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Chapter 4: The Probationer Mindset

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CHAPTER 4T H E P R O B AT I O N E R M I N D S E TAdam was like a flash of lightning on the football field. He was a scrambling junior varsity quarterback who used his feet more than his arm. He scored touchdown after touchdown for the team I coached. From those first days ofAugust practice, Adam was a leader. It was not until school began in September thatI discovered the type of student Adam was.Football coaches do more than teach players a game. They are caring adults in a young person’s life—a protective factor that improves a student’s odds of resilience(Center on the Developing Child, n.d.). They help to build an affective connection between the player, team, and school—relatedness. As a coach, I had many conversations with my players, listening to their questions and difficulties, and helping where needed. This was important, because it was my job to make sure my players stayed academically eligible to play. This meant that a student had to begin the season with over a 2.0 grade point average (GPA) and stay above that mark during the season.

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Chapter 2: The Agitator Mindset

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CHAPTER 2T H E A G I TAT O R M I N D S E TEvery teacher in the world has had students with the agitator mindset. These students’ behavior disrupts class, foiling the teacher’s opportunity to educate. The teacher engrains these students’ names in his or her mind. I met my first student with an agitator mindset when I was a student teacher in a fifth-grade class. Brad was tall, energetic, intelligent, and compulsive. His teacher had moved him to every corner of the room to sit with a combination of students around him to inspire a behavior change. Brad interrupted everyone’s learning. The morning I began student teaching, Brad was in his new assigned seat—by the floor next to the teacher’s desk.It was only early September.Brad did not do most of his work. The work he did was rushed and incomplete.Brad did not stay in his seat. Brad would joke about the classmates around him. He joked about the teacher and me. He was disengaged from the content, his classmates, and his teacher.

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Chapter 3: The Retreater Mindset

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CHAPTER 3T H E R E T R E AT E R M I N D S E TEighth grader Stacy sat quietly in my language arts class. I found out shortly after the school year began that she lived with her older brother, and her father, who had an addiction. Stacy did nothing in class—less than nothing. She completed no assignments. Asking where her work was, I learned, would lead to her acting out. Stacy and all of her teachers had developed an unspoken truce—allow her to sit quietly in class, and she wouldn’t blow up. During a conference, her father seemed to care, but we never saw any follow-through. She didn’t take part in extracurricular activities, and she didn’t seem to engage with students, either. She seemed to be withdrawing from the world—but we had a breakthrough during a theater game.Stacy, who had never wanted to say anything, was the first to volunteer for a character-development game called teachers and students. In the game, the students acting as teachers give one-sentence commands, and the students do exactly what they say—in a way. The students attempt to seek out the teachers’ true wishes and use their words against them. They must comply, but they are supposed to flip the command. It’s much like how the book character Amelia Bedelia behaves. When

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Chapter 1: Student Engagement

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CHAPTER 1STUDENT ENGAGEMENTTeacher instruction either inspires or dulls engagement. The launching (contexts) and consolidating (situations) that you create influence students more than any other aspect of their education (Parsons et al., 2014). Other elements can inspire students, but your teaching practices are at the center of a student’s desire to learn in your classroom. Sadly, educators often focus improvement initiatives on changing students, not changing their own practices. I, too, have been guilty of this. All the research in this book (including Dweck, 2006; Fisher & Frey, 2015; Muhammad,2018; Ryan & Deci, 2000a, 2000b) tells us that educators are the ones who need to adjust. It also tells us that when we do adjust and use the most effective strategies, our students are more likely to succeed (Hattie, 2012).How should educators and other stakeholders define engagement? What is its significance? How can they measure it? What are its elements? How can educators and stakeholders implement those elements? We’ll answer these questions in this chapter.

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Chapter 6: The Academician Mindset

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CHAPTER 6THE ACADEMICIAN MINDSETValentina was a seventh grader with a passion for writing, and not just the process or the composition of a story. She asked the most interesting questions about how plot arc impacts the reader’s interest in a story and how character development is intertwined in that process. She found many of the class assignments too easy.Outside of school, Valentina was a voracious reader of young adult novels. She had a different book with her all the time. What the class read over weeks, she consumed in an evening. Valentina also wrote at home, working on her own young adult novel similar to what she was reading. She brought in chapters for me to read. Once, she even skipped bringing in the simple vocabulary homework and gave me another chapter. She did eventually turn in the vocabulary work, but it was clear where her focus was. Valentina was more interested in the mission of exploring writing than doing a simple homework chore.Valentina’s comments in class were so insightful they sometimes confused many of her thirteen-year-old classmates. She was thinking deeply about the concepts we were exploring. I feared I may have been an obstacle to her learning. I needed to do something different.

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Chapter 7: Engagement Culture Schoolwide

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CHAPTER 7E N G A G E M E N T C U LT U R ESCHOOLWIDEEarlier chapters focus on grades preK–12 teachers. This chapter supports teachers and administrators, since principals and district leaders have a broader reach and can do much to establish schoolwide culture. Systematic changes precede culture changes. You can lead the steps to systematic change.Here, I will explain why staff may resist change, so you can get buy-in. Then, I will walk you through the steps you’ll need to take to create a culture of engagement in a school at large.Resistance to ChangeWhy would anyone ever fight against developing high levels of student engagement?The short answer is that our school culture is deeply engrained and difficult to change(Muhammad, 2018). There might be pushback when your team decides on what strategies to implement to increase engagement. It is important to know why some educators push back and to help them understand their feelings of resistance and why they should join together as a team to implement new strategies in the classroom.

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Chapter 5: The Aficionado Mindset

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CHAPTER 5THE AFICIONADO MINDSETIt would be accurate to describe eighth grader Aaliyah as obsessed with her grades.In school, she listened to her teachers, kept organized, and always turned in her work on time. Teachers and the principal regularly gave her the student-of-theweek award to recognize her excellence.Every day, when she got off her bus, Aaliyah made the quick walk home with her little brother. Although her parents were not home but still at work, unprompted, she immediately sat down with a snack to complete her homework. Like clockwork every day, even on Fridays, homework was the routine. If she had questions, she would video chat with her father. Unlike many students in her class, homework included studying. Before her tests, she independently made flash cards or study guides. She sought out her parents after dinner to quiz her on those resources. After completing her work for the day, Aaliyah read for pleasure or attended volleyball practice.

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Chapter 1

Balch, Tonya C.; Balch, Bradley V. Solution Tree Press PDF

Chapter 1

Team Effectiveness and Performance

The educational landscape is strewn with teaching and learning changes, high-stakes accountability measures at state, provincial, and national levels, stakeholders who want choices, and a host of other change-laden influences that directly impact school counselors and administrators—frequently in competing ways. For example, master scheduling at the middle school might provide competing roles. The principal must consider student transportation, part-time teachers, and other structural features

(such as short or long periods in the schedule) as a priority driver for the schedule, while the counselor may be focused on students’ needs that are informed by brainbased research (such as the best adolescent learning not occurring early in the morning). These perspectives compete when the school must offer early credit-bearing classes in algebra 1 or Spanish 1 to accommodate shared mathematics teachers—all this, in spite of what best serves student learning. This landscape is further cluttered with prevailing thoughts that the “state of our educational system has plenty of room for improvement” (Chen, 2017). No doubt all these forces have enormous implications for school counselor–administrator teams.

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Chapter 7

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Chapter 7

Student Misbehavior

One persistent issue is guaranteed to test the school counselor–administrator team— student discipline. In the absence of a strategic focus with predictable patterns of intervention, other education stakeholders (students, parents, faculty, and staff) may view the team’s approach as ad hoc or even at odds within the team. The Center for

Social and Emotional Education (n.d.) notes that “student discipline and motivation are perhaps the greatest concern” for teachers (p. 1). It is little wonder this issue consistently challenges the team.

The principal and other administrators are often perceived by education stakeholders as the authoritative administrators, garnering much power from their positions.

The principal also commands much expertise in the areas of policy understanding, legal analysis, and student codes of conduct. The counselor is often perceived as the human service professional who is charged with providing emotional support to students and a host of adults, understanding the full array of school-home connections, and serving as expert advocate for students across multiple agencies within the community. As different as these positions may be, the individual gifts and talents team members garner from their professional backgrounds strengthen a robust team approach to student behavior requiring discipline.

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Chapter 8

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Chapter 8

Master Scheduling,

Supervision, and Testing

The school counselor and administrator are a minority of individuals in a school not tethered to a conventional rigid daily schedule, often referred to as the bell schedule. It is easy for an administrator to assign additional duties such as supervising, testing, or committee chairing to the school counselor due to that job’s more flexible schedule.

This can present a challenge to the team, as the administrator is often the counselor’s direct supervisor, and it is within his or her purview to assign duties. This creates a dual role for the administrator of both supervisor and team member. While many administrators appropriately balance these roles, it may be the case that an administrator is not a judicious delegator.

Overloading any team member is not an efficient or effective use of that person’s time or skills, leading to withdrawal from team participation and, over a longer term, exhaustion. This can lead to burnout and lower-quality services for students (Mullen

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Chapter 3

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Chapter 3

Ethical Considerations for

Different Stakeholders

Students primarily attend school for academic purposes. Yet, they do not leave their personal experiences at the door. They bring rich personal and family values, beliefs, assumptions, and behaviors that may enhance or impede their academic progress.

Students may be hungry and their basic needs unmet. Students may come from home environments with extremely high expectations for success. They may also be victims of domestic violence or substance abuse.

The school counselor–administrator team is required to make ethical decisions that affect students and must consider both the individual students and their respective families in doing so. An effective school counselor–administrator team will have a systematic approach to reach consensus and develop decisions based, in part, on each situation’s unique context. Students, parents, guardians, and other education stakeholders expect school leaders to use ethical principles, such as justice, fairness, liberty, honesty, equity, and a welcoming orientation toward diversity, to guide their decisions (Senge, 2000).

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Appendix

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Appendix

Trauma-Sensitive

School Checklist

Use this checklist, created by Lesley University Center for Special Education and

Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative of Massachusetts Advocates for Children

(2012), when working on the professional development activity on trauma (pages

153–154).

This checklist is organized by five components involved in creating a trauma-sensitive school. Each component consists of several elements. Please assess your school on each element according to the following scale:

School:          Date:     

Team Members (name and position):

1 1= Element is not at all in place

2 2= Element is partially in place

3 =

3 Element is mostly in place

4 =

4 Element is fully in place

A trauma-sensitive school is a safe and respectful environment that enables students to build caring relationships with adults and peers, self-regulate their emotions and behaviors, and succeed academically, while supporting their physical health and well-being.

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Chapter 4

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Chapter 4

Personnel Issues

As a school counselor–administrator team member, you will be a frequent choice among school personnel to assist with a variety of issues. You may address these issues in a one-to-one setting, or in small- and large-group settings as well. Many times, the issues are professional in nature, but you should anticipate personal issues too. Your accessibility throughout the instructional day, your leadership role as a human service professional or administrator, and even your advanced degree in your respective field all make you a desirable go-to resource when personnel issues arise throughout the school.

Many qualities define an effective team, and the way it deals with personnel issues is no exception. It is possible that a team could be considered effective across many measures only to fall far short in dealing with personnel issues. Why? Maybe because the team does not prioritize dealing with such issues, or it feels uncomfortable doing so, or simply because resolving personnel issues can be difficult and consume much time. However, the team that fails to effectively deal with personnel issues may be doomed over time; the profession of education is all about people, and dealing with personnel is a team essential.

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Chapter 11

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Chapter 11

The Future of the

School Counselor–

Administrator Team

Fulfilling education’s purposes requires strong human service professionals and leaders who are driven to help people and schools perform at optimal levels. However, when school counselors and administrators work in professional silos, they individually define opportunities, imperatives, and narratives regarding teaching and learning that lack the power of a team approach. We hope that this book details the school counselor–administrator team’s opportunities to bring strength—through collaboration—to a variety of priorities, from master scheduling to crises. This chapter will help those school counselors and administrators who are in search of the optimal team relationship lay out periodical assessment of the team relationship and future influences and challenges, and lead them through a professional development activity on leadership reflection.

Periodical Assessment of the

Team Relationship

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Chapter 2

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Chapter 2

Legal Precedents

For school counselors and administrators to operate effectively, school counselor– administrator team members must understand and embrace the parameters of their governing power. These parameters are defined by the narrower individual roles (such as the law as related to the position of counselor or administrator) and the broader collective team roles (such as the law as related to all licensed professional educators and human service professionals). When building-level control appears to be eroding because different stakeholder groups expect broader choice and expression, teaching and learning, and overall schoolwide accountability, the team could easily adopt the mantra, “It’s out of our hands!” This chapter builds a rational basis to renew the team’s enthusiasm for making building-level decisions through a legal lens by reinforcing the team’s broad authority, which comes from a variety of U.S. federal, state, and local levels—but all readers will gain insights and assistance, no matter their location. It also addresses the importance of legal counsel, legal basics, relevant case law, sources of authority, democratic principles, and expectations for legal scrutiny.

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