Florida’s educational authorities provide a state-wide school counseling program to promote students’ holistic well-being through comprehensive psychological and academic support. The model incorporates standards pertaining to service delivery systems, management systems, accountability, and foundation (Florida Department of Education [Florida DOE], 2010). Becoming a practicing school counselor requires getting certification from Florida DOE’s (n.d.) Division of Certification based on experiential/academic expectations that the agency establishes. As for evaluation tools, programs are assessed using the Program Standards Checklist and its fifteen standards in the abovementioned four areas (Florida DOE, 2010). The School Counselor Performance Appraisal Form, a tool that focuses on performance linked with thirteen performance-related standards, serves for evaluations at the individual level (Florida DOE, 2010). The provided resources are financial aid and counseling guides for general and special needs student populations (Florida DOE, 2010). Concerning professional organizations, the Florida School Counselor Association [FSCA] (n.d.) offers multiple supports for professionals. Among them are guidance on working with LGBTQ students and substance addiction cases, information on affordable college programs, and annual professional development conventions.
From my perspective, the state’s DOE and the FSCA are quite successful in terms of what they provide. The former offers program and counselor evaluation frameworks that support service standardization and set clear performance expectations and definitions of professionalism in the school counseling field. The latter invests in developing supportive measures to satisfy professionals’ need for ongoing development, experience exchange, learning from colleagues, and practice guidelines that would make counseling oriented at inclusion and student-centeredness. The ASCA National Model’s central components and recommendations include the ideal counselor-to-student ratio of 1:250 (American School Counselor Association [ASCA], n.d.). It also recommends using workplace time management practices to make sure that at least 80% of the counselor’s time is devoted to serving students directly or indirectly (ASCA, n.d.). The FSCA might need to emphasize this information in its online resources for counselors to support the optimization of Florida school counselors’ actual caseloads and facilitate each child’s access to services. Incorporating educational resources to teach professionals how to achieve excellence in relation to use-of-time requirements could also make the FSCA’s materials more informative.
American School Counselor Association. (n.d.). The ASCA National Model: A framework for school counseling programs. Executive summary. Web.
Florida Department of Education. (2010). Florida’s school counseling framework.
Florida Department of Education. (n.d.). Administrative rules: 6A-4.0181.
Florida School Counselor Association. (n.d.). Counselor resources.