School counselors’ job roles and preferences reportedly vary by educational level (i.e., elementary, middle and high school); however, several organizations, such as the American School Counselor Association, conceptualize and recommend school counseling practice and preparation through a K–12 lens. Little is known about how or if school counseling faculty members vary their preparation for specific educational levels. In this article, we discuss a national, mixed methods study of school counseling faculty (N = 132) experiences and perceptions regarding school counselor preparation for the elementary level. We focused on elementary school counselors due to their unique roles. Findings included faculty’s varied experiences and perceptions of differentiation, prioritizing a K–12 preparation focus, and several external factors driving their preparation such as state licensure and mandates, school counseling job opportunities, and student enrollment, motivation and interest in elementary school counseling.
This article provides an overview of a grant project designed to create a district-wide elementary school counseling program with a strong data-based decision-making process. Project goals included building data literacy skills among school counselors and developing the infrastructure to efficiently collect important social-emotional indicators through a revised system for recording disciplinary infractions and a new research-based behavioral component for the district’s standards-based report cards. This enhanced system for accessing and analyzing social-emotional indicators resulted in broad systemic changes in the district, including extending a number of grant initiatives to the middle and high school levels, restructuring data teams to adopt a multi-tiered system of supports, and establishing school counselors as leaders in data-driven discussions about student success.