Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Principal perceptions of the role of high school counselors in urban schools
by Perez, Veronica, Ed.D., California State University, Long Beach, 2016, 104; 10124827
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative study examined administrators’ and counselors’ perceptions regarding the role of the counselor and the quality of the relationship between counselor and administrator. Specifically, this study looked at working relationships and the impact these have on administrators, counselors, teachers, students, and parents. LMX served as the theoretical framework that guided this study (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995). Understanding the subordinates’ (counselors) role and perceptions can be used to measure how well principals, or supervisors, maintain and foster working relationships.

Twenty-three interviews were conducted with ten administrators and thirteen counselors. Ten of them were males and 13 were females. The research questions for this study were (1) How do high school counselors perceive their role? (2) How do high school administrators perceive the role of the counselor? (3) What is the quality of the relationships between counselors and administrators? Multiple studies showed that an effective principal-counselor relationship can raise students’ achievement levels (Finkelstein, 2009; Zalaquett & Chatters, 2012). Yet, it is important to evaluate how principals view the role of the counselor and how principals use counselors at their schools. “Developing and defining appropriate roles for school counselors continue to be a source of concern for the counseling profession” (Kirchner & Setchfield, 2005, p. 10).

Results of this qualitative study were catalogued by themes, revealing perceptions of the administrator’s and counselor’s role and the working relationship between them. The voices of participants were heard, as their direct quotes illustrate their lived experiences.

The role of counselor is ambiguous and not well defined. In addition, counselors cite case overload, quasi-administrative duties, testing and lack of administrative support as impediments to providing students additional academic, personal, and social support. These elements affect the impact and quality of the school counseling program.

Successful counseling programs stem from administrators who are aware and knowledgeable about the role counselor’s play. Counselors depend on the principal’s understanding and commitment to support them throughout campus, which, in turn, increases student outcomes.

Implications, along with recommendations for policy and practice, are presented to further explore this phenomenon and highlight the need to improve and develop healthy working relationships between administrators and counselors.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Slater, Charles
Commitee: Lee, Michael, Nakai, Karen
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 77/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Educational leadership, School administration, School counseling, Secondary education
Keywords: Counseling, Perceptions, Role identity, Work relationships
Publication Number: 10124827
ISBN: 9781339829241
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