This newsletter marks the month of November and I know I have much to be thankful for. I am thankful for having a profession that allows an altruistic understanding of humanity and gives me the ability to contribute to a greater cause. I am thankful for all of you being part of this profession and making the conscious and sometimes unconscious decision to give so freely of yourselves. I know your students and families are thankful for your dedication – which truly has an impact on their future.
School counselors believe in helping and supporting all students, which is why I am excited to highlight the recent bill passed (IL HB346) by the State of Illinois. The law requires all schools in the state to include “the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history of this country and this State” in official textbooks. It is crucial for our LGBT students to see famous or historic LGBT individuals within the text they read or historians they study. Most are unaware, for instance, that Alan Turing (mathematician) and Oscar Wilde (playwright and author) were arrested for being homosexual and helped paved the way for improved civil rights.
As educators, it is important that we provide windows, mirrors and doors to our students. Windows are the activities, resources and experiences that allow students to “look through the window” and experience someone different than themselves. Mirrors are texts and resources that allow students to see themselves. Doors give students the aspirational ability to “walk through” and see themselves as part of society. I challenge all educators to review their curriculum to provide such experiences.
A new study from Harvard found that, contrary to the assumption that implicit attitudes don’t change, three out of six implicit attitudes can change. Specifically, just a ten minute conversation with someone of a different background can greatly reduce bias. The more you challenge yourself in conversation, the more you open yourself up to help all students. I challenge everyone to think of a group or demographic with which you may have limited contact, and plan an authentic conversation in the near future.
I look forward to seeing you at the many professional development opportunities we have this fall and at the Spring Conference. The ISCA board is extremely excited to be planning for the future of our organization. We have various subcommittees coming together to work on future professional development, strategic planning and advocacy. Many ISCA board members will participate in the wonderful offering of the ASCA Leadership Development Institute taking place in Lisle in mid-November, to work on said initiatives.
Never hesitate to reach out with comments or to get involved in the ISCA board. I can be reached by contacting email@example.com.
Contact Dr. Matt Liberatore, LCPC, ISCA president, at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @DrLiberatore
ILLINOIS SCHOOL COUNSELOR ASSOCIATION