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Research: School Counselors and COVID-19 [downloadable]

In a new report, Harvard Graduate School of Education researchers explored how counselors are adapting to meet student needs, where the challenges are, and how schools, districts, and states can support and provide resources to reinforce counselors’ work.

Senior lecturer Mandy Savitz-Romer and her coauthors, Boston College associate professor Heather Rowan-Kenyon and researchers Tara Nicola, Stephanie Carroll, and Laura Hecht, take one of the first looks at the impact of the pandemic on school counselors.

Findings from their survey of 948 school counselors suggest that, during the pandemic:

  • Counselors were not able to spend as much time as usual working directly with students on social-emotional issues, post-secondary planning, and career development. Counselors reported that they often filled logistical or administrative needs and that, while critical, this infringed on their ability to connect with students.
  • Counselors reported that they often lacked clear direction from school and district leadership.
  • Counselors reported that they were rarely involved in COVID-19 school planning.

Though survey responses underscored the tireless work school counselors and leaders did to continue to support students after the shift to remote learning, counselors also reported feeling as though they lacked structure and direction from leadership to provide personalized support to students.

As schools continue to experience pandemic-related disruptions, the report offers a series of recommendations for maintaining a commitment to student wellness and postsecondary readiness.

  • Articulate a vision for counseling and define expectations with input from the counseling staff
  • Prioritize counselor’s time with students and take flexible and creative approaches as needed
  • Ensure counselors have access to resources and supports to adapt to supporting students in this new environment

Excerpted from “School Counselors and COVID-19” from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education blog Usable Knowledge. Read the full article for additional details. View or download the full report, Expanding Support Beyond the Virtual Classroom.

Source: Usable Knowledge | School Counselors and COVID-19, https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/20/09/school-counselors-and-covid-19 | ©2020 President and Fellows of Harvard College

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