The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Guidance and Placement Services Section has partnered with the Missouri School Counselor Association (MSCA) on a statewide mentoring program for school counselors who are new to the profession and for those who have been out of the profession for an extended period of time. This program, which is based on the current Missouri Career Education Mentoring Program for CTE teachers, has been tailored to meet the unique needs of school counselors. Our charge in this program is to support both the “protégé” (new/returning counselor) and the mentor in creating a professional learning community. This program offers an opportunity for some of Missouri's most talented counselors to share their experiences and knowledge to enhance the counseling year for a new or returning counselor.
The program has three major goals. The program’s first goal is to offer a professional development opportunity to new and returning counselors along with mentors that encourage skill development, collaboration and reflection. A second goal is to become familiar with the responsibilities and administrative culture that are inherent in a comprehensive guidance program. The third goal is to support new and returning counselors in their work with students and to build a cohort group of new and returning educators in the Division of Career Education and in particular in the area of school counseling.
To reach these goals, we have developed a mentoring notebook to guide the mentors and protégés through the mentoring process. The mentoring notebook, offers support materials and ideas for the mentoring process. It includes decision points on whom and how mentors and protégés are going to be in contact with each other. It includes an individual mentoring plan which outlines the yearly activities. It also includes possible ideas for topics during their meetings. It has the structured experiences identified and has an evaluation piece so there can be feedback on how the year is going.
The program has a very unique format in how it is administered. Briefly, MSCA is divided into regional districts and each of the MSCA districts has appointed a district mentor chair, who is in charge of the mentoring program for that district. This district mentor chair, with DESE’s assistance, will find and train mentors for Missouri’s beginning school counselors, and for school counselors who have been away from the field for some time.
Missouri is fortunate in that the state has a strong and very positive working relationship between the state department, the Missouri School Counselor Association, and counselor educators throughout the state. Through our work together we strive to put into every school a strong, fully implemented comprehensive guidance program that is student centered and focused on helping every student (and counselor) achieve their goals and dreams.
For any further inquiries, please contact Bragg Stanley at the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, P.O. Box 480, Jefferson City, MO 65102, call 573-751-4383, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org