Philosophy, Theme, and Accreditation
It is our belief that development occurs within a context, and that school systems for hard-of-hearing, deaf and deaf special needs children serve to meet cognitive, social, and emotional needs of these children.
We believe that deaf professionals are the most appropriate role models, while hearing school counselors trained in deafness can be highly effective helpers also. Therefore, a secondary goal of the program is to increase the number of highly qualified school counselors trained in this program who are themselves deaf or hard-of-hearing, and/or minority deaf or hard-of-hearing.
The individual needs of students within the program vary, and for that reason, there is some flexibility within the prescribed program. Students may add areas of interest and specialization through elective course work, workshops offered on campus, and when approved, independent studies.
The School Counseling Program (mental health emphasis) prides itself on the integration of course work with field work experiences. Students who graduate from the program complete more than 900 clock hours of supervised experience prior to graduation. Sites and supervision styles vary, which is an important reflection of our belief that no one theory of intervention or counseling can help all children. However, change - and all people are capable of change - is optimized through a relationship with a trained professional. The major responsibility of the school counselor is to provide for the social and emotional needs of the students, screen for and detect, and assist in the treatment of serious personal or emotional problems, and make appropriate community and mental health referrals.
In addition, it is our belief that school counselors are responsible for initiating and implementing preventative guidance activities that are intended to lessen future developmental challenges and prepare youngsters for their future career and family responsibilities.
The organizing theme for the program is as follows:
"The school counselor working with deaf and hard-of-hearing students and deaf students with additional special needs, is a professional who applies principles of facilitating change and development to individuals, groups, systems, and society."
This theme reflects the philosophy of the program, defines points of intervention along the continuum, focuses on the role of the professional in life, and leads to the attainment of the program objectives. This theme determines what/who our graduates should be upon completion of this program.
Full accreditation was awarded by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) during the spring of 2000. With this accreditation, graduates are eligible to take the National Counselor Licensing Examination immediately upon graduation from the program.
In addition, the School Counseling Program is accredited by the National Council on Accreditation of Teacher Education Programs (NCATE) most recently reviewed in 1997. Approval of our program prepares graduates seeking certification in most states.
Finally, the School Counseling Program was accredited by the District of Columbia (which abides by standards established by the National Association of State Directors of Teachers Education Programs, (NASDTEC). Graduates of our training program are eligible for certification as school counselors in the District of Columbia and the states with which the District of Columbia has reciprocity agreements.