National Conference Focuses on the Role of Counselors in Postsecondary Success for Students
The National Office for School Counselor Advocacy hosted its national conference, Destination Equity 2009: Charting Bright Futures for All Students, in Las Vegas last week.
The program was designed to give participants a national perspective on the influence of school counselors in preparing students for meaningful postsecondary pursuits, including college. Sessions and speakers helped counselors connect students’ learning to their future aspirations and career goals, cultivate a climate for high achievement by all students, and strengthen advocacy skills to support and encourage higher participation rates in rigorous course work.
Attendees learned about hands-on strategies, tools and best practices, and enjoyed networking with colleagues and gaining innovative professional development.
“We’ve gotten lots of kudos because people feel that it’s a conference about their work and the importance of their work, without a lot of other people’s work thrown in,” said Patricia Martin, assistant vice president of NOSCA.
Highlights included a preconference session with the Urban School Counseling Initiative districts and another with counselor leaders who were brought to the conference through a grant from the James Irvine Foundation in California.
Michael Martirano, superintendent of St. Mary’s County Public Schools in southern Maryland and also the state’s 2009 Superintendent of the Year, brought his message of inspiration and his motto — “work hard and be nice” — to an engaged audience at the opening session.
Other speakers during the weekend meeting included nationally acclaimed lecturer, documentary filmmaker and performing poet Lee Mun Wah and counselor, psychologist and consultant
Sessions featured presentations on the use of data in counseling, cultural competency and college readiness, among other topics.
“This was the best session I have attended in a long time. The information was useful and practical. I look forward to using it in my work,” one participant said.
Although attendance was affected by the economy, NOSCA made many efforts to find funding for counselors to attend. Also, every session counted as a continuing education unit, so participants could make the most of their time in professional development.
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