Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership P-12

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Hans Klar

Committee Member

Dr. Noelle Paufler

Committee Member

Dr. Amanda Rumsey

Committee Member

Dr. Corrine Sackett


The purpose of this study is to explore the perceived roles of elementary and secondary school counselors within schools with comprehensive school counseling programs and those without such programs. Central to this study are questions of how school counselors’ roles are perceived differently within Recognized ASCA Models Program (RAMP) schools and non-RAMP schools. I this study, I examined the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Professional Mindsets and Behaviors (see Appendix 1), as outlined in the ASCA National Model (ASCA, 2012), as well as school counselors’ professional practices and perceived roles in RAMP and non-RAMP schools.

Through interviews and comparative analysis, I examined the presence and practice of professional school counselors’ mindsets and roles within selected school environments, the perceived inter-relationships between school counselors and students within each school’s counseling program, and their perceived impact upon student behavior and well-being. Using qualitative research, I conducted semi-structured interviews of elementary and secondary school principals, school counselors, and teachers, each of whom served on their school’s MTSS Team.

As a result of this study, I discovered the existence of unique perceptions, relationships, patterns, and trends. School counselors at RAMP schools, where there is an established comprehensive and developmental school counseling program, were perceived as being more connected with students and more data-informed. These school counselors appeared to serve more in a leadership role, as their principals regularly sought their involvement and input. They were also perceived as more likely to consistently utilize tiered services, and were seen as more collaborative.

The findings from this study have implications for future research, practice and policy. There is a clear need for additional research to examine the training and applied practices, as well as beliefs and attitudes of school administrators regarding school counselors’ roles and expectations across all grade levels. In addition, based on the soaring mental health needs among students, it is evident that the need exists to study administrator attitudes and practices regarding multi-tiered systems and interdisciplinary collaboration as it relates to student services, well-being and mental health.

It is incumbent upon school leaders to support employees so they may exercise their strengths in their particular areas of interest and expertise. School counselors collaborate and serve as program leaders, removing barriers and ensuring that tiered services are provided to all students in order to meet their individual respective needs. Hence, the appropriate levels of tiered supports through multi-tiered systems will be provided so student academic and social-emotional needs are better met.


Thank you to my dissertation committee and to the leadership at the graduate school.



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