I heard this phrase nearly half a dozen years ago when I was working as a school counselor intern for a local school district. I was collaborating with a few school counselors in creating a presentation for the upcoming California Association of School Counselors’ (CASC) annual conference. Little did I know that this phrase would continue to resonate with me. When I think of continuous improvement, I think of counselors and educators in general. No matter what our specific role is, we should all be striving towards continuous improvement. So what would happen if we didn’t strive for such a thing? Well, I believe we would be stuck with status quo, in stagnant position.
Let’s consider school counselor, Mrs. Hernandez, who has worked at ABC Middle School for the last 11 years. We could assume that she knows her community well, given that she has spent a great deal of time at this school site. But wait, does she REALLY know her students and her community? Well maybe. Perhaps, she knows that the school has consistently had an API of about 750, many of the students come from large families, and that the majority of the teachers have spent their entire career at ABC Middle School. But maybe, she doesn’t know her community well.
Perhaps, she is not aware that there’s been a huge increase in the unemployment rate in the immediate area, some students are now working during their afterschool/weekend hours, and does not understand why some students are habitually tardy. It is only through continuous education AKA professional development that we can understand the social phenomenon that our students and families are facing.
I firmly believe it is crucial to our profession that we all strive towards this continuous improvement. Attending local, state, national, and even international conferences should be the goal. As human we are never done learning; we can never be smart enough. As societal changes occur, this necessitates that changes in education need to occur too. Putting this into the larger context of counseling professions in general, we all need professional development. Not just to earn and maintain certification or licensure, but in order to adequately serve our clients. I challenge you all to strive for this goal…
Sandi Logan is school counselor and currently a doctoral student in the Counselor Education and Supervision program at University of Florida. Prior to pursuing further studies, she worked as an elementary and middle school counselor in Southern California.