CUSD Schools Receive National Recognition by ASCA

In April, seven schools in California received a prestigious designation for their outstanding counseling programs from the American School Counselor Association (ASCA).

Of those seven schools, four of them – Ambuehl Elementary, Hidden Hills Elementary, Las Flores Middle and Capistrano Valley High – are in Capistrano Unified.

“We’re all just so excited and proud, and this is such a well-deserved honor for the counselor teams at these schools,” says Rebecca Pianta, the district’s Coordinator of Counseling and Student Support.

The RAMP award (Recognized ASCA Model Program) recognizes schools that are committed to delivering an exemplary school counseling program. According to ASCA, honorees are awarded for aligning their programs with the criteria in the ASCA National Model, a framework for a comprehensive, data-driven school counseling program.

Pianta says the ASCA National Model creates unity and focus toward improving student achievement. The framework of a comprehensive school counseling program consists of four components: foundation, management, delivery and accountability. Within this framework, there are standards related to academic, social-emotional and career development for all students delivered through core curriculum, individual student planning, responsive services, and system support.

Earning the RAMP designation is a complex process that entails establishing School Counseling Advisory Councils at the schools vying for the designation. In Capistrano Unified, the councils comprise school board members, parents, teachers, administrators, and even students.

The designations are awarded just once a year; more Capistrano Unified schools are working toward earning them in the years to come. Pianta says her goal is to have the counselors at the current RAMP-designated schools serve as mentors to other schools’ counseling programs, with the long-term goal of having all district schools’ counseling programs earn the national designation. The school counselors and their principals will be honored at a recognition ceremony at ASCA’s annual conference in Boston, Massachusetts on July 1, 2019.

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