The burnout and stress experienced by school counselors is likely to have a negative influence on the services they provide to students, but there is little research exploring the relationship among these variables. Therefore, we report findings from our study that examined the relationship between practicing school counselors’ (N = 926) reported levels of burnout, perceived stress and their facilitation of direct student services. The findings indicated that school counselor participants’ burnout had a negative contribution to the direct student services they facilitated. In addition, school counselors’ perceived stress demonstrated a statistically significant correlation with burnout but did not contribute to their facilitation of direct student services. We believe these findings bring attention to school counselors’ need to assess and manage their stress and burnout that if left unchecked may lead to fewer services for students. We recommend that future research further explore the relationship between stress, burnout and programmatic service delivery to support and expand upon the findings in this investigation.
Designed to improve preK–12 student academic and behavioral outcomes, a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), such as Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) or Response to Intervention (RTI), is a broadly applied framework being implemented in countless schools across the United States. Such educational restructuring and system changes require school counselors to adjust their activities and interventions to fully realize the aims of MTSS. In this special issue of The Professional Counselor, the roles and functions of school counselors in MTSS frameworks are examined from various angles. This introductory article summarizes the key issues and the basic themes explored by the special issue contributors.
As a result of the Response to Intervention (RTI) mandate in schools across many states, school counselors are well-positioned to take a leadership role. The present research study examines how school counselors across the nation perceived their training and knowledge of RTI, as well as their confidence in its implementation. Results indicate that while the majority of school counselors reported positive beliefs about RTI, they had limited confidence in their preparedness to perform certain RTI-related responsibilities, including collecting and analyzing data to determine intervention effectiveness and collaboration through teamwork. These perceived areas of deficiency point to a significant discrepancy with the American School Counselor Association National Model’s components and themes. Through building skills and capacity for leadership, school counselors can spearhead schoolwide teams to create and evaluate the effectiveness of culturally relevant and evidence-based interventions. School counselors and school counselor educators must use a multi-tiered system of supports as an opportunity to advance the field.
The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model and a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) both provide frameworks for systematically solving problems in schools, including student behavior concerns. The authors outline a model that integrates overlapping elements of the National Model and MTSS as a support for marginalized students of color exhibiting problem behaviors. Individually, the frameworks employ data-driven decision making as well as prevention services for all students and intervention services for at-risk students. Thus, the integrated model allows schools to provide objective alternatives to exclusionary disciplinary actions (e.g., suspensions and expulsions) that are being assigned to students of color at a disproportionate rate. The manuscript outlines the steps within the integrated model and provides implications for school counselors and counselor educators.
Mental health practitioners working within school or community settings may at any time find themselves working with youth presenting with suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Although always well intended, practitioners are making significant clinical decisions that have high potential for influencing a range of outcomes, including very negative (e.g., completed suicide) to very positive (e.g., on path to recovery). This study used an exploratory descriptive survey design to determine practitioner levels of preparedness, levels of confidence and methods used to assess suicide risk in youth. Practitioner respondents (N = 339) to a 23-item survey included professional counselors, school counselors, social workers, school psychologists and psychologists. Key findings indicate insufficient and inconsistent levels of preparedness and confidence, with respondents predominantly using an informal, non-structured interview method to obtain suicide risk level. Implications suggest a need for increased graduate training, supervision and ongoing skill development in suicide prevention and assessment.