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Publisher Description

Following more than a decade of influence by the Transforming School Counseling Initiative (Education Trust, 1998, 2007) that promoted a new vision of school counselors as assertive advocates and social activists (House & Hayes, 2002; House & Martin, 1998; Martin, 2002), professional school counselors are currently in a pivotal role to collaboratively lead school transformation at the local, state, regional, and national levels (Kaffenberger, Murphy, & Bemak, 2006). The importance of school counselors as leaders is evidenced in the ASCA National Model[R] (American School Counselor Association, 2005), wherein leadership is indicated as one of the four major themes of school counseling along with collaboration and teaming, advocacy, and systemic change. Beyond being leaders in the design, implementation, management, and evaluation of comprehensive school counseling programs, school counselors play a ubiquitous role in leading the education mission and process for the development of student academic, career, and personal/social growth. Further, as school systems become more diverse and complex, the resounding call for professional school counselors to be leaders of social justice and educational reform continues. Scholarly discourse on the role of the school counselor as an advocate and agent of social justice has been well documented (Baker & Gerler, 2004; Education Trust, 1998, 2007; Lee & Goodnough, 2007; Walker, 2006). Indeed, the preamble to ASCA's (2004) Ethical Standards for School Counselors explicates that school counselors are leaders and advocates who affirm diversity while promoting equitable access to educational resources, excellence in education, and postsecondary education for all students. Unfortunately, in spite of the focus to reform schools toward equity, the historical gaps between student groups have continued to persist (Roberts, 2004). As schools and communities continue to become more demographically diverse (Roberts), recognizing and challenging systemic oppression become key skills for school counselors in support of their advocacy for students and their efforts to remove social barriers that impede achievement (Bemak & Chung, 2005; Kiselica & Robinson, 2001; Ratts, DeKruyf, & Chen-Hayes, 2007). Preparing for the professional roles of change agent and promoter of social justice is crucial and involves a personal commitment to affirming diversity (Holcomb-McCoy & Chen-Hayes, 2007).

December 1
American School Counselor Association

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