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School communities are confronted daily with challenges that directly interfere with the educational process. These challenges require that schools practice new, proactive, innovative approaches that support the academic achievement of ALL students. School counselors are uniquely qualified and positioned to serve as critical intermediaries for Vermont students in numerous ways as they prepare all students for academic success, college and career readiness, and healthy social/emotional development. 

The Vermont school counselor’s goal is to help every student succeed and support them in becoming productive classroom and school community contributors, competent and satisfied in their future careers, and socially/emotionally healthy individuals throughout their lifespan. This can lead to a long-lasting, statewide impact in our economy, culture, mortality, quality of life and well-being in every region of Vermont. 

What is the Vermont Framework?

The Developmental Counseling Model for Vermont Schools, hereafter referred to as the “Vermont Framework,” is a tool used to assist school counselors and administrators in building a school counseling Service that is comprehensive in scope, preventive in design, developmental in nature, and focused on the three American School Counselor Association (ASCA) domains: academic, career and social/emotional. The approach described in the Vermont Framework aligns with ACT 173 ensuring that core instruction meets the needs of most students while providing additional support with highly skilled counselors while creating a system-wide approach to support all students. The Vermont Framework outlines how Vermont school counselors work to assess areas of student growth through accountability systems embedded in district improvement to ensure continuous growth in our students and our comprehensive school counseling Services. 

The Vermont Framework was developed to support school counselors and administrators in utilizing the ASCA National Model, content specific to Vermont, and other nationwide best practices within Vermont schools, including MTSS and the Vermont School Counseling Association’s Social/Emotional Learning (SEL) Guidelines. 

Who can use the Vermont Framework?

This document is prepared primarily for school counselors, but is recommended for use by administrators, teachers, school support personnel, parents, community members, and policy makers. Highly adaptable, the Vermont Framework offers Vermont school districts the freedom to collaboratively contribute their own expertise as it relates to the developmental needs of students. To effectively achieve the goals of the Vermont Framework in its fullest sense, all key stakeholders must play a significant role in its implementation, from school staff and community members, to university educators who train school counselors, administrators, and teachers. 

The Vermont Framework can be used by anyone who desires to understand how school counseling Services can be successfully implemented in schools. Key Highlights Organized by the American School Counselor Association’s National Model component (Define, Manage, Deliver and Assessment), the Vermont Framework stresses keys points of effective school counseling Services:

  • Support the school’s mission and demonstrate a measurable impact on the school’s goals. 
  • Advocate for the equity and access of all students, taking into consideration the unique needs of its own diverse population. 
  • Provide school counseling supports around the three domains (academic, social/emotional, career) to ALL students based on tiered need (Tier 1=universal core curriculum for ALL students; Tier 2=data-informed, targeted supports provided to SOME students; Tier 3=deep and intensive supports for FEW students). 
  • Collaborate with administrators, staff, students, parents, community members, and other key stakeholders. 
  • Appropriately use school counselors’ time, skills, and energy so they may adequately focus on achieving the goals of the school counseling Service through direct and indirect services for all students. 

What are our Next Steps?

The Vermont Framework was designed, in collaboration with other state models, while integrating key elements reflective of the evolving profession of school counseling and the changing needs of Vermont students. Specifically, the next steps could include:

  • Vermont Learning Standard Crosswalk: This resource will be designed in collaboration with eht VT Agency of Education to support school counselors in more effectively collaborating with teachers to deliver school counseling core curriculum in the classroom. The crosswalk will outline standards for each content area that can be taught or co-taught in the classroom by school counselors. This enables school counselors to easily locate ASCA National Standards related to school counseling, build those standards into school counseling lesson plans, and demonstrate to administrators and teachers which standards their classroom lessons will support. 
  • School Counseling Core Curriculum Resource List: The development of an ever-expanding resource list of sample core curricula to be added to better enable school counselors to locate curriculum for use in the classroom. 
    • Additional Tier 1 resources for school counselors, including a Sample School Counseling Curriculum Map, horizontally and vertically aligned across all grade levels K-12 and sample lesson plan packages (lesson plan, all needed materials, pre/post-test) for select topics. Including alignment with local wellness policies 
    • ASCA Position Statements, Ethical Standards, Mindsets Alignment to the newest ASCA National Model Position Statements (2020), ASCA Ethical Standards for School Counselors (2016), ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors for Student Success (2014), and cutting-edge school counseling terminology, best practices, and systems including the new Multi-Tiered, Multi-Domain System of Supports for School Counselors (Hatch, 2017). 

This framework will establish a consistent and robust approach to school counseling statewide that leverages the essential expertise of school counselors to support all Vermont students. Our goal is that all Vermont counselors and clinicians, administrators, teachers, students, families, community members, and policy makers will understand the critical importance of effective school counseling structures. Working in concert, a high-quality school counseling framework/comprehensive school counseling Service, integrated with our education quality standards, can make a difference for Vermont students! 

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