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Informing principals: the impact of different types of information on principals' perceptions of professional school counselors.

The study in this article provided principals with different types of information about professional school counseling and examined the impact on their perceptions. Results demonstrated that information about the ASCA National Model[R] influenced principals' perceptions of the amount of time counselors should allocate to delivery of the guidance curriculum, system support, and responsive services, as well as ratings of the importance of performing inappropriate tasks in meeting the education mission of the school.

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Role confusion has been a problem in the school counseling profession from its inception (Gysbers, 2001; Leuwerke, Bruinekool, & Lane, 2008). Differences between school counselors and principals regarding the appropriate roles and duties of school counselors contribute to this confusion (Kaplan, 1995; Perusse, Goodnough, Donegan, & Jones, 2004). Recent professional initiatives have led to a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the counselor. With the development of the ASCA National Model[R] (American School Counselor Association, 2005), a consistent vision for the appropriate role of school counselors has been articulated within a comprehensive, developmental school counseling program. Another important trend within the profession is increased attention to accountability of school counselors (Carey, Dimmitt, Hatch, Lapan, & Whiston, 2008; Studer, Oberman, & Womack, 2006) and an emphasis on using data to demonstrate how students are different as a result of counselors' interventions (Paisley & McMahon, 2001; Whiston, 2002).

These advances in the profession are encouraging as together they empower professional school counselors to reorganize or develop a comprehensive, developmental school counseling program and to demonstrate positive student outcomes. For the school counselor and the counseling program to be successful, it is crucial that counselors have a positive and supportive relationship with principals. The development of this relationship requires that principals and school counselors have a shared understanding of the appropriate roles and activities that the counselor should perform.

PRINCIPALS' PERCEPTIONS: INAPPROPRIATE ACTIVITIES, TIME, ROLES

In delegating administrative tasks to school counselors, building principals frequently request that counselors perform responsibilities not aligned to the standards developed by ASCA and for which counselors have not been trained to perform. Some of these tasks are clerical or administrative in nature such as developing master schedules, keeping student records, disseminating tests, coordinating special services, administering student discipline, or supervising the lunchroom and playground. A number of interesting studies have recently examined the perceptions of principals and counselors regarding counselors' specific activities, professional roles, and use of time. Similar patterns have emerged regarding principals' perceptions of inappropriate counselor activities (ASCA, 2005). Kirchner and Setchfield (2005) compared principals' and school counselors' perceptions and found that principals more frequently identified registration, testing, discipline, record keeping, and working with the special education program as significant counselor tasks. Examining the perceptions of pre-professional principals with similar tasks, Fitch, Newby, Ballestero, and Marshall (2001) observed that over 50% of participants rated registration, testing, record keeping, and assisting with special education as significant or highly significant counselor tasks. Discipline was similarly rated as significant by 27.9% of respondents.

In a related study, Perusse et al. (2004) surveyed elementary and secondary principals and found that elementary principals indicated counselors should perform test administration, record keeping, and additional duties in the principal's office. Over 80% of the secondary principals endorsed registration, test administration, and maintenance of student records as appropriate counselor tasks. Finally, Monteiro-Leitner, Asner-Self, Milde, Leitner, and Skelton (2006) surveyed principals, counselors, and pre-professional counselors regarding perceptions of school counselors' use of time. Compared to counselors, principals endorsed more time for working with individual education plans, organizing testing, and performing bus, lunch, or recess duty. Principals wanted counselors to spend less time providing individual counseling to students and less time receiving training to improve in their own professional role.

Principals acknowledge the positive school contributions made by counselors (Zalaquett, 2005), but they frequently interpret the counselor's role as that of an administrative assistant or helper/advocate of children (Ponec & Brock, 2000; Remley & Albright, 1988). Several research studies have recently highlighted the perception discrepancy and ambiguity of the role and status of the counselor. In a study seeking clarification of the school counselor's role, Zalaquett surveyed 500 elementary principals to identify the counselor's role relative to the amount of time spent on tasks. Principals favored individual and small group counseling, guidance, and consulting with parents as activities in which counselors would spend an ideal amount of time. However, principals rated coordination of intervention meetings as the task on which counselors actually spent the most time. This finding suggests that regardless of the principals' perceptions of the counselor's role, what counselors really do is quite different. Finally, a qualitative study of 26 principals by Amatea and Clark (2005) revealed that most viewed the school counselor's role as either a consultant or direct service provider while a quarter of the respondents saw the counselor as part of the administrative team. Only 3 of the participants endorsed a school leadership model consistent with the ASCA National Model.

The majority of research demonstrates discrepancies between professional school counselors' roles according to ASCA and principals' perceptions and endorsement of appropriate activities. These perceptual differences relative to appropriate tasks, time spent on tasks, and the role of the counselor have critical implications for the principal-counselor relationship and student educational outcomes.

COUNSELOR-PRINCIPAL RELATIONSHIP

Building principals clearly have a major influence on the environment of schools including the work of school counselors (Beale, 1995). The professional school counselor's relationship with his or her principal is critical because of the principal's role as leader within the building (Perusse et al., 2004). Because the principal is the person who hires staff, assigns lunch, bus, and recess duty, determines job expectations, supervises test administration and schedules, and currently shapes the direction for programming (Coy, 1999; Dollarhide, Smith, & Lemberger, 2007; Ribak-Rosenthal, 1994; Zalaquett, 2005), the effectiveness of a school counseling program is determined largely by the building leader (Ponec & Brock, 2000). Yet principals often do not readily understand the counselor's role (Kaplan & Evans, 1999) or potential impact as a leader within the school (Devoss & Andrews, 2006; McGlothlin & Miller, 2008; Stone & Clark, 2001).

The counselor-principal relationship is impacted by the tremendous number of mandates and school reform initiatives focusing on accountability, student achievement, and equity. Furthermore, principals face declining budgets, increasing instructional and managerial regulations, and complex, time-consuming legal issues, all while balancing daily emergencies. Because many principals operate without additional administrative personnel, the added pressures of the job force school leaders to delegate responsibilities to other staff members including professional school counselors. Ultimately, principals often push administrative duties on to counselors when they become overwhelmed (Ribak-Rosenthal 1994; Zalaquett, 2005), giving counselors responsibilities that are inconsistent with their training (McGlothlin & Miller, 2008).

Given the reality in many schools, counselors and principals must seek to develop and maintain a positive and trusting relationship built on open dialogue (Stone & Clark, 2001). When the school counselor is called upon to assume duties that are inappropriate and inconsistent with the mission of the counseling program, the program and the counselor are devalued (Ross & Herrington, 2005). The effectiveness of the coordinated efforts of the school counselor and the school principal is a decisive factor for school reform (Kaplan, 1995).

Professional school counselors find their jobs difficult when there is a lack of support from the principal (Morgan, 1990). Shoffner and Williamson (2000) stated that because of different philosophies and lack of coordination between education administration and school counseling graduate training programs, neither the counselor nor the principal understands the other's role or perspective. In their investigation of perceptions of the counselor's role, Ross and Herrington (2005) found that counselor education students viewed school counseling as a professional role with specific duties and responsibilities, while pre-professional principals viewed counselors as staff members completing duties at the request of the principal. In a qualitative study examining the relationship between counselors and principals, Dollarhide et al. (2007) noted that one of the identified themes centered on principals' lack of training on appropriate roles of school counselors. Increased efforts to communicate professional school counselors' appropriate roles and responsibilities should have a positive impact on counselors' connection with their building leader.

Research specifically examining the principal-counselor relationship has identified a number of factors that encourage a positive, supportive relationship. Dollarhide et al. (2007) found that principals value counselors who are able to solve problems, advocate on behalf of students, and can effect change in the school. Additionally, counselors' actions that highlight their impact on student outcomes engender positive reactions from principals. Ponec and Brock (2000) demonstrated that the counselor-principal relationship is strengthened by a clear definition of the counselor's role, building of trust and effective communication methods, and an active effort to maintain the relationship. Finally, counselors who are supported by the principal are able to more effectively implement programs (Mayer, Butterworth, Komoto, & Benoit, 1983).

The roles of principals and counselors should build upon each other as "natural partners" based on knowledge and trust for the job that each professional performs (Zalaquett, 2005, p. 456), complementing one another in the service of students and ultimately increasing student achievement (Niebuhr, Niebuhr, & Cleveland, 1999). When professional school counselors feel adequately supported and are assigned appropriate duties they report increased career satisfaction and commitment (Baggerly & Osborn, 2006). Counselors and principals would be well served by improving their relationship, and one of the first steps is to inform principals about the roles and responsibilities that counselors are trained for and prepared to perform.

RESEARCH STUDY: PURPOSE AND HYPOTHESES

Purpose

Research has generally demonstrated a disconnect between principals' perceptions of school counselors' roles and the amount of time school counselors actually devote to different tasks. Building upon this research base, our goal was to examine principals' exposure to the ASCA National Model and to explore the impact of different information sets on principals' perceptions of school counselors. The influence of different types of information on the principals' perceptions was central to this study and will serve to inform principals and to improve counselor-principal relationships.

Hypotheses

The present investigation sought to examine three specific hypotheses:

1. Principals have not been extensively exposed to the ASCA National Model.

2. Principals who are provided a brief information session about the ASCA National Model, school counseling outcome research, or both information sets will support counselor time allocations more consistent with the ASCA National Model compared to those not exposed to a brief information session.

3. Principals who are provided a brief information session about the ASCA National Model, school counseling outcome research, or both information sets will rate appropriate school counselor activities as more important and inappropriate tasks as less important compared to principals not exposed to a brief information session.

METHOD

Participants

A total of 1,415 practicing school principals in the state of Iowa were solicited to participate in this research study. Principal names and e-mail addresses were obtained from the Iowa Department of Education (2007) online district directory. A total of 337 principals completed the survey, resulting in a response rate of 23.8%, within the range (21.6-72%) reported by Sheehan (2001) for response rates to online and e-mail surveys. The sample included 127 women (37.8%) and 209 men (62%), with 1 participant not indicating gender. The principals in the sample were predominantly Euro-American (329, 97.6%), with 4 African Americans (1.2%), 2 Asian Americans (0.6%), 1 Hispanic (0.3%), and 1 Native American (0.3%). The number of years of working as a principal ranged from 1 to 40 years (M = 11.30, SD = 7.986).

The sample included 152 (45.1%) elementary, 48 (14.2%) middle school, 93 (27.6%) high school, and 11 (3.3%) K-12 principals. Fifteen participants (4.5%) indicated "other" as the type of building they worked in, and 18 (5.3%) did not respond to this item. Eighty-four principals (24.9%) worked in a school with fewer than 250 students, 121 (35.9%) with 251-399 students, 78 (23.1%) with 400-599 students, 31 (9.2%) with 600-999 students, and 23 (6.8%) with more than 1,000 students. Participants generally had a positive view of counselors' performance with a mean rating of 3.84 (SD = 1.019 on a 5-point scale (1 = poor; 5 = outstanding).

Information Conditions

An online survey administration program (VoVici, www.vovici.com) was used to design and administer the survey. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four information groups and e-mailed a survey invitation with an appropriate link to one of the information sets. The information sets included (a) the ASCA National Model composed of 12 screens describing an overview of the model, appropriate and inappropriate tasks, and recommended time allocations; (b) summary of recent research including 14 screens describing major findings of school counseling outcome research, much of which can be found at the Center for School Counseling Outcome Research Web site (www.umass.edu/schoolcounseling); (c) 26 screens combining both the ASCA National Model and outcome research; and (d) a no-information group that served as a control group.

The 337 participants were distributed across the four information sets as follows: ASCA National Model, n = 78; outcome research, n = 92; model and research, n = 76; and no information, n = 91. The ASCA National Model information set included an overview of the four model components (foundation, delivery system, management system, and accountability); a detailed description of the four delivery systems; recommended time allocations for elementary, middle, and high school counselors; and an outline of appropriate and inappropriate tasks. The summary of outcome research described research findings that demonstrated how students have been positively impacted by school counselor interventions. The research descriptions included positive outcomes for dropout prevention, group counseling, implementation of a comprehensive developmental guidance program, classroom guidance programs, career interventions, and individual counseling. After completing the demographics questionnaire, participants were given information about school counseling and asked to respond to the perceptions survey. Participants randomly assigned to the control group completed the demographics questions immediately followed by the perceptions survey.

Instruments

Demographic questionnaire. Participants provided information about gender, race/ethnicity, number of years as principal, grades supervised, building enrollment, number of counselors supervised, rating of counselor performance, awareness of the ASCA National Model, and how they had been exposed to the model.

Principals' perceptions of school counselor survey. Participants' perceptions of school counselors' tasks and percentage of time on different delivery mechanisms were assessed in the perceptions survey adapted for this research. The perceptions survey included 22 roles or activities performed by school counselors (e.g., group counseling, classroom guidance, managing school counseling program). Items were selected from an extensive list of 68 roles and activities identified in a previous examination of counselor activities (Leuwerke et al., 2008) and a study of counseling activities performed by Chinese homeroom teachers (Shi & Leuwerke, 2008). The shorter list of items was selected to reduce the amount of time required for participation to increase the likelihood of participation. Items included in the ASCA (2005) list of appropriate activities (e.g., interpreting students' standardized test scores) and inappropriate activities (e.g., administering standardized tests) were included in the survey. Participants rated the importance of school counselors performing each activity in meeting the mission of their school on a Likert scale (1 = not at all important; 5 = critically important). The perceptions survey included 12 appropriate and 10 inappropriate items. Internal consistency analysis for the 22 perception items using Cronbach's alpha was [alpha] = .82. Alpha for the 12 appropriate items was [alpha] = .78 and for the 10 inappropriate items it was [alpha] = .76.

As part of the perceptions survey, participants estimated the percentage of time that school counselors should devote to each of the four delivery systems outlined in the ASCA National Model as well as the percentage of time devoted to other tasks (e.g., registering students, monitoring lunch or study hall, substitute teaching). "Other tasks" was included as a delivery mechanism as research has demonstrated that professional school counselors spend a substantial amount of time on non-guidance activities (Burnham & Jackson, 2000; Leuwerke et al., 2008).

Analysis

The impact of information on principals' perception of school counseling was explored through two sets of analysis of variance. The analyses of percentage of time for each delivery mechanism and ratings of appropriate and inappropriate tasks were examined by the type of information participants were provided. Planned comparisons analyzed the impact of each information type to the control group, for both the amount of time on each delivery mechanism (hypothesis 2) and importance ratings of appropriate and inappropriate roles (hypothesis 3).

RESULTS

ASCA National Model Exposure

Over half of all participants (51.3%) reported no exposure to the ASCA National Model, which strongly supported the first hypothesis that principals have not been exposed to the model. The remaining participants reported very little exposure (20.2%), some exposure (24.6%), a great deal of exposure (3%), and extensive exposure (0.6%; 2 participants) to the ASCA National Model. Participants who reported exposure were asked how they became familiar with the model. Seventy-three principals reported discussing the model with a professional school counselor, while 43 respondents learned of the model at a conference or meeting, 18 learned through continuing education, and 6 principals reported exposure through their pre-service training. Although exposure to the ASCA National Model is quite limited in this sample, the predominant mechanism of exposure was through contact with a school counselor.

Time Allocations

The second hypothesis examined the impact of different types of information about professional school counseling on principals' perceptions of how counselors should allocate their time across delivery mechanisms. We first examined the effect of information type on principals' recommended time allocations. An analysis of variance was conducted to determine if information type impacted principals' recommended time allocations. Planned comparisons also were computed to examine the impact of each information type compared to no information. The results demonstrated that providing information about school counseling impacted the amount of time principals thought counselors should devote to delivery of the guidance curriculum, responsive services, and system support.

Table 1 displays the mean percentage of time and significant differences in principals' recommendations for each delivery mechanism across the four information conditions. As can be seen in the table, principals who were exposed to a brief information set about the ASCA National Model allocated significantly more time to delivery of the guidance curriculum compared to those in the control group (no information set), F(3,323) = 4.77, p < .05. Principals exposed to any of the information sets allocated significantly less time to responsive services than those in the control group, F(3,323) = 7.96, p = .01. Principals who learned about the ASCA National Model also allocated significantly more time to system support activities compared to those in the control group, F(3,323) = 4.72, p = .08.

In addition to examining the impact of information type on allocations, the analysis sought to compare these time recommendations to the guidelines set forth in the ASCA National Model. Given the final sample size, it was not practical to divide each information group by grade level for direct comparisons with the ASCA National Model. To address the hypothesis with available data, we determined mean time allocations across grade level. For instance, on average, elementary, middle, and high school counselors should spend about 30% of their time in delivery of guidance and about 14.16% of their time in system support. Participants exposed to the ASCA National Model made allocations that nearly matched these averages (29.23% for guidance curriculum, 14.34% for system support). The similarity of these time allocations and the significant difference between the ASCA National Model and control conditions suggests that exposure to the model may be particularly informative. Conversely, mean ratings for responsive services were all lower than the combined average recommendations--33.33% from ASCA. These findings should be considered tentative and studied more directly with a larger sample.

The principals' recommended time allocations across delivery mechanisms were impacted by the type of information presented. Description of the ASCA National Model had the greatest impact on principals' perceptions, while exposure to any type of information about school counseling impacted ratings of time for responsive services. No significant differences were found across individual student planning or time on other activities based on exposure to information about professional school counseling. Finally, because there were some similarities in principals' time allocations when compared to averages of recommendations in the ASCA National Model, future research is warranted to more explicitly study how information presentation impacts perceptions on this particular aspect of the practice of professional school counseling.

Appropriateness Ratings

Examination of ratings of appropriate and inappropriate tasks demonstrated partial support for the third hypothesis. Overall, principals thought that appropriate tasks were much more important to the mission of their school than inappropriate tasks. The mean rating for the 12 appropriate tasks was 3.99 (SD = 0.49), which was significantly higher than the mean rating for the 10 inappropriate tasks, 2.66 (SD = 0.64), t(334) = 149.16, p < .001. Analysis of variance examined the impact of information type on ratings of appropriate and inappropriate tasks. No significant differences for ratings of appropriate tasks were found based on type of information presented. It is possible that this is due to ceiling effects as the mean rating for appropriate tasks was 3.99 on a 5-point scale. Principals in this study viewed appropriate tasks as important to their school's mission and it is possible that the information presented could not raise these ratings.

There was, however, a significant impact on importance ratings for inappropriate tasks based on the type of information presented, F(3,323) = 4.46, p = .01. The planned comparison of information type found that principals exposed to the ASCA National Model data set (M = 2.52, SD = .58) or those exposed to the combined data set of outcome research and the model (M = 2.54, SD = .64) each had lower ratings for inappropriate tasks than did the control group (M = 2.73, SD = .67), t(331) = 2.38, p < .018. Again, a brief information session about the ASCA National Model was found to impact principals' perceptions of school counseling when compared to a control group, specifically impacting principals' perceptions of the importance of inappropriate counselor roles.

DISCUSSION

This study examined the differences in principals' perceptions regarding school counselors' roles and the amount of time devoted to delivery of the school counseling program when respondents were provided different types of information about professional school counseling. Although participants reported relatively little exposure to the ASCA National Model, brief exposure to information about school counseling, specifically the ASCA National Model, did impact several aspects of principals' perceptions of school counseling. The effect of information on principals' perceptions is particularly interesting given the method of information delivery. Information was presented in a short, non-dynamic, passive fashion and yet demonstrated some impact on perceptions. These findings indicated that even brief information sessions can impact principal perceptions, which should be encouraging to counselors, counselor educators, and professional organizations.

Principals' exposure to the ASCA National Model was limited, with over 70% reporting little or no exposure to the model. Among those familiar with the model, contact with a school counselor was the most common mechanism for exposure, suggesting that school counselors will be the greatest resource for informing principals about the ASCA National Model. Only 6 principals reported exposure to the ASCA National Model during pre-service training. Given the relatively recent publication of the model and the average number of years as a principal among participants, this is not a surprising finding. However, it does suggest that much greater effort could be expended to integrate the ASCA National Model into educational leadership training programs (Fitch et al., 2001). This finding is consistent with Dollarhide et al.'s (2007) conclusion that principals are not systematically exposed to information about roles, responsibilities, or missions of school counseling programs, either in or after graduate school.

Exposure to different types of information about professional school counseling was found to impact principals' recommendations of how counselors should spend their time. Information about the ASCA National Model had the greatest impact on these time allocations, specifically impacting time recommendations for delivery of the guidance curriculum, system support, and responsive services. Further, comparison of principals' allocations with average allocations from the ASCA National Model suggested that model exposure resulted in more consistent time allocations for guidance and system support with less time for responsive services. This tentative finding deserves further investigation as we were unable to directly compare time allocations across different grade levels due to the size of the sample.

An interesting aspect of the time allocations results is that overall the time allocations across information conditions and the control condition were not dramatically different from the ASCA National Model. This is noteworthy given previous research that has documented substantial discrepancies between principal and counselors' ratings of time on task (Monteiro-Leitner et al., 2006; Perusse et al., 2004). The principals in this investigation demonstrated fairly progressive views of counselor time allocations. This aspect may be the result of who chose to respond to the survey. Alternatively, as more counselors work from the ASCA National Model, principals may be starting to understand how counselors should be spending their time across delivery mechanisms, although the principals in this sample acknowledged very little knowledge about the model itself. Taken together, the demonstration of significant differences in time allocations following a brief information presentation is an important finding in that it demonstrates that principals' perceptions are impacted by accurate, concise information about the profession, particularly the ASCA National Model. Professional school counselors are encouraged to expand the dialogue with their principal to include the ASCA National Model as a mechanism to discuss how time is devoted to the delivery of a comprehensive, developmental school counseling program.

Research has demonstrated that principals and principals-in-training view test administration, record keeping, and covering overflow from the principal's office as important tasks for school counselors to perform (Fitch et al., 2001; Kirchner & Setchfield, 2005; Perusse et al., 2004). Information about the ASCA National Model was found to impact principals' perceptions of the importance of these inappropriate tasks in meeting the educational mission of the school. The presentation of the AS CA National Model alone or in conjunction with information about outcome research resulted in principals rating inappropriate tasks as less important compared to principals who did not have this information. School counselors are encouraged to inform their principals about the ASCA National Model. Counselors may be able to use the model as a framework for discussion of the counselors' current responsibility for inappropriate activities and attempt to find a way to reduce or reassign these responsibilities and consequently increase time to directly interact with students and perform more appropriate tasks (Leuwerke et al., 2008).

It is also important to note that information about school counseling outcome research impacted time allocation recommendations for responsive services but had no other impact on principals' perceptions. This finding is particularly interesting given the emphasis on use of data and accountability in schools (Bernhardt, 2004; Blink, 2007; Creighton, 2006). While general outcome research had less impact on principals' perceptions, it is possible that locally generated research may be more impressive to principals and other education leaders (i.e., superintendents, school board members). Professional school counselors are encouraged to continue efforts to use data to demonstrate accountability (Whiston, 2002) and document how their efforts are having a positive impact on students' educational outcomes.

Implications for School Counselors

Professional school counselors will continue to be the strongest advocates for their profession and for the academic, social, and career development needs of students (Gysbers & Henderson, 2006). Counselors are encouraged to develop routine, regular communication with principals using multiple resources to better inform principals about the appropriate roles and activities for counselors (Fitch et al., 2001; Zalaquett, 2005). Our research findings demonstrated that a brief, non-dynamic information set can impact principals' view of how counselors should spend their time and decrease their view of the importance of inappropriate tasks. Consistent communication, focusing on the ASCA National Model and emphasizing outcome-oriented information, should greatly enhance the counselor's relationship with the principal.

ASCA has numerous resources available on the Web, including a resource center for members to obtain information and tools for advocacy. Many state organizations also have resources available. The Iowa Department of Education (2008) recently published a 14-page information booklet on the state model of school counseling and the ASCA National Model. Resources that are brief yet informative, particularly about the ASCA National Model, should have the greatest impact on principals' views of professional school counseling. Informing principals and changing negative or erroneous perceptions is likely a first step toward counselors' goal of building a comprehensive, developmental school counseling program that aligns with the ASCA National Model.

Limitations and Future Research

There are a number of limitations in this research. The data sample includes principals from a single state. Because different states may have stronger or weaker mechanisms for informing principals about the ASCA National Model, replication of this study in different parts of the country or with a national sample would provide interesting expansion of this research. There was also limited diversity in the sample, which limits generalization to other areas of the country. Additionally, the response rate, although within the range for online research, was lower than desired. The resulting sample size did not allow for examination of principals' perceptions by grade level. Within the examination of principals' time allocations, we averaged recommended times from the ASCA National Model to illustrate similarities based on exposure to the ASCA National Model information set. A larger sample that includes more principals from each grade level exposed to the different information sets would allow for more specific examination of how knowledge may be informative to principals. It is possible that principals at different levels would respond dissimilarly to varied types of information. For instance, elementary principals may be more interested in the amount of time spent on the delivery of the guidance curriculum and research indicating its influence on student behavior and performance. Finally, information on general school counseling outcome research was less powerful in this investigation and warrants further investigation into the impact of locally conducted outcome research on principals' perceptions and decision making regarding the entire school counseling program.

Another avenue of informative research would be to more closely examine the relationship between counselors and principals. Qualitative investigation of the practices and communication patterns among outstanding professional school counselors and principals may provide insight into the characteristics and behaviors that foster a strong working relationship. Increased education of future principals about school counseling at the pre-professional level also could prove to be beneficial in fostering a collaborative relationship among counselors and principals. Training sessions could be developed and evaluated to examine the most effective mechanism to inform principals about the profession and how school counselors can serve as leaders in the school. Taken together, our findings offer insight into how professional school counselors can communicate with principals to inform perceptions of the profession and strive to build comprehensive, developmental counseling programs consistent with the ASCA National Model.

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Wade C. Leuwerke is an associate professor in counselor education, Janice Walker is an associate professor in educational leadership, and Qi Shi is a graduate research assistant, all with Drake University, Des Moines, IA. E-mail: wade.leuwerke@ drake.edu
Table 1. Principals' Suggestions for Percentage of Counselors' Time
in Delivery Areas

                        ASCA                 Model
                      National   Outcome      and          No
                       Model     Research   Research   Information

Guidance curriculum   29.23 *    25.41      25.82        24.04 *
Individual student    16.78      19.16      17.34        17.18
  planning
Responsive services   27.58 *    31.68 *    31.16 *      34.69 *
System support        14.34 *    11.57      13.34        11.78 *
Other                 11.37      11.02      10.85         9.38

* p < .05.
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Author:Leuwerke, Wade C.; Walker, Janice; Shi, Qi
Publication:Professional School Counseling
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Date:Apr 1, 2009
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