An Advocacy Letter: Recognizing the importance of support staff in a student-centered school

Dear_________________,

As a school counselor, my work would not be possible without the tireless support of the teachers, school leaders, and students who work and learn in this building. I feel privileged to be a part of our school community. As we have been working to make our school more student-centered, I am excited to participate in what I know will be a positive shift for our school and our students. I am writing to let you know I am ready and able to be more involved in this evolution.

Counselors can play a crucial role in the successful implementation of student-centered approaches to learning. In my work, I strive to:

  • Help students develop their social/emotional competencies;
  • Enable students to demonstrate that they are ready to drive their own futures;
  • Provide opportunities to learn outside of traditional classroom settings; and
  • Empower students to have agency and ownership over their own learning.

I want to share some of my strategies and be a resource, but in order to do that, I will need to deepen my understanding of student-centered approaches within the greater school community. Below, I’ve laid out some suggested actions to help me do this.

First, it would be helpful to spend more time in classrooms, and have more opportunities for

cross-role collaboration

, so that I can see how a student-centered framework plays out throughout the day. Whether that means I join in planning sessions with teachers or spend one full day a month in a room, I’d love to have the opportunity to observe student-centered learning strategies and then debrief shortly thereafter with the teacher. This way, I can further support your methods with students, as well as support students in understanding these new methods more deeply.

Second, it would be useful to have counselor-specific

professional development

that prepares me to be an active part of a student-centered school. Professional development will allow me to understand how you, as teachers and school leaders, engage students, support their agency, and develop relationships with students. And it could help prepare me, as a professional in the building who has experience working with students on social/emotional issues, to work with educators on these strategies and perhaps lead to some peer-to-peer professional development or coaching.

Third,

technological tools

can create more efficiency in regard to our student-centered efforts, helping us address barriers such as insufficient time or inefficient data sharing. I can assist in developing and implementing the use of technology tools in a strategic way that helps us manage our workloads and enables us to foster relationships with students and make them the center of our work.

Please let me know if you have other ideas how I could get more involved. I am eager to be part of this exciting transition.

Sincerely,

 

____________

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