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UGA faculty participate in White House conference on counselors

  |   Michael Childs   |   Permalink   |   News Release

More than a dozen University of Georgia faculty and local public school partners were among a 20-member team from Georgia who participated in a White House conference on improving school counseling preparation this week at San Diego State University.

The event focused on how to improve school counseling programs, with the goal of increasing college access for students regardless of income, ZIP code or ethnicity. The conference was held in partnership with the White House's College Opportunity Agenda and the First Lady's Reach Higher Initiative.

The invitation-only meeting November 17-18 gave leaders in K-12 and higher education a chance to meet with advocates and experts to discuss training and professional development practices that would support school counselors.

Pam Paisley, from the UGA College of Education's Department of Counseling and Human Development Services, was asked to bring a team to participate in the meeting based on her previous work in the Transforming School Counseling Initiative (TSCI) in the late 1990s. This national initiative, funded by the DeWitt Wallace Foundation and directed by the Education Trust, was designed to improve the preparation and practice of school counselors.

Paisley spoke at the opening session of the meeting about lessons learned from the Transforming School Counseling Initiative.

The UGA team also included faculty members from the College of Education's school counseling and college student affairs programs: Deryl Bailey, George McMahon, Diane Cooper, and Darris Means; master's student Ashley Holmes; third-year Ph.D. students at UGA Gwinnett and practicing school counselors Brandee Appling and Taryne Mingo; Clarke County School District's lead high school counselor Sam Hicks; Gwinnett County School District's director of counseling and advisement Dianne Thompson; director of the Georgia Advising Corps, a part of UGA's Institute for Higher Education, Yarbrah Peeples; and the Associate Provost for Academic Programs, Meg Amstutz.

The UGA group was part of the larger state of Georgia team including state officials, associational leaders and counselor educators from other institutions.

The conference hosted more than 35 working groups from more than 30 states committed to creating systemic change in the school counseling profession. The conference was expected to result in:

  • Working groups of strategic collaborative partners
  • Finalized strategic action plans
  • Announcements of high-impact partnerships (funders, tools, etc.)
  • Commitments for future opportunities to link successful partnerships with those seeking mentoring to create them
  • Mechanisms to create, consult and contribute action plans, including supporting documents, policies, outcomes and research designed to assist strategic collaborative partners in meeting these goals and outcomes over the next two years and beyond.
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