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ERIC Number: ED539358
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 250
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2671-7676-9
The Role of Professional School Counselors in Working with Students in Gangs: A Grounded Theory Study
Barrow, Jennifer Cahoon
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, North Carolina State University
The purpose of this study was to propose a grounded theory that contributed to the understanding of the professional school counselor's role at the secondary school level in working with students in gangs. The study explored the role of the professional school counselor from the first person perspective of the professional school counselor and school based leaders, defined as assistant principals and principals. Additionally, two district level school leaders were interviewed to gain access to the perspective of key informants on the role of school counselors and students in gangs in this school district. The professional school counselor sample consisted of four females and one male who identified their cultural group as Caucasian/White (n=4) and African-American (n=1). The school leader sample consisted of seven males with highest level of education ranging from bachelor to doctoral degrees. Six of the seven identified their cultural group as Caucasian/White (n=6) and one of the seven identified their cultural group as African- American (n=1). This qualitative study utilized the coding and thematic data analysis method presented by Corbin and Strauss (2008), and Strauss and Corbin (1998, 1990). Data analysis consisted of a triangulation process combined with the interview, reflective journal, and training and policy manual reviews to discover the following categories: training/education, role development factors, stakeholders in role development, collaboration, and PSCs as practitioners within school context. Results and implications for practice were based on the categories that emerged through the data analysis process. While numerous research based publications have devoted attention to school violence, little had been written on the leadership and preventive role professional school counselors may play in working with students in gangs. The professional literature was rich with data on the stages of professional development and perceived and actual role of professional school counselors but was lacking on the impact of specific student populations on the professional development and role of the professional school counselor. This study explored their role, attitudes, skills, knowledge, professional training, and barriers to their work with students in gangs in the secondary school setting. The American School Counselor Association's (ASCA) National Standards present an ideal framework for the role of the secondary school counselor. The National Standards suggest professional school counselors should provide programming designed to engage students through three domains of practice (i.e., personal/social, academic, and career development). Data from the school counselor sample revealed a lack of attention to the personal/social and career development needs of all students, including those students in gangs. Non-compliance with the National Standards was based on the school leader's perception of the secondary school counselor role (i.e., academic counselor), expanding professional role, and excessive case loads. Finally, while the National Standards focus on the three domains of practice, the National Model seemingly focuses on academic intervention. Data from the school counselor sample revealed their work with the National Model was designed to address the academic needs of students in accordance with school leader directives. A focus on academic initiatives left all students, including students in gangs, without access to a comprehensive school counseling program designed to also address their personal/social and career development needs. The findings expanded the existing research on the general role of the school counselor into an examination of the role as it relates to students in gangs and the use of ASCA's National Standards and National Model to guide the role and work of the secondary school counselor through the development of a comprehensive school counseling program. Revealing the need for training, collaboration, and counseling based intervention strategies for students in gangs appears to be a significant new finding. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A