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School Counseling to Close Opportunity Gaps

School Counseling to Close Opportunity Gaps
A Social Justice and Antiracist Framework for Success

Second Edition

Foreword by Ibram X. Kendi

April 2022 | 232 pages | Corwin

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.
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

Suggested Readings by Topic

"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."

Stephen Sharp
School Counselor, Hempfield School District, PA

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ISBN: 9781071854914

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