dr. Holcomb-McCoy has also been an associate professor in the Department of Counseling and Personnel Services at the University of Maryland College Park and Director of the School Counseling Program at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York.

A decorated scholar, she has written 16 chapters in edited books and more than 40 articles in peer-reviewed journals. From 2014 to 2016, she served as a consultant to former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative, a program dedicated to supporting first-generation students make it to and through college. She also serves on the board of Martha’s Table - a nonprofit that supports health and wellness for children and families in the nation’s capital.

Dr. Holcomb-McCoy’s passion for school counseling, mental health, and wellness starts at home. As a proud mother of two, she knows firsthand the importance of systemic change to help students reach their full potential.

A proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Dr. Holcomb-McCoy holds her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Virginia. In addition, she earned a doctorate in Counseling and Counselor Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

She lives in Potomac, Maryland, with her husband and two children.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents




About The Author

Chapter 1: Opportunity Gaps: Our Ultimate Challenge

     School Counseling and Education Disparities

     Identity Labels

     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

     Defining Consultation?

     Social Justice Considerations and the Consultation Process

     Consultation Strategies

     Questioning Domains

     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

     Concluding Remarks


     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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