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 personnel (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 strategies – Buffering staff from unproductive external demands for attention – Allocating resources to foster the school’s improvement efforts Findings • 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. Collaboration • 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 Conclusion • 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) References • 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.