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Fostering educational resilience and achievement in urban schools through school-family-community partnerships.

In this era of education reform, school counselors are among educators being held accountable for the academic achievement of minority and poor children. School counselors in urban schools serve a disproportionate number of minority and poor children at risk for school failure. Urban school counselors can play critical roles in engaging their school's stakeholders in implementing partnership programs that foster student achievement and resilience. This article discusses team facilitator, collaborator, and advocacy roles and strategies for urban school counselors and specific types of partnership programs they need to promote to foster academic achievement and resilience in minority and poor students.


In this current era of school reform, educators are being held accountable for the academic achievement of minority and poor students. This is of particular concern to urban educators because urban schools serve a disproportionate number of minority and poor students, who invariably are at risk for school failure (Wang, Haertel, & Walberg, 1998). Of the 7 million students served by the Great City Schools--which consists of 61 of the largest urban school districts in the country including Baltimore, Cleveland, and Philadelphia--over 75 percent of the students are minority students (Council of the Great City Schools, 2003). School counselors are being urged to take leadership roles in education reform aimed at reducing the barriers to academic achievement for such students (American School Counselor Association [ASCA], 2003; Bemak, 2000; Butler, 2003; Taylor & Adelman, 2000). Many urban minority and poor students tend to have multiple precipitating factors and stressors that put them at risk for school failure (Atkinson & Juntunen, 1994; Walsh, Howard, & Buckley, 1999). Urban school counselors have the challenge of helping students who daily face risk factors, such as poverty; homelessness; neighborhoods characterized by crime, violence, and drugs; and sociocultural factors such as discrimination and racial and language barriers (Atkinson & Juntunen; Holcomb-McCoy, 1998, Schorr, 1997).

Racial and ethnic minority students in many urban schools often feel powerless in a majority-dominated school culture where language, class, and culture differences are seen as deficits (Cummins, 1986; Noguera, 1996, 2001). These children are over-represented in special education programs and underrepresented in gifted and talented programs (Ferguson, Kozleski, & Smith, 2001). Not only are the lives of a disproportionate number of racial and ethnic minority children characterized by oppression and a lack of privilege, but too often, they are "neglected, labeled, and left to wither in the lowest tracks in our schools" (Lewis & Arnold, 1998, p. 60). Efforts by schools to reduce the minority achievement gap often focus on blaming minority students for what are perceived as individual and cultural deficits residing in them, their families, and their communities (Herbert, 1999). Oftentimes, parents are regarded by school officials as adversaries instead of supporters of their children's education (Huang & Gibbs, 1992; Noguera, 1996, 2003). School officials blame differences in cultural values and family structure for poor academic achievement while parents in turn blame discrimination and insensitivity by school personnel (Atkinson & Juntunen, 1994).

For many educators, the minority achievement gap, especially in urban areas, has come to be accepted as normative and they perceive little hope for transformation in these schools. Little attention is paid to the manner in which school culture and organizational practices unconsciously act to maintain the racial inequities in academic achievement or to the effect of the assumptions, fears, and stereotypes of school personnel on their interactions with urban minority children and families (Noguera, 1996, 2001, 2003). The socio-cultural-political stressors and forces that minority students in urban schools face interact to present very complex, subtle, and seemingly insurmountable barriers to both student achievement and partnerships among schools, families, and community members. These forces are equally harmful for both low-achieving and high-performing minority students (Herbert, 1999). In spite of this drab picture, recent research on the successes of more than 4,500 high-performing, high-minority, and high-poverty schools should elicit the hope in educators that urban schools, families, and communities can work together to foster the educational resilience and academic success of students (Education Trust, 2001).


Resilience is the capacity of an individual to overcome difficult and challenging life circumstances and risk factors. Educational resilience is the ability of children to succeed academically despite risk factors that make it difficult for them to succeed (Benard, 1991; Wang, Haertel, & Walberg, 1997, 1998). Resilient children experience one or more difficult life circumstances or traumatic events but somehow find the power to overcome their adverse impact.

Resilience in children can be fostered and promoted by establishing protective factors in their environments (Benard, 1991, 1995; Wang et al., 1997). Protective factors reduce the negative effects of adversity and stressful life events. The main protective factors that families, schools, and communities can foster to increase resiliency in children are caring and supportive adult relationships, opportunities for meaningful student participation in their schools and communities, and high parent and teacher expectations regarding student performance and future success (Benard, 1995, 1997; Wang et al., 1997, 1998). A study (Herbert, 1999) of 18 culturally diverse, high-achieving students in an urban high school revealed that a number of factors enhanced these students' ability to be resilient amid poverty, family crises, and adverse environments. Among these were supportive adults at home, at school, and in the community; extracurricular after-school, Saturday, and summer enrichment programs; challenging educational experiences; a network of achieving peers; and a strong belief in and sense of self.

Overwhelmingly, school-family-community partnerships are promoted as potential sources of the protective factors that foster educational resilience in children (Benard, 1995; Christenson & Sheridan, 2001; Epstein, 1995; Wang et al., 1997, 1998). School-family-community partnerships are collaborative initiatives or relationships among school personnel, parents, family members, community members, and representatives of community-based organizations such as businesses, churches, libraries, and social service agencies. All partners involved work together to coordinate and implement programs and activities aimed at the increased academic, emotional, and social success of students served by the school (Davies, 1996; Epstein, 1995). Despite the fact that school-family-community partnerships are not a panacea for solving students' and schools' problems, they foster the protective factors that help overcome some of the barriers and risks that many urban students face.

School-family-community partnerships establish supportive relationships, such as parent-teacher support, and involve family, school, and community members in implementing programs that promote academic success for students. When schools, families, and communities foster protective factors, they are putting risk-reducing mechanisms in place that mediate risks in four ways: (a) Children are less impacted by the effects of risks with which they have come in direct contact; (b) the danger of exposure to the risk is reduced or the risk itself is modified; (c) children's self-efficacy and self-esteem are enhanced; and (d) children are provided with opportunities for meaningful involvement in their environments (Benard, 1991, 1995).


The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act (U.S. Department of Education, 2001) has mandated the development of school-family-community partnerships in Title I schools. Under NCLB, Title I schools are required to work jointly with family and community members to develop a school-family-community involvement policy. Ferguson (2003) noted that the provision concerning school-family-community partnerships is being overlooked; yet, such partnerships hold the key to meeting the overarching goal of NCLB, that of reducing the achievement gap between White and poor and minority students in public schools. Education reform initiatives over the past three decades, such as Goals 2000, have focused on parent involvement or school-family-community partnerships (Simon & Epstein, 2001). Inherent to NCLB and previous reform initiatives is the belief that parents, families, and community members are critical contributors to improving academic achievement.

Schools alone lack the necessary resources to address the large number of obstacles to learning that many minority and poor students in urban schools confront on a daily basis. Schorr (1997) argued, "Schools can become islands of hope in otherwise devastated neighborhoods. When schools and communities work together to give poor children the supports typically enjoyed by children in middle-class neighborhoods, they help children avoid a culture of failure" (p. 289). Family and community members can contribute extensively to the work of the school, to the planning and implementation of curricular and extracurricular activities that enhance learning, and to the infusion of the culture of students and families within the school (Brewster & Railsback, 2003; Ferguson et al., 2001; Henderson & Mapp, 2002).

Partnerships and Educational Outcomes

Research has indicated that school-family-community partnerships improve school programs and school climate, increase parents' skills and leadership, connect families with others in the school and the community, and improve children's chances of success in school and life (Epstein, 1995; Henderson & Mapp, 2002). In a longitudinal study of 293 third and fifth graders in 14 classrooms in Baltimore City schools, teachers' efforts to involve parents were found to have significant positive effects on student reading achievement from fall to spring, even after controlling for teacher quality, students' initial achievement, parents' education, parents' improved understanding of the school program, and the quality of students' homework (Epstein & Dauber, 1991). Notably, Comer's School Development Program, which was implemented first in troubled, low-income, urban areas in New Haven, CT's schools and subsequently in many similar urban schools nationally, has had over 40 years of success in helping minority and poor students to reach and exceed national achievement norms (Comer, Haynes, Joyner, & Ben-Avie, 1996). Relatedly, Henderson and Mapp have synthesized S 1 studies that highlight the positive influences of family and community involvement in schools on student academic achievement. When family members are involved in their children's education, children are more likely to earn higher grades, enroll in rigorous classes, go on to college, and have better academic-achievement-related behaviors, such as good social skills and regular attendance at school.

Recent studies have sought to dispel the myth that students in high-poverty, high-minority schools cannot perform well academically (Charles A. Dana Center, 1999; Education Trust, 2001). The Education Trust has identified 4,577 high-performing schools that serve high-minority or high-poverty students, or both. Among the critical components that these high-performing, high-poverty/high-minority schools have in common are high expectations and standards for all students, access for all students to rigorous curricula, extra support for students who need it, and strong partnerships with families and community members. However, one must take note of the research that indicates that the effect of parent involvement on minority student achievement may be mediated by school-level variables that tend to affect minority and poor students more than White students (Desimone, 1996). School-level variables, such as organizational practices, school culture, and discrimination, may negate the positive effects of parent involvement on student achievement.

Partnerships and Empowerment

Parents and family members often emerge empowered by the process of participation in partnerships with schools (Davies, 1998, 1996; Winters, 1993). They gain skills, knowledge, and confidence that help them in rearing their children, in improving their economic condition, and in being good citizens (Davies, 1996). After years of working with initiatives to involve parents in schools in New Haven, CT, Milwaukee, WI, and other urban public school systems, Winters observed that low-income, single mothers seem to emerge from these programs with strengthened self-competence, new skills, and a determination to alter the direction of their lives. She reported that these parents entered these programs feeling powerlessness (believing that one's behavior cannot affect outcomes or result in what one desires), a sense of anomie or meaninglessness, social isolation, and self-estrangement. As a result of their participation in school-family partnership programs, parents reaped a number of benefits including an increased sense of well-being and personal competence.

Similarly, Cochran and Dean (1991), in a study of 160 urban families over a 3-year period, concluded that efforts to involve parents, neighborhood members, teachers, and school administrators in programs that focus on parent empowerment will have positive impacts on family-school relationships and on children's school performance. Like Winters (1993), Cochran and Dean found that parents emerged from their empowerment-focused school-family-community partnership program having better self-perceptions, gaining stronger social networks, and being more willing to initiate changes in their neighborhoods.

Partnerships and Social Capital

School-family-community partnerships build social capital or networks of trust that families draw from to help their children succeed (Epstein & Sanders, 2000). More formally, social capital is further defined as "resources stored in human relationships whether casual or close ... the stuff we draw on all the time, through our connections to a system of human relationships, to accomplish things that matter to us and to solve everyday problems" (de Souza Briggs, 1997, p. 112). Partnerships among schools, families, and communities create avenues by which relationships or networks of trust can be formed among administrators, teachers, family, and community members. These relationships provide a source of connections, information, and understandings that parents can draw on to help their children succeed. Such partnerships facilitate the exchange of knowledge across cultures and lead to a bridging of the gap between home and school cultures, values, and expectations (Huang & Gibbs, 1992; Schorr, 1997).

Positive relationships between schools and families in many urban schools are infrequent because parents often do not trust the schools and school professionals in turn do not trust minority and low-income families and communities (Cummins, 1986; Goddard, Tschannen-Moran, & Hoy, 2001). Noguera (1996, 2001, 2003) highlighted the negative attitudes that principals and teachers in urban schools frequently have toward low-income and minority students and families. Some of the barriers to trust are parents' past negative experiences with schools, poor school-home communication, parents' experiences of discrimination, and incongruent teacher and parent expectations (Brewster & Railsback, 2003). School administration, teachers, and counselors may be rigid and defensive in reinforcing rules with these families whom they perceive as "problems." Such interactions result in the accruing of negative social capital to these families who feel alienated and marginalized from schools (Epstein & Sanders, 2000; Noguera, 2003).

It has been demonstrated that among children whose backgrounds and parental expectations are inconsistent with school expectations and values, strong family-school relationships make a positive difference to student achievement (Comer et al., 1996). The creation of positive relationships and transformative partnerships among schools, families, and communities presupposes a paradigm shift. There must be a shift from seeing parents as peripheral to education, and as deficient, to seeing them as valuable resources and assets to the school and as having a shared responsibility and equal capacity to contribute to the education of their children.


School-family-community partnership involvement is considered a central aspect of the school counselor's role (ASCA, 2003; Bemak, 2000; Bryan & Holcomb-McCoy, 2004, 2005; Taylor & Adelman, 2000; Walsh et al., 1999). School counselors are in an ideal position to promote and provide leadership for partnerships among school, families, and communities (Colbert, 1996). Recent studies have indicated that school counselors agree that their roles in school-family-community partnerships are important (Bryan & Holcomb-McCoy, 2004, 2005). In one study, school counselors reported that they were more involved in some partnership roles (those of advocate, team leader, and consultant) than in others (facilitator, school-home liaison, coordinator, and trainer). They also perceived some types of partnerships (e.g., mentoring and parent education programs) as more important than others (Bryan & Holcomb-McCoy, 2004).

In another study of school counselors drawn from ASCA, counselors reported being at least moderately involved in 18 school-family-community partnership role behaviors prescribed for them in the professional school counseling literature (Bryan & Holcomb-McCoy, 2005). For example, they reported being frequently involved in locating services and resources for students and their families in the community, collaborating with community agency professionals, and working with a team of school staff, family, and/or community members and professionals. Furthermore, the same study indicated that school counselors' involvement in school-family-community partnerships was influenced by their role perceptions, their confidence in the ability to build partnerships, and their attitudes about partnerships over and above school norms of collaboration (Bryan & Holcomb-McCoy, 2005).

Urban school counselors are in a key position to assist schools in their education reform mandates to reduce the achievement gap among low-income and minority children (Butler, 2003; Holcomb-McCoy, 1998, 2001). ASCA's (2003) National Model specifically outlined a leadership role for school counselors in school-family-community partnerships: "The school counselor provides proactive leadership, which engages all stakeholders in the delivery of activities and services to help students achieve success in school" (p. 17). Because urban school counselors work on a daily basis with a large proportion of students who feel alienated from school and are at risk for academic failure and dropping out, they have a responsibility to facilitate these students' academic achievement (Butler, 2003). It is imperative that school counselors understand how to devise programs and interventions to assist failing students in overcoming systemic barriers that impede their academic progress. Furthermore, school counselors must be willing to become involved in various partnership roles in order to connect schools, families, and communities in addressing barriers to learning and promoting student resilience and achievement (Bemak, 2000; Taylor & Adelman, 2000).

Partnership Roles for School Counselors

The school counselor cannot do it all (Erford, 2003). Rather, it is suggested that school counselors be actively involved in activities to engage their schools' stakeholders; this identifies school counselors as team facilitators, advocates, and collaborators with members of their schools, families, and communities (Bemak, 2000; Colbert, 1996; Taylor & Adelman, 2000). These roles allow the school counselor to facilitate and assist in coordinating such partnership programs without taking on the sole responsibility for partnership building in schools.

Team facilitator. Enhancing student achievement in urban schools will not be accomplished in a piecemeal fashion or by engaging parents in a few token activities (Charles A. Dana Center, 1999; Christenson & Sheridan, 2001; Ferguson ct al., 2001). Schools that embrace families and community members as valued partners have comprehensive programs of partnerships that move beyond traditional partnership roles for parents, such as involvement in the parent-teacher association, to engage family and community members in working as a team at multiple levels in the school (Christenson & Sheridan). Partnership teams--referred to as family-school teams (Christenson & Sheridan), school mental health teams (Keys & Lockhart, 1999), and action teams for partnerships (Epstein, 1995)--are suggested as the best way to facilitate the designing, planning, and evaluation of partnership programs. These teams typically are composed of school personnel (e.g., administrator, teachers, school counselor, librarian, school psychologist), parents, and community members.

Teaming is the process of working with a group of individuals to accomplish common goals and objectives. Team facilitators assist teams in running smoothly and moving forward in their efforts to accomplish a task. Facilitators must have effective communication, problem-solving, and conflict resolution skills, as well as an understanding of team dynamics. Given their training in group work and more specifically in working with teams, school counselors can play a critical role as facilitators of partnership teams. It is imperative that school counselors use their team facilitation skills to help administrators and teachers work collaboratively with stakeholders who are representative of the children that most need help, that is, minority and low-income students (Ferguson et al., 2001). Oftentimes, minority parents may not voice their ideas because of their fear of the team's reaction to them. School counselors can use group process skills to ensure that minority and low-income parents' voices are heard in the collaboration and decision-making process (Brewster & Railsback, 2003; Cicero & Barton, 2003; Henderson & Mapp, 2002). In addition, school counselors can help create an environment in which team members appreciate the expertise and diverse perspectives that poor and minority parents bring to the problem-solving process.

Advocate. Lee (1998) defined advocacy as "the process or act of arguing or pleading for a cause or proposal" (p. 8). An advocate pleads or argues the cause of another. School counselors are advocates who work with school personnel, family, and community members to remove systemic barriers to student success, especially for students who have been disenfranchised due to racism and discrimination (House & Martin, 1998). School-family-community partnerships are an effective means of combating systemic barriers in urban schools (Noguera, 1996; Schorr, 1997). Success in establishing support for such partnerships will be predicated on school counselors' willingness to advocate for such partnerships. This commitment to advocacy is likely to be fueled by school counselors' understanding of the benefits that such partnerships have for minority and low-income children. Convincing educators that urban families and communities can provide valuable resources to the school is one of the first challenges that school counselors will face given the stereotypes and fears that school personnel may have about these families and communities. In order to get principal and teacher "buy-in," school counselors will need to collect and use data and stories about successful partnerships and their impact on student achievement to elicit school-wide support for building partnerships.

Urban school counselors can increase administrator and staff awareness of the benefits of school-family-community partnerships for student achievement through staff development trainings. Staff development workshops are also forums in which counselors can help teachers examine their beliefs and stereotypes about culturally diverse students and urban communities and awaken awareness of the negative effects of viewing students from a deficit perspective. Combined workshops for school staff; family, and community members can create opportunities for all stakeholders to examine their views about how they can work together to build partnerships to foster academic achievement and the protective factors that build educational resilience in children.

Collaborator. As urban school counselors work with school personnel, family, and community members to build partnerships, they will have to use their knowledge and expertise to lay the groundwork for successful collaboration. Collaboration is a process for reaching goals that cannot be reached alone but are reached through shared vision, responsibility, and resources; parity; joint work; mutual expertise; and shared outcomes in accomplishing the goals. Successful collaboration among members of urban schools, families, and communities will take place when they see each other as equals, share common goals, and contribute equally to developing and implementing partnership plans (Keys, Bemak, Carpenter, & King-Sears, 1998; Noguera, 1996, 2003). School counselors can play a critical role in fostering collaboration by modeling open dialogue. Open dialogue, a critical component of successful collaboration, involves partners listening to each other respectfully, valuing each other's opinions, and respecting the views of diverse partners with different experiences. Such dialogue provides a starting point for partnerships through which cultural understandings and trust can be built and school-family-community differences can be bridged.

As urban school counselors collaborate with school personnel, families, and communities, a necessary first step is that they become familiar with the community that the school is located in, with the understanding that community may go beyond the neighborhood surrounding the school (Dorfman, 1998). Community asset mapping is a useful tool that urban school counselors can utilize to learn who are the "point" people or people of influence in the local community, which persons and organizations have the respect of the people (e.g., pastors, priests, 4-H club), and who are the active advocates and "voices" of the community. School counselors can use community asset mapping to learn where resources are located (e.g., the social service agencies, mentoring program, libraries) and where the community meeting places are.

Getting to know the community is a first step in marshaling valuable community resources. Parents and family members from the local community are valuable resources in helping urban school counselors learn about the community. School counselors should enlist the support of "point" parents and community members so that they can build a bridge to other parents and community members who do not usually venture into the schools. If school counselors are going to be successful in their attempts to collaborate with family and community members, they will need to examine their own attitudes and stereotypes about poor and minority persons and be willing to accept cultural norms that are different from their own. To do so, they will need to be culturally competent.

Partnership Programs for Enhancing Academic Achievement

It is not enough to just build partnerships. Urban school counselors must facilitate the establishment of partnerships that foster academic achievement and resilience in poor and minority children. Such partnerships provide students with caring and supportive relationships, offer them opportunities for meaningful involvement in their school and community environments, offer after-school enrichment activities, incorporate high expectations regarding student performance and success, and enhance students' sense of self-efficacy and self-esteem (Benard, 1995; Herbert, 1999; Wang et al., 1997, 1998). Two types of partnership programs are successful in facilitating educational resilience and academic achievement: (a) family-centered partnerships such as family centers, parent education programs, and family outreach (Comer et al., 1996; Epstein, 1995; Ritchie & Partin, 1994); and (b) extracurricular enrichment partnership programs such as tutoring, mentoring, and after-school enrichment programs (Christiansen, 1997; Herbert; Walsh et al., 1999).

Family-centered partnerships. Through family outreach programs, family centers, and parent education programs, many urban schools have been effective in involving parents and guardians in their children's education (Johnson, 2001; Simon & Epstein, 2001). Through family-centered programs, school counselors can help family members become more involved in working to keep their children engaged in school. Supportive family members can help coordinate parent education and family centers, because parents reach parents more effectively (Atkinson & Juntunen, 1994). Some schools may pay for a parent liaison or coordinator out of their budget, while in others, parents may volunteer. In urban areas, where there are a large proportion of racially and ethnically diverse families, including immigrant families, it is imperative that parent education and family outreach programs identify the needs of family members and students and tailor partnership programs to meet their needs (Cicero & Barton, 2003). The school counselor should conduct needs assessment and focus groups to determine parents' and students' needs prior to designing parent workshops.

Parent education is already a role that school counselors embrace, often implementing parent workshops to educate parents about ways in which to help their children succeed in school (Ritchie & Partin, 1994). Parent workshops can help many families, such as immigrant and minority families, understand the school's policies and rules and how to advocate for their children in the school. In order to reach "hard-to-reach" parents, urban school counselors may have to take parent workshops to community meeting places such as churches and community centers. They also can network with the largest employers of their students' families to organize "Parent Days" or parent meetings at the work site. Home visits are powerful ways of connecting with families who may find it difficult to come to the school. Parents respond positively to visits from parent or teacher liaisons of the same culture (Hiatt-Michael, 2001). Wherever possible, school counselors should ask a parent liaison or volunteer of the same ethnicity to accompany them on a home visit. This will help to reduce cultural barriers because the parent may better understand the accepted cultural traditions and practices of the family.

Finding ways to reduce parents' feelings of alienation in the school necessitates that the school counselor advocate for a space for all parents in the school. School counselors are often advocates for the establishment of family and parent resource centers (Cicero & Barton, 2003). Family centers provide a welcoming space in the school, create a feeling of belongingness among parents, and provide a place where parents can come to meet with other parents, find parent resources, and have parent group meetings (Cicero & Barton). In schools where Family centers have been implemented, parents reported feeling like insiders rather than outsiders (Johnson, 2001). As school counselors collaborate with school staff to incorporate the various cultures of students represented in the school into the family center (e.g., through books and posters), and throughout the school, urban family members will feel more accepted in the school culture.

Extracurricular enrichment partnership programs. Research has highlighted the positive influences of mentors and tutors in children's lives (Benard, 1992; Dubois, Holloway, Valentine, & Harris, 2002). After-school enrichment and tutoring programs are reported to be successful in fostering academic achievement and resilience in children (Hock, Pulvers, Deshler, & Schumaker, 2001). Similarly, tutoring programs are effective when tutors receive some training (Hock et al.). As school counselors advocate for the establishment of mentoring and tutoring programs and encourage parents to involve their children in these programs, they will need to ensure that coordinators of such programs are implementing best practices such as providing training for tutors and mentors.

In urban schools, school counselors must be aware of the community organizations that can serve as resources and provide academic support services for students and their parents (Atkinson & Juntunen, 1994). This will enable them to identify and partner with reputable mentoring, tutoring, faith-based, and other community programs to provide academic enrichment experiences for students. It is imperative in working with urban minority families that school counselors recognize the focal role of the church within the African-American, African, Caribbean, and Hispanic communities (Day-Vines, Patton, & Baytops, 2003). Churches often are a valuable source of mentors and tutors for students and a great medium through which to get information to families. Furthermore, urban school counselors should see colleges and universities as valuable resources for providing mentors and tutors for academic enrichment activities. Many colleges and universities, corporations, and career professionals have partnered with schools to provide pre-college academic preparation and orientation programs to reduce student attrition in middle and high schools, enhance student achievement, and prepare students for college (Fenske, Geranios, Keller, & Moore, 1997).

Also, urban school counselors can liaise with businesses and professional corporations to facilitate the implementation of Cadet programs and career clubs in the schools in order to arouse children's interest in various careers, enhance their knowledge about career options, build their career self-efficacy, and provide accurate career information to dispel myths about careers.


Partnerships among the school, home, and community increase students' chances of success by removing some of the stressors and systemic barriers to academic and personal success, especially for poor and minority students (Taylor & Adelman, 2000; Walsh et al., 1999). In preparing school counselors to work in urban settings, counselor educators must seek to address their special training needs within the existing Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (2001) school counseling curriculum. School counselors who work with urban families and communities must have knowledge and skills in collaboration, advocacy, and leadership (Bemak, 2000; Taylor & Adelman, 2000); collaborative consultation (Keys et al., 1998); and multicultural competency (Holcomb-McCoy, 1998, 2001).

In addition, counselor educators will need to infuse knowledge about school culture, community asset mapping, and urban education issues in the school counseling curriculum (Bryan & Holcomb-McCoy, 2005). Some of these knowledge and skill areas would be better explored in greater depth in a course focusing on school-family-community partnerships, collaboration, consultation, and school restructuring. Additionally, school counseling trainees should be placed in internships where site supervisors are engaged in school-family-community partnerships so as to provide them with practical understandings of urban issues and how to build strong partnerships among urban schools, families, and communities.


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Julia Bryan, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in School Psychology and Counselor Education, School of Education, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA. E-mail:
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Author:Bryan, Julia
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Date:Feb 1, 2005
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