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Robin Olivier, M.Ed., NCC, NCSC, CHt . Early College Academy. Advocacy. Goals and Expectations of this Presentation:. To be informed . About leadership and advocacy within the state and what is possible when you engage in leadership and advocacy

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robin olivier m ed ncc ncsc cht robin m olivier@hotmail com early college academy
Robin Olivier, M.Ed., NCC, NCSC, CHt.

Early College Academy


goals and expectations of this presentation
Goals and Expectations of this Presentation:
  • To be informed. About leadership and advocacy within the state and what is possible when you engage in leadership and advocacy
  • To reflect.On what it is that you have a burning commitment to. (And what change may be required.)
  • To identify. Ways that school counselors might create, support, sustain relationships with state leadership, directly and indirectly.
  • To inform state leaders/LSCA about your advocacy efforts at the local level and what is needed in order to grow and support such leadership.

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

defining advocacy
Defining Advocacy

Active support of an idea or cause etc.; especially the act of pleading or arguing for something

the school counselor as an advocate

Literature supports the role of the counselor as an advocate for social justice (Bemak & Chung, 2005; Goodman, Liang, Helms, Latta, Sparks, & Weintraub, 2004; Ratts, DeKruyf, & Chen-Hayes, 2007)

  • Advocacy is one of the major themes of the ASCA (2005) National Model
  • The goal of advocacy is to allow for fair and equitable access to resources for marginalized groups (Goodman et al., 2004). Additionally, it is understood that advocacy is needed to foster systemic change, as oppressive conditions inhibit client growth and wellness.
  • Counselors should also advocate for the profession
The School Counselor as An Advocate
aca advocacy competencies
ACA Advocacy Competencies

Advocacy Competencies for counselors (2003), endorsed by the American Counseling Association (ACA), have provided a framework for understanding how advocacy is applied to practice.

common forms of advocacy in school counseling

Researchers have described advocacy as more than one definable activity; there is advocacy for students, the counseling profession, multisystem level social change, addressing discrimination, scholarship activities, and more (Goodman et al., 2004; Trusty & Brown, 2005).

Rank in order which of these forms of advocacy is easiest to hardest for you. Discuss with your neighbor.

Common Forms of Advocacy in School Counseling
our responsibility
Our responsibility

It is our job to advocate for our profession (as we do for our students); to promote, explain, and clarify, and to defend if necessary the role of the professional school counselor in todays’ educational system.

necessary skills for advocacy
Necessary Skills for advocacy
  • Good communication
  • Collaboration
  • Problem-assessment
  • Problem-solving
  • Organization
  • Self-Care

(Brown & Trusty, 2005)

other skills attributes

(1) An appreciation for human suffering

(2) Nonverbal and verbal communication skills

(3) Maintenance of a multi-systems perspective

(4) Individual, group, and organizational interventions

(5) Knowledge and use of media, technology, and the Internet

(6) Assessment and research skills

(Kiselica & Robinson, 2001)

Other Skills/Attributes

ASCA – Advocacy and Public Policy Institute (APPI)

Amanda Fitzgerald, ASCA Director of Public

state level policy and legislation

1. Know the legislative process

2. Know the schedule

3. Know your lawmakers

4. Communicate with your legislator (visits, phone call, letters and email)

5. Legislative Tours and/or Legislative Day

State Level : Policy and legislation

1. Know the legislative process

How a bill is passed

2. Know the schedule

Even numbered years – noon on the last Monday of March

Odd numbered Years – noon last day of April

the legislative process
The Legislative Process
  • How a bill becomes a law
  • Bill is drafted
  • Committee
  • First Reading/Second Rdg/Third Rdg
  • In the other body (same process/readings)
  • Conference
  • Signed into law – when is law enacted?
3 know your lawmaker

What senate district you live in? Who is your state senator? What committees does he/she serve on? How many committees in the senate?

What representative district do you live in? Who is your representative? What committees does he/she serve on? How many committees in the house?

3. Know your lawmaker
3 know your lawmaker1

What makes them tick? What are their “causes”?

When is re-election

They love good press

Do you know your BESE member?

3. Know your lawmaker
know your lawmakers
Know Your lawmakers

“The time to make friends is before you need them.”

-Lyndon Baines Johnson

4 communication visits
4. Communication: Visits
  • Make appointments in advance (you may meet w/a staffer)
  • Do your homework, prepare fact sheet, etc
  • Practice our presentation
  • Be on time and be brief
  • State the purpose of your visit
  • Present the arguments & opinions for your position
  • Distribute position papers, fact sheets, & other relevant documents.
4 communication visits1
4. Communication: Visits
  • Stress the impact of legislation, regulations, etc.
  • Listen to opinions & concerns presented by those visited. (Know the opposition)
  • Seek support, assistance, sponsorship of legislation and other action by the official.
  • Answer questions, Use your expertise, Share success stories
  • Summarize your concerns, arguments & offer personal assistance. Thank you
  • Follow up letter and /or provide requested information.
meet newly elected congress
Meet Newly Elected Congress
  • Welcome & congratulate newly elected lawmakers after each election
  • Do some research and find out who has ties to school counseling or education
  • Make new lawmakers familiar with your school counseling program
invite your legislators to school
Invite your Legislators to School
  • Establish contact/maintain contact with legislators well before the session begins.
  • Invite to special programs: career days, college fairs, arena scheduling, classroom guidance lessons, etc.
  • Educate you legislator about your role as a school counselor (Fact Sheet).
4 communication telephone calls

Be prepared, have your message written in front of you

Keep message simple & concise. Ask for specific action or message about position.

Number of calls count

Send a follow up letter with additional info (use personal or school letterhead), but be brief.

4. Communication: Telephone calls
4 communication letter email

Avoid form letters/ personal or school letterhead

Identify yourself and your reason for writing

Be brief and Stick to one issue

Refer to legislation by its bill number or title

Be specific, make it clear what you want him/her to do.

Tell again why the issue is important to you and implications for the community

Offer to be a resource if more information is needed

Request a response

Keep copy of letter

4. Communication: letter/email
how to address letter

The Honorable John Doe

State Senate/State Representative

P.O. Box 94183

Baton Rouge, LA 70804-4183

How to address letter
district level policy and issues
district Level : Policy and Issues
  • Meet with your principal
  • Local school board presentation
school level
School Level
  • The school counseling program should be on the PTA agenda once annually.
  • Back-to-school time, NSCW, Spring testing.
  • Prepare a hand out (fact sheet) or presentation for parent organization
  • Information table in highly visible place
grass roots
Grass Roots
  • Most effective way to create change
  • Organizing people at the ground level to be heard
  • Crucial in local, state & federal advocacy efforts
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has .

--Margaret Mead

fact sheet
Fact Sheet
  • Statement of purpose
  • Organize the information for impact
  • Use a series of points to make your case
  • Keep the text brief
  • Strive for a polished, professional appearance
  • Distribute your fact sheet widely
fact sheet data
Fact Sheet: Data
  • We must begin to show hard evidence of how we make a difference in students academic performance.
  • Provide snapshots of the students, school, community, state
  • Reveal access or equity issues
  • Challenge existing behavior, programs & policies
network network network
Network, Network, Network
  • Collaborate with all stakeholders
  • Present at their meetings
  • Explain how your issues will benefit them and your students
  • Ask to post your information on their website
build coalitions
Build Coalitions
  • Local school boards
  • State Department of Education
  • State School Board
  • Principals Association
  • State Superintendents
  • PTA’s
  • Education Associations
  • Post Secondary Institutions
follow up follow up follow up
Follow up, Follow up, Follow up….
  • Send thank you cards
  • Emails
  • Follow up calls
  • Send additional information requested
  • Keep members informed about bill progress
repeat the process
Repeat the process…
  • Stay focused
  • Stay positive
  • Keep the same faces before legislators/decision makers
  • Don’t give up
  • It will happen
advocacy consequences
ADVOCACY Consequences

Potential Rewards:

  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Personal Growth
  • Positive Systems Change
  • Promoting Social Justice

Potential Risks:

  • Being Viewed as a Troublemaker
  • Feeling Emotionally Exhausted
  • Possibly Jeopardizing Employment
  • Being Ostracized by Colleagues
a final thought

Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could be…we must become the change we want to see…We are the leaders we have been waiting for.”

--Mahatma Ghandi

A final Thought
useful website
Useful website
  • Louisiana Legislature
  • ASCA website
  • LSCA Website
  • DOE website