COLUMBIA — Guidance counselors from throughout Columbia Public Schools gathered Friday for a meeting at Rock Bridge High School. But before it started, Superintendent Chris Belcher congratulated them on winning this year's Norman C. Gysbers Award, which recognizes excellence in school counseling.
Belcher praised the counselors, saying they not only help students but also help principals understand why good counseling programs are necessary. "I didn't bring you any awards, trophies or treats," Belcher, a former principal, said jokingly. "But I brought the guy the program is named after."
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He turned to Norman Gysbers, a curator's professor in the department of educational, school and counseling psychology at MU. "I found out if you hang out long enough they name things after you," Gysbers told the counselors. "Congratulations for the hard work you do."
The Gysbers Award, granted annually by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, recognizes a guidance program in the state that has “demonstrated an exemplary level of implementation of the Missouri Comprehensive Guidance Program that, in turn, has resulted in demonstrable positive impact on its students," according to the award Web site.
Gysbers' work, which he began in 1960, was the foundation for the Comprehensive Guidance Program, introduced to Missouri schools in 1984 and later adopted by the American School Counselor Association.
"The program is designed to help all students to facilitate their academic, career and personal social development," Gysbers said.
Based on the program, counselors provide:
- Classroom guidance for personal and social development, academic development and career development.
- Responsive services such as facilitating small group and individual counseling sessions, and consultations with parents, students and teachers.
- Individual planning sessions with students to develop personal plans of study and help them through transitions from kindergarten through graduation.
- System support, which refers to guidance program support geared toward evaluating guidance programs, individual counselors and student results.
The district has more than 50 school counselors. Carolyn Roof, elementary guidance and counseling coordinator for the district, said the award is the result of all counselors working together.
“We will continue to work and make sure our program is meeting the needs of all students and providing the best guidance program K through 12," Roof said.
The guidance department will be recognized at the Missouri School Counselor Association's fall conference in November at the Lake of the Ozarks.