McNair Scholars Program USC

Monika Langarica

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Major and Classification

Political Science and American Studies

Faculty Mentor

  • Ricardo Ramirez, Ph.D.

Department

  • College of Letters, Arts, & Sciences

McNair Project

School Counselors & Policy Mediation: Understanding and Affecting Urban Student Outcomes

Abstract
Within the past few decades, the educational climate in the United States has shifted. According to nationally recognized leaders, one of the main said purposes of the American educational pipeline has now become to fulfill American interests nationally and abroad. Based on the literature, this shift in climate has rendered a myriad of academic and disciplinary policies implemented on national and local levels to maximize the potential benefits of the educational system. Simultaneously, a shift in outcomes has occurred. Thus, achievement gaps are widening between students in urban setting-- primarily students of color--and other students. Because of the required training and the responsibilities they are given once they begin working at urban high schools, it is important to study the roles of high school counselors in mediating academic and disciplinary policies in order to understand how counselors can best affect favorable student outcomes. By interviewing school counselors, I am assessing the perceptions of the adequacy of counselor preparation, as well as the roles of counselors in mediating school policies and ultimately, in determining student outcomes. The findings, in conversation with existing literature, support the idea that urban high school counselors have potential to maximize their roles in mediating academic and disciplinary policies, which in turn, according to scholars, can guide student outcomes. Such insight is necessary for the drafting of future policies and requirements for urban counselor training.