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The Reflective School Counselor's Guide to Practitioner Research
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The Reflective School Counselor's Guide to Practitioner Research
Skills and Strategies for Successful Inquiry



October 2007 | 128 pages | Corwin
This practical and timely book guides school counselors through the process of conducting practitioner inquiry projects focused on issues of achievement, opportunity inequities, school culture, and community partnerships. Each chapter includes:

- Suggestions for practical application of the material

- Strategies for ensuring success

- An on-going case study related to the chapter's focus

The book aims to help counselors develop research projects not only to improve specific school programs and student outcomes, but to improve the larger school culture.

 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Authors
 
Introduction
School Counselors Collaborating for High Student Achievement

 
School Culture in the Time of School Reform

 
Tips for Using the Book

 
 
1. Launching Inquiry: Developing Your Question
How We Arrived at This Point

 
Moving Into Inquiry

 
Data Sources

 
Thinking About Thinking

 
Formulating Questions

 
Exploring Your Question

 
Strategies for Success

 
Meet Dianne: An Ongoing Case Study

 
 
2. Discovering the Territory: Exploring Others' Expertise
Why Gather Supporting Information?

 
Exploring Others' Expertise

 
Keeping It Simple

 
Components of the Summary

 
Dianne's Journey Begins

 
 
3. Getting It Together: Gathering Your Data
Ethical Considerations

 
What Data Is Needed?

 
Avenues for Gathering Data

 
School Artifacts

 
The Last Tip: How to Navigate Dead Ends

 
Dianne's Hunch Pays Off

 
 
4. Sorting It Out: Making Sense of Your Data
Descriptive Data as a Powerful Tool

 
Ways to Look at Data

 
Dianne Makes Sense of It All

 
 
5. Stepping Up: Sharing What You Now Know
The Fundamentals

 
Know Your Audience

 
Know Your End Product

 
Inquiry Support Groups

 
Routines

 
The Block

 
Deadlines

 
It's All in the Details

 
Dianne Seeks Support From Key People

 
 
6. Building Your Learning Community
Learning Communities

 
Practitioner Inquiry Suport Team

 
Dianne Brings Parents Into the Learning Community

 
 
7. Review and Can-Do: Putting It All Together
Where's Dianne Now?

 
 
References
 
Index

"It is critical that professional school counselors join the ranks of other educators in becoming accountable. This book will help school counselors learn how to use data to both help students better navigate the educational system, and, more importantly, help the school change to better meet the needs of students."

Peggy Hines, Director
National Center for Transforming School Counseling, The Education Trust

"Kudos to Brooks-McNamara and Torres for writing a text about inquiry for aspiring school counselors! Now more than ever, school counselors must be ready and able to participate in determining and documenting how school initiatives, large and small, impact student performance. My students will be thankful to enter the profession ready to ask questions, collect and analyze data, and challenge practices that may not be serving students well."

Chris Jensen, Associate Professor
Seattle University

"This text can help any school counselor develop the observation and analytical skills to become a practitioner-inquirer. However, this book is much more than a collection of research techniques—it is a celebration of what is possible when school counselors pursue answers to their own questions about the students with whom they work. I predict this groundbreaking book will become a classic."

Ruth Shagoury
Author, The Art of Classroom Inquiry

"Provides a much needed resource and guide for those in the midst of school reform. Brooks-McNamara and Torres present an action research framework that enables school counselors to be central in school decision making to improve the learning and community for all students."

Nancy G. Nagel, Associate Dean of Faculty and Professor of Education
Lewis & Clark College

"Provides a practical and valuable tool for all school counseling professionals trying to align their school counseling program with the ASCA standards."

Todd E. Ryan, Director of Guidance & Counseling
Louisa County High School, Mineral, VA

"Offers a means by which school counselor practices can better support and be more clearly aligned with the educational community and greater schoolwide efforts. A very vital and useful publication."

Stephanie A. Bierman, School Counselor
West Lake Elementary School, Apex, NC

"Like the little train that said 'I think I can, I think I can,' this book tells school counselors, 'You can, you can' do research. This book encourages and guides school counselors who have very little time and resources to do research, enabling them to show and tell the differences that result from their programs."

Angie Stansell, School Counselor
Hatton High School, Town Creek, AL

"An excellent outline of skills and strategies for underserved students and their counselors. Chapters provide a framework for gathering data and authenticating results to foster schoolwide change."

The Bookwatch, December 2007
Midwest Book Review

Vicki Brooks-McNamara

Vicki Brooks-McNamara received her Ph.D. in counselor education from the University of Wyoming. She taught all K-12 levels before becoming a school counselor and counselor educator. Under Vicki’s leadership, the school counseling program at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon transformed into a premier program preparing school counselors to be leaders and advocates who are guided by data to facilitate systemic change.Vicki currently is a Senior Consultant with The Education Trust. She coordinates and facilitates district and state-wide school counseling workshops to assist practitioners in essential skill development necessary in... More About Author

Danielle Torres

Danielle Torres earned a B.A. and M.A. from Pepperdine University, and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Oregon. She is currently a faculty member of the School Counseling Program at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Her teaching includes courses in action research, diversity issues in education, and the professional development of school counselors. She has experience as a counselor in schools at all grade levels and with various school-based research projects. Dr. Torres resides in Portland, Oregon. More About Author

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