The mission of the Niagara University school counseling program is to develop skilled, ethical school counselors who advocate for positive change by learning, leading, and serving students, families, schools, and communities, especially those who have been historically marginalized. Graduates of the school counseling program will be able to facilitate the academic, career, and personal/social development and achievement of all pK-12 students.
The Niagara University school counseling program has six guiding values:
- Vincentian Tradition of Niagara University: We are inspired to serve all members of society, especially those living in poverty and oppression, in local communities and in the larger world.
- Constructivist Practice: We consider the experiences, values, and multiple identities of the students we serve as the foundation from which to facilitate learning, development, and wellness.
- Evidence-based Best Practice: We implement practices and strategies drawn from the best available research and data on the school counseling profession.
- Reflective Practice:We promote self-assessment, peer-assessment, and critical examination of the efficacy of one's own practice as essential for the continuous improvement of school counselors.
- Professional Commitment and Responsibility: We demonstrate dedication and accountability to the vocation of school counseling through professional, passionate, lawful and ethical behaviors.
- Professional Relationships: We maintain high expectations for ourselves, our colleagues, and those we serve, while respecting diversities of background, experience, opinion and perspective; and working collaboratively to support one another.
Niagara University’s school counseling program prepares graduates who - through commitment, excellence, and Vincentian tradition - will have a positive and sustained impact in their respective school communities, and particularly pK-12 students from underserved and underrepresented populations. Throughout their program of study, school counseling candidates will develop knowledge, skills, and dispositions in each of the New York State Core Counseling Areas which are as follows:
- Foundations in professional school counseling, including understanding the history and purpose/philosophy of, and the laws, policies, and regulations governing school counseling. School counselors engage in continuous professional growth and development, advocate for appropriate school counselor identity and roles, and adhere to ethical practices.
- Career development and collage readiness, including use of a variety of research-based school counseling approaches to provide services to meet the career needs of all students.
- Supportive school climate and collaborative work with school, family and community, including collaborating with colleagues, families, and community members to cultivate an inclusive, nurturing, and physically safe learning environment for students, staff, and families.
- Equity, advocacy and diversity in programming and in support of students, including understanding cultural contexts in a multicultural society, demonstrating fairness, equity and sensitivity to every student, and advocating for equitable access to instructional programs and activities.
- Child growth, development, and student learning, including using knowledge of child development, individual differences, learning barriers, and pedagogy to contribute to and support student learning.
- Group and individual counseling theories and techniques, including the use of a variety of research-based counseling approaches to provide prevention, intervention, and responsive services to meet the academic, personal, social, and career needs of all students.
- Best practices for the profession and in school counseling programming, including assessing, developing, implementing, leading, and evaluating a data-driven school counseling program that is comprehensive, utilizes best practices and advances the mission of the school; and
- Research and program development, including the use of research and evaluation in advancing the school counseling program, its components and the profession.