RSC Approach

Redesigning School Counseling enables schools to develop a data-driven and accountable school counseling program that aligns with the academic goals found in the School Improvement Plan.

RSC is based on the following beliefs:

  • Key Choices: Students who succeed academically in grades K-12 and successfully continue their education after high school tend to make key choices at each grade level. For example, upper elementary students choose to turn their homework in on time. Middle school students choose to enroll in Algebra I. High school students choose to visit college campuses.
  • Guidance: Student guidance activities help students gain the knowledge they need to make sound choices at each grade level.
  • Counseling: Student counseling activities help students overcome personal and/or social concerns that interfere with a student's ability to make sound choices at each grade level.
  • Advocacy: Sometimes, the system is responsible for students not being able to make sound choices at various grade levels because opportunities are not made available to all students. For example, students can't choose to enroll in Algebra I in eighth grade if the course is not offered. In those situations, it is the school counselor's role to be an advocate for systemic change and for individual students.


RSC places a heavy emphasis on data-based decision making. RSC schools collect and analyze several types of data to help inform decisions during the strategic planning process. Most of the data is collected via a school-wide student survey.

  • Academic achievement data
  • Career and postsecondary education plans data
  • Student choice data
  • Guidance needs data
  • Counseling needs data
  • Student perceptions of their counselor's knowledge, skills and dispositions
  • Counselor time-use data


RSC schools create an RSC Advisory Council with members representing a variety of stakeholder groups and perspectives in the school and community. Council members provide input during six meetings as the RSC Strategic Plan is being developed. They also provide feedback as the plan is being implemented. Advisory Council members from the community also choose to compliment the school counseling program by implementing community-based academic and career guidance activities for the community's young people. Typical members of the RSC Advisory Council include school administrators, counselors, teachers, students, parents. Members also include representatives of sending schools, receiving schools, economic development groups, business and industry, local government, community foundations, youth service organizations, faith-based organizations, service clubs, public libraries, and other community organizations. Care is given to ensure that the Advisory Council mirrors the community's diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, economic level and education level.


RSC Vision-to-Action Process
During the RSC strategic planning process, called Vision-to-Action, the Advisory Council participates in six discussions:

Year One

  1. Vision / Mission: What are the ideal practices of students, ideal practices of adults who provide guidance and counseling for students, ideal school counseling programs, and ideal student achievement data? Given this vision, what is the mission of the school counseling program?
  2. Student Choice Goals: Given the academic achievement goals identified in the School Improvement Plan, what choices must students make at each grade level in order for them to reach those goals?
  3. Priority Student Goals: How can resources (time, funding, in-kind support, perceptions of the counselors) be expanded to help school counselors address the student goals? Given the resources available and noting the degree to which students make each of the stated goals, which student choice goals should be priority goals for the coming school year?
  4. Root Causes: What is interfering with students making sound choices in the priority student choice areas? Is a lack of knowledge interfering (guidance needs)? Are personal-social issues (counseling needs) interfering? Are opportunities not available?
  5. Activities: What activities can we implement to address the root causes that we identified in the previous steps?
  6. Preparation: When will our program activities occur? What steps do we need to take to make sure the activities are fully and soundly implemented? Who will do these steps? Do we need to seek funding for our activities? If so, who will do that? What is our annual budget? What lesson plans are needed?

Year Two and Beyond

  1. Progress Reports: Were the strategies fully implemented? How many people participated? Did the activity have the desired impact?
  2. Annual Analysis: Did you reach your priority goal(s)? Why or why not? Do the priority goals or activities need to change? Note: Priority goal data, priority goals and activities are updated every year. All data and all parts of the strategic plan are updated every third year.


RSC schools receive an online Steering Team Manual which includes everything they need to facilitate the Advisory Council meetings and develop their School Counseling Program Portfolio. Contents include sample meeting agendas, PowerPoint presentations, facilitator scripts, facilitator guides, discussion prompts, consensus building tools, and templates.


RSC schools receive free professional development via monthly webcasts. In some locations (Indiana), RSC learning communities are also available. Learning community participants attend one face-to-face workshop followed by a series of webinars where participants 1) share successes and challenges, 2) discuss upcoming activities in the Vision-to-Action process, and 3) ask questions.


RSC Program Development Standards and rubric items are available for each component in the RSC Strategic Plan. These rigorous standards include ASAI's Standards for School Counseing Program Design and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) criteria for the Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) award.


Schools may use the School Counseling Program Portfolio developed through the RSC process as part of their application for the ASCA RAMP Award. Schools that meet all of the rubric items associated with the RSC Standards will also have met all of the criteria for the ASCA RAMP Award.


RSC was developed by Sue Reynolds with input from a myriad of school counselors in Indiana and across the country. Sue served as a public school counselor in Indiana and received the National Secondary School Counselor of the Year Award from the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). She also received the Indiana Secondary School Counselor of the Year Award and is a four-time recipient of distinguished service awards from the Indiana Counseling Association. Sue has served as a board member for the American School Counselor Association, executive director of the Indiana School Counselor Association, and educational consultant for the Indiana Department of Education. In 1996, Sue founded the American Student Achievement Institute, a non-profit that she currently directs.