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NMC and PSS Host Training for Counselors (April 28, 2011)

The Northern Marianas College recently co-sponsored a Counselors Conference with the CNMI Public School System to help standardize counseling services based on the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) national model of counseling.

ASCA’s model focuses on providing a comprehensive guidance and counseling program in three areas: personal/social, academic and career counseling. ASCA is a division of the American Counseling Association. The adoption of the ASCA model will help enable counselors to better gauge the effectiveness of the counseling services provided to students.

Dr. Rhonda Williams (ASCA Ethics chair) and Dr. Julaine E. Field, both members of the ASCA and who are certified counselor trainers, conducted the Counselors Conference. Both presenters are professors of school counseling at the University of Colorado - Colorado Springs (UCCS).

In the past, a few selected counselors would have been able to participate in mainland U.S.. However, after a year of planning, training in the ASCA model was finally made available to all counselors in the CNMI through this conference.

“NMC’s partnership is key in the collaborative work being done with our counselors,” said Jessica Taylor, CNMI PSS Program Coordinator. “The PSS counselors now have the opportunity to attend an important conference that will help them grow in their profession as well as benefit the students in the CNMI.”

The conference is the beginning of a three-year strategic plan of the counseling core of PSS. The core’s goal is for PSS counselors to become highly qualified counselors according to the ASCA model. The counseling core is made up of six members: Patty Mendoza of Oleai Elementary School, Daisy Bier of San Antonio Elementary School, Shimiko Montgomery of Tanapag Elementary School, Andrea Thompson of Tinian Junior Senior High School, Josiah Kyonka of Hopwood Jr. High School, and Melanie Agulto of Marianas High School.

Counselors who attended the Counselors Conference now have the option of applying for two graduate credit hours at the University of Colorado under the Counseling Masters Degree program.

NMC co-sponsored the Counselors Conference by providing funds through a grant from the College Challenge Access Program (CACP). NMC counselors also attended the conference to learn about the ASCA model that PSS counselors are adopting, as well as to present information on the counseling services NMC offers. The NMC staff members that helped produced the conference are Tim Baker Director of Counseling Programs and Services, Leo Pangelinan Dean of Student Services and the CNMI CACP student ambassadors.

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