Supervising counselors in suburban secondary schools: The untold story

Jeffrey Bruce Streitman, Fordham University


While models of teacher supervision and evaluation have been developed and researched, limited research is available in the area of supervision and evaluation for secondary guidance counselors by school administrators. The limited literature that does exist is based neither on counseling theory nor the assumption that the major goal of supervision is to teach counselors to be therapeutic. School based approaches view the counselor by the services and functions he or she provides within the school. The goal of this study was to add to the body of knowledge by gathering and analyzing descriptive data within two suburban public secondary schools. The study responded to four concerns: perceptions of counselors and administrators regarding the purpose and goals of supervision; the personnel responsible for supervision; the methods used; and the outcomes of the supervisory process. A 2 x 4 case study research design encompassing four variables that focused on each of the four questions was used. Data collection methods included documentary information, observations, and interviews. The collected data were subjected to a pattern matching analysis and an analytic strategy for explanation building. The results of the study revealed that counselor supervision within secondary schools lacks clear purpose, employs well meaning incompetent supervisors, and utilizes standards that are geared for classroom teachers. While data indicated that supervision increased the efficiency of some guidance department programs, it failed to accomplish its primary goal of increasing counselors' skills and ultimately increasing students' abilities to function within the school. Secondary schools need to come to terms with understanding the role differences between counselors and teachers. In addition, school district mandates must also come to reflect the uniqueness of each professional's role. Policies must include within their stated purpose that the goal of supervision is to increase counselor competencies as well as teachers' instructional performance. This study identifies the need for schools to operationally define the process of counselor supervision and for supervisors to be given training and tools to effectively supervise counselors.

Subject Area

School administration|Academic guidance counseling|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Streitman, Jeffrey Bruce, "Supervising counselors in suburban secondary schools: The untold story" (1991). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9123125.