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Standard 4 Aspect A

Standard 4a. Engages with local partners and stakeholders to support high-needs schools and participates in efforts to reduce disparities in educational outcomes


The program is committed to and invests in strengthening and improving the education profession and the P-20 education system. The school counseling program at California State University, Fresno provides particular opportunities to engage the field’s shared challenges and to foster and support innovation. Engagement with critical issues in our community and schools is an essential learning goal in our program. The school counseling program at California State University, Fresno successfully engages with local partners and stakeholders through partnerships, advisory board meetings, field practice and service-learning courses, and part-time faculty hires from the local school districts in Fresno County. These collaborations are described below.   

Documenting Existing Work:
The ASCA National Model highlights the vital roles of the advisory board meetings as a part of comprehensive school counseling programs because the Advisory Councils’ feedback is critical for identifying future goals and recommendations for the program. 

Partnership/Advisory Board 1:
School counseling faculty (Dr. Dominiqua Griffin, Dr. Gitima Sharma), previous Department Chair and current Internship Coordinator (Dr. Song Lee), previous Department Chair and current Associate Dean Jenelle Pitt-Parker, Previous Interim Associate Dean (Kathleen Godfrey), and representatives from school districts (e.g. Yolanda Juarez, Vice Principal III at Fresno Unified School District, Debbie Parra, Assistant Superintendent at Clovis Unified School District) serve on the advisory board.

How often meet: The team meets annually or bi-annually to advocate for the school counseling program and receives recommendations to improve program outcomes. Representatives of the school districts receive email or phone call invitations with an explanation of the importance of representing their school and explanation of their schools’ needs. Before the meeting, the agenda is provided to attendees.

Description of group’s purpose/function: The team’s role is to support the mission and goals of the school counseling program and it serves as the communication link between the school counseling program and the stakeholders in schools and communities. 

Examples of specific challenge/identified need (with data to support): In Fall 2020 and Spring 2020, the School Counseling Advisory Board met with Fresno Unified and Clovis Unified School District representatives. The board discussed possible ways of improving school counseling programs, received feedback on program goals, reviewed program results, reviewed updates in the school districts, and discussed school counseling candidates’ field experience challenges and accommodations. 

Discussion of steps taken to address challenge/identified need: Additional challenges outlined by the advisory board are now reflected in the curriculum including updates to the syllabi:

  • COUN 241 is now a prerequisite to COUN 249
  • The ASCA National Model is part of the curriculum and infused in the school counseling specific courses
  • COUN 242S has more practical experiences 

Articulating Plans for Future Stakeholder Involvement:
The School Counseling program is committed to and invests in strengthening the P20 education system. Our program values partnering with stakeholders to advocate for all students, including those in high needs schools, and values putting efforts to reduce the achievement gap among students. These efforts in our program include creating partnerships between our program, school districts, and community, meeting with the advisory board to receive feedback on our school counseling program and collaborate with various stakeholders, placing our students in high needs schools to support school counseling services, and encourage our students to put their advocacy project in action through different class assignments. However, there are still extra efforts that can help reduce academic disparities among students. 

Our program aims to meet with the advisory board more often to increase opportunities to partner with local stakeholders. As ASCA suggests, our program will strive to initiate two board meetings, one in the Fall semester and one in the Spring semester each year. 
The invitation list for the advisory council meeting will include parents and students from different cultural backgrounds as our program aims to hear voices from every representative of cultures and ages. 
Our program will collect data about student placements (both field experience and program completer) in Fresno Unified, Clovis Unified, Madera Unified, Sanger Unified School Districts. This data will enable our program to understand how many of our students are supporting the most help needed schools. Based on the outcomes, our program will encourage students to do their practicum and internship in certain schools that have the highest needs.

Stakeholder Engagement:

Fresno Unified School District Stakeholder Meeting

How Often We Meet

Once a year face to face/zoom and frequently via email and telephone communications to ensure student placement and success.

Who is Involved + Their Role

  • Yolanda Juarez: Fresno Unified School District internship coordinator. Role is to help place student interns with Fresno Unified counselors.
  • Dominiqua Griffin/Gitima Sharma: School Counseling Program Coordinator. Role is to inform the team of expectations from program and accreditations.
  • Song Lee: Internship Coordinator for School Counseling and Student Affairs and College Counseling Programs. Role is to establish partnerships and provide information from the student evaluations. 

Data Analyzed

Evaluations submitted by site supervisors and the number of students in internship classes: These data provided stakeholders feedback from site supervisors, how many placements Fresno Unified Could provide or is needed, and ideas for additional support Fresno State and Fresno Unified could provide.

Resulting Actions

  • Fresno Unified could place about 12 students per semester. 
  • Yolanda Juarez provided coffee with counselors to help train interns.
  • Fresno State provided training to site supervisors/school counselors on how to better provide feedback/supervision.
  • Internship courses included lesson plans and self-care assignments to meet CTCC standards and improve interns’ skills in class and group management.

Clovis Unified School District Stakeholder Meeting

How Often We Meet

Once a year face to face and via email and telephone communications as needed.

Who is Involved + Their Role

  • Carol Shanahan, Clovis Unified School District counselor who helps with placement of Fresno State school counseling interns.
  • Debbie Parra, Clovis Unified School District, Assistant Superintendent-Curriculum. Role is to oversee and provide support to meet needs of students and Clovis Unified.
  • Dominiqua Griffin/Gitima Sharma: School Counseling Program Coordinator. Role is to inform the team of expectations from program and accreditations.
  • Song Lee: Internship Coordinator for School Counseling and Student Affairs and College Counseling Programs. Role is to establish partnerships and provide information from the student evaluations. 

Data Analyzed

Evaluations submitted by site supervisors on the student interns and the number of student interns in internship classes.

Resulting Actions

  • A process on how to place students at Clovis Unified is established.
  • Fresno State provided training to site supervisors/school counselors on how to better provide feedback/supervision.
  • Internship courses included lesson plans and self-care assignments to meet CTCC standards and improve interns’ skills in class and group management.