ACAeNews for School Counselors | Volume III | Number 1

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4 Questions 4 Patricia Henderson: Texas Counselor Had School Named for Her

Patricia HendersonThroughout her career, Patricia Henderson has been one of the most eloquent advocates for effective school counseling programs. As the veteran Director of Guidance for the Northside Independent School District (NISD) in Texas, Pat advanced a management and organizational structure for one of the strongest pre-K to12th grade counseling initiatives in the nation, a program widely recognized for its excellence. Her commitment to the counseling needs of students and the advancement of the work of professional school counselors brought her a unique achievement: a new elementary school in San Antonio, TX named in her honor–the Pat Henderson Elementary School.

1. Calls for greater accountability are being made for all aspects of American education. How can accountability be achieved in the establishment and development of school counseling programs? What role will school counselors play in the overall accountability aspect?

In well-developed programs, the means for evaluating and being accountable for them are determined at the outset. Knowing what we want our students to learn through the guidance and counseling program and each of its activities allows for ongoing measurement of their effectiveness. It is imperative that the measures are based on standards appropriate to guidance and counseling, not those of other education programs (e.g., instruction or administration). For example, in guidance activities aligned with the Texas program model, we aim for students of all ages to build self-confidence, maintain motivation to achieve, make decisions and set goals, use good communication skills, develop effective interpersonal and cross-cultural relationship skills, and be responsible for their own behaviors. These provide the standards for student learning in the school counseling program, pre-K to 12th grade. Every activity carried out by a school counselor should address one or more of those content areas, whether it is a guidance curriculum lesson, an individualized student planning or responsive services session, or a system support service.

2. You have written and taught extensively about the importance of developing and managing counseling and student service programs. What do you see as the essential elements?

There are five phases of the process: planning, designing, implementing, evaluating, and enhancing (Gysbers & Henderson, 2006). Each of these is essential. From my perspective, the one that makes "The Difference" is the designing phase, during which priorities are set for the categories of students to be served, use of counselors' specialized skills, topics to be addressed, and recommendations made for how counselors should divvy up their time among the variables. Time management is the essential element in program management. Students' needs are infinite; program resources (e.g. counselor time) are finite.

Another set of essential elements is related to leading and managing counselors' performance: linking their job descriptions, clinical and administrative supervision, evaluation of the quality of their performance, and their professional development goals. To be fair, just, and relevant, these elements are based on established performance standards.

3. There are many school counselors who have the potential to assume counseling and student service management and supervisory roles in schools and school districts. What personal and professional characteristics distinguish a manager/supervisor from a practitioner?

This is a hard question to answer as there are so many variables! In The New Handbook of Administrative Supervision in Counseling (2009), I identified five sets of competencies: conceptual, human, professional, technical, and self-management. The latter is critical and hard to learn. It includes maintaining one's own wellness, building healthy relationships, enjoying the work, having a strong and appropriate professional identity, and having a sense of humor.

Regardless of one's personality, I think some "must have's" are to have a vision–a dream–for the healthy emotional, social, and mental development of children and adolescents, for schools, and for how counselors can best help the kids. To be an effective leader, one has to be willing to take responsibility to help others be the best professionals they can be, and to develop systems that make other's work meaningful and productive. One must be able to lead others, accept leadership responsibilities, and carry them out in the best interests of the students and the counselors. Being brave and assertive are helpful characteristics, as are being adept at navigating school and district politics, and being able to use the power(s) that come with authority and responsibility to achieve goals.

4. Few counselors have a school named in their honor. What ran through your mind when you learned about the school being named for you?

San Antonio School Dedicated to CounselorI was astounded! I had no idea that my name had been put forth and advocated by a stalwart group of professional school counselors. The process is thorough and the school board makes the selection from a fairly long list of nominees (nearly 300 in my case). It took a while for it to sink in. I had a year to grow in my understanding of what being a "school namesake" means. It takes on a little more texture each day. Last week I volunteered to read a popular guidance book to kindergarteners and 1st graders at the school. What a joy! It is definitely a tribute to the NISD counselors and administrators who consciously and conscientiously work hard every day to tend to the mental health needs of students.


Pat Henderson began her career as an English teacher and counselor in California and she eventually moved into leadership when she assumed administrative and supervisory positions with both the Orange County and California Departments of Education. With colleague Norman Gysbers, she introduced the concept of Comprehensive Guidance Programs, consisting of four components: guidance, responsive services, individual planning, and system support.

She joined NISD in Texas as the Director of Guidance in 1982 where she transformed the district's guidance and counseling program and expanded the paradigm of the counselor-student relationship to one involving greater outreach to students. Her work in improving and expanding the NISD counseling programs (pre-K through high school) brought her personal recognition and professional acclaim. Eventually her model was adopted by the Texas State Agency and by national programs. She is a life-time achievement awardee of the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, American School Counselor Association, and the Texas Counseling Association.

Developing and Managing Your School Guidance Programs (4th Edition) which she coauthored with Norm Gysbers and The New Handbook for Administrative Supervision in Counseling are consistent ACA best-sellers. Pat is now retired but remains active as a consultant and volunteer, including spending time with the appreciative students at Pat Henderson Elementary School.

2010 Election: What It Means for Education Reform and School Counselors

ACA ElectionEducation reform will have an impact on credentialed school counselors across the country in both the short- and long-term. The only questions are how and when. A revamped (i.e., reauthorized) main federal education law (the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, a.k.a. ESEA or No Child Left Behind) could significantly advance credentialed school counselors' job opportunities, support, and roles. Reauthorization now seems to rest in the hands of the 112th Congress, which begins in January 2011. That is one of the many reasons why the outcome of the elections is so important to school counselors, students, and the country.

The November 2010 midterm elections resulted in historic gains for Republicans in state legislatures, governor races, and in both chambers of the U.S. Congress, turning back gains made by Democrats in previous election cycles. Next year Republicans will have a sizable majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. Democrats in the Senate will have a very slim majority. And, of course, the presidency is still held by a Democrat.

What does all this mean for education reform and its impact on credentialed school counselors? Plenty! Follow the link below to the ACA Legislative Update / Latest News site where Dominic Holt, ACA Legislative Representative, offers guidance to practicing and prospective school counselors about how the election and the emerging political climate in Washington and the nation could affect school counseling and what you can do to influence it.

ACA Legislative Updates...

Addressing the Gaps and Problems of Degree Attainment

The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) has released a comprehensive report, "No Time to Waste," that addresses the myriad issues surrounding college success (or lack thereof) by students and the class gap that is appearing in degree attainment. While many of the 50 SREB recommendations for addressing the problem are directed toward state policymakers and higher education institutions, K-12 educators and counselors will see relevance for their work in preparing students for post-secondary education.

SREB No Time to Waste Report...

Conference Clipping: Programs for School Counselors

Programs for School CounselorsTwenty-one education sessions at the March 2011 ACA Conference & Exposition have been specifically identified as "primary" programs in school counseling and many other are tagged as secondary. Eleven of the programs focus on children and adolescents, and others are on areas such as testing, technology, and best practices. In addition, a number of the 39 scheduled Pre-conference Learning Institutes are relevant to the practice of counseling in schools.

The program selection committee has done an exceptional job in responding to the professional concerns of school counselors working in pre-K through high school and adult education settings. Attendees can earn a "School Counseling Academy" certificate by attending at least 6 full sessions within the track, the Opening Keynote session, and visiting the Exposition for at least 30 minutes to become aware of new products, services, and technology.

ACA Conference Program...

Register Now...

In the News: Foreclosures Lead to Increase in Homeless Students

According to a recent Washington Post story, the rising rate of foreclosures resulting from the national mortgage crisis is related to an increase in the number of homeless students attending public elementary and secondary schools. Researchers, in an attempt to track what happens to students and families losing their homes to foreclosure, found U.S. school districts citing foreclosure as the cause of the recent rise in homeless students. The surveys were conducted this summer by First Focus and the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth.

School counselors will want to be aware of the emotional, social, and academic upheaval that students suffer when they are uprooted from their homes and schools. Citing the Great Depression as the last time a relocation of this magnitude had been recorded, the Post story offers insight into how it plays out for students.

Washington Post Story...

Fast Facts: Number of Homeless Students in Public Schools Nearing 1 Million

According to the most recent federal data, in the 2008-2009 school year, 954,914 homeless children and youth were enrolled in public schools. (See related item above). This is a 20% increase from the 2007-2008 school year, and a 41% increase from the 2006-2007.

NAEHCY Fact Sheet...

ACA Releases Cyberbullying and Play Therapy Books

Two new releases from ACA are of interest to school counselors:

Cyberbullying: What Counselors Need to Know by Sheri Bauman

CyberbullyingThis informative book offers complete, up-to-date coverage of the growing problem of cyberbullying. Written for counselors, teachers, school leaders, and others who work with children and teens, Cyberbullying addresses the real-life dangers students face on the Internet and offers the following benefits and features:

  • Discussion of the different types of cyberbullying and where it happens
  • Overview of prominent theories of aggressive behavior
  • Examination of the developmental differences in cyberbullying and victimization across the life span
  • Proactive responses
  • Effective, nonpunitive strategies for responding
  • Useful information on current technology and popular websites
  • Chapter on adult cyberbullying
  • List of helpful websites, books, media, and an Appendix that reviews the latest research

2011 | 215 pgs
Order # 72900
ISBN 978-1-55620-294-0
List Price: $29.95
ACA Member Price: $24.95

Order Now...

Play Therapy: Basics and Beyond (Second Edition) by Terry Kottman

Play TherapyWritten for use in play therapy and child counseling courses, this extraordinarily practical text provides a detailed examination of basic and advanced play therapy concepts and skills and guidance on when and how to use them. Kottman's multitheoretical approach and wealth of explicit techniques are also helpful for clinicians who want to gain greater insight into children's minds and enhance therapeutic communication through the power of play.

After a discussion of the basic concepts and logistical aspects of play therapy, Kottman illustrates commonly used play therapy skills and more advanced skills. Introduced in this edition is a new chapter on working with parents and teachers to increase the effectiveness of play therapy. Practice exercises and "Questions to Ponder" throughout the text facilitate the skill-building and self-examination process.

2011 | 375 pgs
Order# 72905
ISBN: 978-1-55620-305-3
List price: $54.95
ACA Member Price: $39.95

Order Now...

A Little Good News about Reading, Math Scores…Just a Little

The autumn release of the annual scores of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) by the U.S. Department of Education depicted a modest 4-year gain in reading and math scores of 12th grade students. In the period between 2005 and 2009, average reading scores for seniors rose by 2 points, from 286 to 288, on a 500-point scale. During the same period, math scores of the 12th graders rose from 150 to 153 on a 300-point scale. Overall, senior progress on what is referred to as the Nation's Report Card was not as great as that of 4th and 8th graders.

NAEP Report on Study Progress...

School Counselors to Visit Colleges on Summer Bike Tour: Join Them!

Over the past 7 years, a group of school counselors has toured colleges and universities in 13 states by bicycle. During the experience, they have met with admission officers and counselors, toured campuses, and enjoyed the collegiate atmosphere through a "hands on" exposure. This summer, the bicycle tour will be routed to schools in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina with tentative dates set for July 3-9 (first phase) and July 10-16 (second phase).

Participants need to be fit, but not necessarily expert, bikers. To learn more contact Kirk Blackard, Director of College Guidance at Christ School in Arden, NC at or 828-684-6232 , ext.110, before March 1, 2011.

Sign of the Times: Apps Used for Test Prep and More

BlackberryThe Lexington Journal-Leader reported recently on the growing number of high school students using "apps," or applications, that have been downloaded to their iPhones to do everything from practice for ACT and SAT test to reviewing previously studied classroom work. The apps–some free–vary greatly in sophistication. One thing appears certain: more apps are on the way.

Lexington Journal-Leader Story...

Quotable Quotes from Notable People: Actor, Youth Advocate Denzel Washington

"The hours between 3 pm and 6 pm are critical. That's when kids need homework help, tutors, and mentors, but many are going home to empty houses."

Denzel Washington is a two-time Academy Award and Golden Globe-winning actor and 18- year-spokesperson for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

NACAC, College Board Reports Portray Current Admission, Cost Trends

The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) has released its annual "State of College Admission" report containing a wealth of information on college transition, application trends, factors influencing admission decisions by institutions, and the effect of the economic downturn on the most recent admission cycle. The report reflects the inner workings of the college admission and financial aid process and gives school counselors an up-close and personal perspective.

The annual College Board Trends in College Pricing report examines a decade of published tuition and fees at public and private 4-year colleges and universities and provides an analysis of what those costs are now and where they may be headed in the future.

NACAC Report Media Release...

College Board College Pricing Report...

ACA Expands CE Options: Podcasts, CT Articles Now Available for Credit

ACA now offers three expanded venues for members to use in earning continuing education credits online. These options include:

Free CE of the Month

Although the majority of online continuing education courses have a registration and processing charge, ACA offers members one free continuing education opportunity each month. An FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) sheet about the free program can be accessed here.

If you took advantage of all 12 free credits in one year, it would more than cover the cost of your ACA dues!

ACA Podcast Series

ACA Podcast SeriesSince ACA launched online podcasts, 24 pre-recorded interviews with counseling experts and authorities have been created and posted for member review. Recent programs of potential interest to school counselors include "Cyberbullying: Recent Cases" with Sheri Bauman and "Tough Kids, Cool Counseling" with John Sommers Flanagan. Podcast programs that are 45 minutes or longer are now eligible for continuing education credit. Click here to review the podcast directory and the link below to register for the continuing education examination.

CT Learning Credit

Counseling Today readers can now earn continuing education credit directly from ACA for reading feature stories, interviews, and other selected content and using the online exam that is posted in each issue.

These new and improved continuing education opportunities compliment existing options of reading articles in the Journal of Counseling & Development and selected ACA book chapters for credit. Visit the link below to learn more.

ACA Online Learning Continuing Education Options...

Early Intervention Critical to Latino Student Success

If Latino students are to compete effectively in high school and improve their chances for college access, schools must address the issue through effective early intervention programs beginning in the late elementary and middle grades. This was the consensus of experts presenting at the "Building Better Students: Preparation for Life After High School" conference, a recent event sponsored by the Educational Testing Service, the College Board, and the American Educational Research Association and reported in Diverse Online News. While conference speakers scrutinized the success claims of a variety of specific approaches and practices, getting an early start was one theme that gained consensus approval.

Diverse Online News Story...

Federal Program and Grants Focus on Safe Schools and Mental Health

The U.S. Departments of Education, Justice, and Health & Human Services have released a Safe Schools, Healthy Students "Show Me How" video. Visit

The Grants for the Integration of Schools and Mental Health Systems Program of the U.S. Department of Education provide grants to state and local educational agencies or Indian tribes to increase student access to high-quality mental health care by developing innovative approaches that link school systems with local mental health systems.


Relevant Research: 1 in 10 U.S. Children Diagnosed with ADHD

Nearly 1 in 10 U.S. children have been diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at some point in their lives, according to a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) survey conducted in 2007-2008. The new data represents a jump of 22% from 2003, when the identical survey found 1 in 13 children had received this diagnosis. The most significant increases were seen in older adolescents and Hispanic children, possibly reflecting a shift in attitudes about diagnosis. In the early surveys, ADHD was disproportionately diagnosed in white children from more affluent families. Today, more children living in poverty are diagnosed and ADHD rates are comparable among African-American and white children, according to CDC officials.

Centers for Disease Control ADHD Data and Statistics...

School Counseling Resources Available from ACA Public Policy Office

The ACA Public Policy Staff maintains a number of current resources that school counselors will find useful as they work with students, parents, school administrators, and the public advocating for improved counseling services to students. View these tools and resources:

ACA Public Policy School Counseling Resources...

Inside JCD: Articles of Interest to School Counselors in the Winter Edition

JCDThe winter edition of the Journal of Counseling & Development (Volume 89, Number 1) includes a great mix of articles for school counselors:

  • How School Counselors Can Help Prevent Online Victimization by Jason J. Burrow-Sanchez, Megan E. Call, Robert Zheng, & Clifford J. Drew
  • Relationships Among Personality, Expectations About Counseling, and Help-Seeking Attitudes by Regina Kakhnovets
  • Promoting Self-Esteem in Adolescents: The Influence of Wellness Factors by Jane E. Myers, John T. Willse, & José A. Villalba
  • School Counseling Outcome: A Meta-Analytic Examination of Interventions by Susan C. Whiston, Wendi Lee Tai, Daryn Rahardja, & Kelly Eder
  • What Is Missing in Counseling Research? Reporting Missing Data by William R. Sterner
  • Journal of Counseling & Development Publication Patterns: Author and Article Characteristics From 1994 to 2009 by Bradley T. Erford, Emily M. Miller, Hallie Schein, Allison McDonald, Lisa Ludwig, & Kathleen Leishear
  • Spirituality in Counseling: A Faith Development Perspective by Stephen Parker
  • Key Considerations for Using No-Harm Contracts With Clients Who Self-Injure by Rebecca S. Hyldahl & Brent Richardson

About ACAeNews for School Counselors

ACAeNews for School Counselors is one of four electronic newsletters that are published three times per year each by the American Counseling Association for the benefit of members working in elementary, middle, secondary and adult education settings. It is disseminated as an opt-in subscription enewsletter and is a free benefit of ACA membership.

The other three special focus enewsletters are:

  • ACAeNews for Mental Health, Private Practice and Community Agency Counselors
  • ACAeNews for Counselor Educators
  • ACAeNews for Counseling Students and New Professionals

Any reference to a product, service or activity or listing of a website in this publication does not imply endorsement by ACA. Any views and opinions are those of the sponsoring organization and may or may not be shared by ACA.

Direct comments, questions and submissions to Frank Burtnett. All submissions will be subject to review by ACA for accuracy, timeliness and relevance to the readership and may be edited.

Marcheta P. Evans, President

Richard Yep, CAE, Executive Director

Debra Bass, Director of Marketing and Communications

Frank Burtnett, NCC, NCCC, ACAeNews Editor

Don Kenneally, Internet Development / Production

ACA Website:

Copyright 2010, American Counseling Association, 5999 Stevenson Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304. Telephone: 703-823-9800. Email: Permission is hereby granted to reproduce anything contained in this newsletter as long as the American Counseling Association is identified as the original source of the information.