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The graduate students in the school counselor track their practicum in the Professional Development Schools (PDS) model. In the PDS model, local K-12 schools partner with higher education to provide a practicum on site.
The traditional practicum model, where each student was placed at individual schools for five hours a week, while receiving individual supervision and group supervision on campus, held some challenges for students, site supervisors and the schools. Now, small groups of students are placed together in one school where they learn the school culture, facilitate classroom guidance lessons, lead support and educational groups, and provide one-on-one individual academic and social support.
Graduate students learn through participation in experiences that meet the needs of the school and are coordinated with graduate learning goals. The PDS model promotes counseling students’ multi-cultural and social justice competencies, particularly social justice advocacy when implemented in urban and underserved communities.
Graduate students at Sage Elementary complete their weekly practicum in the PDS model “learning the ropes” and providing school counseling services. The students work with the site school counseling supervisors, along with administration, faculty and staff. Practicum students are supervised by university faculty who remain at the schools throughout the day.
In addition to providing services, the school counseling students received their individual supervision through live observation and videotaping at the lab school. The PDS model provides numerous benefits to the schools and their students and faculty, while also providing consistent, in-depth hands-on training for the graduate students.