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CHAPTER 1
The School Counselor: Promoting Academic Excellence
for All Students
Case Study
Understanding Schools and Students
Dr. Rodriquez listened closely to her daughter Raquel's dinner conversations and
was pondering ways to help the teenager understand some of the things frustrating her.
Raquel was the student leader of an effort to have school policy rewritten. Raquel had
volunteered as a mentor for a ninth-grader early in the school year. As she learned more
about the ninth-grader and her educational barriers, Raquel and some of her friends began
trying to uncover some means of increasing the chances this young lady would graduate.
Having opportunities to take some courses at the nearby community college seemed to be
an optimal solution. Raquel had talked to the principal, assistant principal and the school
counselor trying to persuade these leaders to permit ninth and tenth graders to enroll in
those off-campus courses that juniors and seniors were allowed to take. Raquel and her
group believed the increased options would keep more students in school until graduation
and would improve the quality of education for everyone in her high school.
Dr. Rodriquez appreciated the passion with which Raquel approached her change
strategy but knew the intricacies of the education system complicated what seemed to
Raquel to be a simple modification. Dr. R is the superintendent for this mid-size system
and contends daily with the variety of people and policies committed to education. In
fact, during her fifteen years as an educator she has often wondered if all the ideas about
education and all the factors that influence the classroom could be simplified. Perhaps
Raquel and her friends are on to something. She realizes that the mission of educating all
students requires many voices who increase the chances of success for students with their
diverse ideas and experiences. That challenge of making policies and procedures
workable while incorporating input from multiple sources, including student leaders,
keeps the education process mystifying to anyone unfamiliar with the ways all these
interested parties interact. As well as recognizing the complexity that exists, Dr. R also
celebrates the remarkable work that is done in schools every day. She loves her job and
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