The Leadership Role of School Counsellors Janice Graham

The Leadership Role of
School Counsellors
Janice Graham-Migel, PhD, CCC
CCPA Conference
Victoria, British Columbia
May 7, 2014
Leadership Role of the
School Counsellor in a CGCP
• Provides leadership in designing, implementing, and
evaluating the Comprehensive Guidance and
Counselling Program (CGCP)
• Coordinates and manages the implementation of the
components of the CGCP
• Provides professional counselling services
• Provides professional knowledge and expertise in
personal, social, educational, and career growth and
development to students, parents, and school
(CGCP Program Guide, 2010, p. 17)
• As Coordinator of the CGCP, school counsellors are
expected to take a leadership role (this leadership role is
attributed by the Dept. of Education)
• The CGCP also encourages leadership within the
administrative structure of the school by involving
administrators in the training, as well as the “visioning”
that occurs during the initial design phase
(this shared leadership begins at the CGCP training
session where a vision is identified and articulated)
• After the Advisory Committee is formed, teachers, staff,
students, parents, and community members are
subsequently involved to various degrees and in various
ways, allowing for the leadership to be distributed
Distributed Leadership
• Within the educational community in recent years, the
distributed leadership perspective has increased in popularity.
This latest perspective grew out of the Distributed Leadership
Study conducted in Chicago Public Schools (Spillane, 2005)
• The distributed leadership perspective recognizes the reality
that schools have multiple leaders (Harris, 2007)
• There is a better utilization of talents and strengths when
leadership is distributed among several leaders
(Janson, Stone & Clark, 2009)
Distributed Leadership in a CGCP
• In 1996, Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea School piloted the
CGCP for the N. S. Dept. of Education (Graham-Migel, 2002).
• In 1999, the Program moved to the newly-built school
(Ridgecliff) and we have been implementing the CGCP since
that time. It was evident that leadership was distributed
among members of the school community.
• I chose this topic for my doctoral research and in 2007
I conducted a study of schools implementing the CGCP in four
school boards in Nova Scotia.
• A case study approach was used to explore the leadership
functions, leadership distribution, and factors influencing
leadership in school settings.
• School counsellors, administrators, teachers and parents were
interviewed (self-reported and observed).
(Graham-Migel, 2008)
Leadership Functions (Leithwood et al., 2007)
• Setting Directions
Identifying and articulating a vision
Fostering the acceptance of group goals
Creating high performance expectations
Promoting effective communication
• Developing People
– Offering intellectual stimulation
– Providing individualized support
– Modeling appropriate values and practices
• Redesigning the Organization
– Strengthening school cultures
– Modifying organizational structures
– Building collaborative processes
• Managing the Instructional Program
– Staffing the instructional program
– Monitoring the progress of students and the school improvement
– Buffering staff from unproductive external demands for attention
– Allocating resources to foster the school’s improvement efforts
• On the whole the data in this study (Graham-Migel, 2008)
indicated that leadership was widely distributed in the four
schools studied
• Some leadership functions were individualized where the
administrator or school counsellor had primary responsibility
and the teachers and parents had secondary responsibility
• For the most part the leadership responsibilities were widely
shared by the members of the CGCP Advisory Committee
• Integrated model of Leadership (Locke, 2003) where there is a
need for sources of vertical or hierarchical leadership, as well
as several leadership functions that should not be shared, or
only shared partly
Findings (continued)
• Leadership needs to be distributed to those who either have,
or can develop, the knowledge and the expertise required;
and there is a need for coordination of the initiatives of those
to whom leadership is distributed (Leithwood, 2006)
• Hybrid Leadership (Gronn, 2008) where there was evidence of
both individual and shared, as well as focused and distributed,
forms of leadership co-existing in the CGCP. There was a
constant shifting or blending of leadership, in varying
amounts and at different times, depending upon the needs,
challenges, or situations encountered at the school.
• The results from this study add to a body of empirical
research on distributed leadership, illustrating that many of
the leadership functions performed in a CGCP are distributed.
• Members of the school community want a more active role in
providing supports to students
• Need for educators, particularly school counsellors, to be
more proactive in engaging students, parents, and community
members in decision making at the school
• Greater engagement often results in greater commitment to
established goals and program initiatives
• Schools cannot meet the challenges alone so it is necessary to
tap into the collective wealth of expertise that is available in
the broader community
• This requires a change in not only the organizational structure
at the school, but also in the power structure between
administrators and members of the school community
• Other than the School Advisory Council, there are few
organizational structures in Nova Scotia schools that allow
representation from stakeholders in the school community to
have an active voice at the school
• The CGCP is an example of one program, an integrative model,
that enables a collaborative structure with an avenue for
distributed leadership
• It encourages leadership at all levels within the administrative
structure, among school staff, among students, and between
the school and community
• Although there is still a need for individual and focused
leadership, it can co-exist with distributed leadership
• There is a collaborative characteristic of the distributed
leadership model that is found in the CGCP
• The CGCP provides an organizational culture that can be
welcoming and open, thus encouraging more participation
and involvement at the school
• The need for leadership from those in formal positions and
the work of educators does not decrease as a result of
distributed leadership in a CGCP; rather, it changes to a more
inclusive model that allows all members of the CGCP Advisory
Committee to have an opportunity to be in a leadership role
from time to time, supporting the needs of students
Examples of Leadership and Collaboration
in a CGCP
• Student leadership (Kids Help Phone, Techsploration)
• Staff leadership (Second Step Program, Food Policy)
• Workshops led by parents and/or members of the community
(anger management, substance abuse,
cyber bullying, wellness, Parents as Career Coaches )
• Integration of the guidance curriculum with the
Public School Program (Job Shadowing / Job Fair)
• Representation from outside agencies on the CGCP Advisory
Committee (RCMP, District Health Authority, Chamber of
Commerce, Community Services)
• Partnerships with universities and colleges
(research projects / student volunteers / internships)
• Graham-Migel, J. (2002). Comprehensive guidance and
counselling programs: The Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea
experience. Canadian Journal of Counselling, 36(1), 6-13.
• Graham-Migel, J. (2008). Distributed leadership in a
comprehensive guidance and counselling program:
Collaboration between education and health in the context of
school reform. Doctoral thesis: University of Toronto.
• Gronn, P. (2008). Hybrid leadership. In K. Leithwood,
B. Mascall, & T. Strauss (Eds.). Distributed leadership according
to the evidence (pp. 17-40). New York: Routledge.
• Harris, A. (2007). Distributed leadership: Conceptual
confusion an empirical reticence. International Journal of
Leadership in Education, 10(3), 1-11.
• Janson, C., Stone, C., & Clark, M. (2009). Stretching
leadership: A distributed perspective for school counselor
leaders. Professional School Counseling, (13)2, 98-106.
• Leithwood, K., Mascall, B., Strauss, T., Sacks, R., Memon, N.,
& Yashkina, A. (2007). Distributing leadership to make schools
smarter: Taking the ego out of the system. Leadership and
Policy in Schools, 6, 37-67.
• Locke, E. A. (2003). Leadership: Starting at the top.
In C. J. Pearce & C. Conger (Eds.). Shared leadership:
Reframing the hows and whys of leadership (pp. 271-284).
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
• Nova Scotia Department of Education (2010). Comprehensive
guidance and counselling program. Halifax, Nova Scotia,
Canada: Crown copyright: Province of Nova Scotia.
• Spillane, J. (2005). Distributed leadership. The Educational
Forum, 69, 143-150.

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