Activity Guide

As the accountability and responsibility of school leaders has changed in the 21st century from academically preparing some students to academically preparing all students to be college and career ready. If schools are to now guarantee student mastery, schools must be redesigned to engage and prepare every student to be ready to learn. This mandate means that 21st century schools must evaluate each student socially, financially, and academically to guarantee all barriers to learning have been addressed. The coun-selor develops the relationships between students, families, and the community for the school and that means the collaboration between the counselor and school leaders has become even more critical in en-suring that every school is responsive, proactive, collaborative, and aligned with establishing and meeting student academic needs.

Reading: Principals and Counselors Partnering for Student Success; editors Faith Connolly & Nancy Protheroe; Naviance, Inc.; Chapter 1: Addressing the Challenges of 21st Century Schools through Principal-Counselor Collaboration; Mel Riddile; pp. 1–20.


Discussion Process

The valuable discussion surrounding this article may be enhanced by meeting and discussing the recommendations in the following faculty teams:

Discussion in Functional or Departmental Teams

Distribute the reading to all participants and ask that they read it closely before the functional team meetings. Ask your faculty to assemble in departmental teams and discuss the Question Prompts in the guide below. Select a recorder to summarize the strategies and actions recommended by the author. Allot sufficient discussion time to identify which strategies are implemented in part or in full by your department and to evaluate their effectiveness. Each departmental member should have the summary notes for the next small group discussion.

Article: Addressing the Challenges of 21st Century Schools through Principal-Counselor Collaboration
CollaborationPersonalizationCurriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
What collaborative strategies does the author recommend for implementation in the “flatter” 21st century school?What contributions do functional and cross functional teams make to focus the whole school community on the achievement of individual students?What are the 21st century roles for both the principal and counselor?What are the advantages of personalizing the school environment for students?What personalization strategies does the author recommend to identify student goals and support students whom they consider marginalized?How can counselors help support rigor and instruction in our schools?What recommendations did the author make to reconsider the systemic school structures around grading, scheduling, and stakeholder collaboration to better focus teacher instruction and improve learning outcomes for students?

Discussion in Cross-Function Teams

Faculty should be organized to meet in cross-content or grade level instruction teams. Their assignment is to discuss the Question Prompts in the discussion guide below. Faculty members of the cross content teams should have summary notes from their departmental function teams including their discussions of what is effectively implemented in their content area. Counselors should float from team to team to provide input and focus the discussion on student mastery. Question prompts ask what current school initiatives need to be strengthened or what additional strategies need to be added at your school to improve rigorous instruction, student engagement, and the support for struggling students. Use the implementation planning tools in this discussion guide as needed.

Article: Addressing the Challenges of 21st Century Schools through Principal-Counselor Collaboration
CollaborationPersonalizationCurriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
How are we currently using collaborative teams to support instruction in our school?How might high performing functional and cross functional teams in our school improve student achievement?What additional strategies can we identify for implementation that will build better relationships with staff members and improve faculty and student communication?Since grading practices impact student behavior, has your school had discussions assigning grades and improving mastery of your students?Do we require individual learning plans for every student at our school?What additional personalization strategies might we implement at our school to improve student engagement and achievement?How can the development of the master schedule serve to balance the needs of both the faculty and student body? Has our school provided opportunities for staff and student input into the master scheduling process?Which additional strategies could we implement to improve relationships among school stakeholders and better focus ourselves on identifying and meeting the personal academic goals of each of our students?

Large Group Meeting

Reconvene the full faculty and debrief the cross functional team meetings by asking each group to provide a summary of the discussion and those current strategies the team identified for strengthening existing programs or the new strategies identified as needed. Involve the leadership team to continue planning and implementation process for recommended initiatives in future cross content meetings. Members of the guidance staff should be fully involved in these discussions.