Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Sandhu, Daya Singh, 1943-

Author's Keywords

School counselor; Social skills curriculum; Achievement gap; Counselor preparation program; Higher education; Guidance and counseling; Educators


Student counselors; Problem youth--Education; Academic achievement


"If this generation of youth is lost, much of the hope for an economically, socially and technologically strong nation will also be lost." - Kuykendall, 1992 When youths become convinced that they will not be able to make it in mainstream America, they tend to take the skills they have and use them to take the low roads of life. Even though all citizens will ultimately be affected by the success or failure of these youths, it is a challenge for educators to provide ways to prepare them to choose the high road as the path for their lives. The 1979 research of Ron Edmonds (Kuykendall, 1992) suggests that, despite the negative influences of home and community, schools can positively impact the achievement of children. An effective educator can give a child hope, and with hope a child can overcome seemingly impossible obstacles. This study focuses on the leaders of the school, and more specifically the counselor, in helping to lead the charge in preparing these students. That is, this study investigates how the school counselor can best be prepared to assist in the travails both within and outside of the classroom in order to improve student outcomes and the school experience for all. The plan is to offer hope for these children in the way of preparing their administrative counselors to offer the social and emotional support that brings about academic achievement. The literature review found much support for the need to address the achievement gap between Students Placed at Risk (SPARS) and further support that the leadership of the school has a great deal of responsibility in closing this gap. Several articles reported that the counselor can heavily influence the achievement of students in a positive direction. School counselors are being encouraged to serve as mentors, personal support systems, and advocates for disadvantaged and minority students within the educational setting. The challenge for our profession is to integrate this new vision into existing school counseling programs. To that end, the study moved in the direction of how best to prepare school counselors to take on that responsibility. Practical implications and research direction for this study were drawn from these conclusions.