School counselor leadership: An action research intervention study for building counselor skills to improve college readiness knowledge in middle school English learners by teaching social-emotional competencies
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Middle school counselors under the Texas Education Code (TEC) §33.005 and §33.006 must implement a comprehensive school counseling program; counselors are responsible for helping students achieve success in school, pursue post-secondary opportunities, and lead healthy, fulfilling lives. Through the individual planning component, counselors are responsible for planning, monitoring, and managing students' educational, career, personal, and social development. COVID 19, virtual instruction, and social isolation added significant challenges to middle school counselors' already difficult task of helping English Learners navigate post-secondary planning and career readiness. The purpose of this insider action research is to identify the necessary knowledge and skills middle school counselors need to increase English Learners’ post-secondary planning and career readiness by teaching social-emotional competencies. Helping students develop social-emotional learning skills is essential in developing a growth mindset and identifying personal, cultural, and linguistic assets. In addition, building counselor capacity and confidence creates effective campus leaders that can influence EL student outcomes. The following research questions guided this study: 1. What skills, in the individual planning component of the Texas Counseling Model, do middle school counselors need to develop middle school ELs post-secondary planning and career readiness by teaching personal and social development? 2. What knowledge, in the individual planning component of the Texas Counseling Model, do middle school counselors gain when developing middle school ELs post-secondary planning and career readiness when teaching personal and social development? This insider action research followed essential design-based school improvement, research methodological principles, intervention strategies advocated and discussed in Mintrop (2016) and Coghlan and Brannick (2014). In addition, the researcher collected qualitative impact and process data throughout the study. Overall, the impact and process data findings identified the growth in counselor knowledge and skills necessary to increase ELs post-secondary planning and career readiness and a solid connection to the benefits of teaching students social-emotional learning competencies.
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