U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. Announces Expansion of School Ambassador Fellows Program to Include School Counselors at White House Reach Higher Convenings

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U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. Announces Expansion of School Ambassador Fellows Program to Include School Counselors at White House Reach Higher Convenings

November 1, 2016

U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. announced today that school counselors will have the opportunity to apply for the School Ambassador Fellows program starting with the 2017-18 cohort of ambassadors. The program currently includes the Teaching Ambassador Fellows (TAF) and Principal Ambassador Fellows (PAF). Including the voices of teachers, principals, counselors and other education professionals who do meaningful work with students and other educators each day, will bring important perspectives to discussions of federal policy and programs.

“School counselors fill many roles by helping students work through serious social, emotional, academic and personal challenges, while also guiding them along a path to college and career readiness,” said King. “There was one very important counselor who had a deep impact on me: my mother. She passed when I was just 8 years old, but knowing the critical role she had played in helping students overcome personal and academic challenges has always inspired me. School counselors, like my mother, are an inspiration to students, teachers, parents and community members to enlarge their vision of what is possible and take advantage of educational opportunities.”

Teaching and Principal Ambassador Fellows have informed wide-ranging policies and have been instrumental in broadening conversations in the field that inform the guidance the Department issues. The TAF program is approaching its 10th year, the PAF program is in its 3rd year. There is a crucial need to incorporate the important perspective school counselors have – from thinking through how we can better support the socio-emotional needs of our students and how we can support students in trauma, to how we improve graduation rates and college going rates. For the next round of School Ambassador Fellows applications, school counselors will be included.

King made the announcement at the 5th National White House School Counseling Convening, as part of the Reach Higher initiative, where he discussed the need for all students to complete high school and be prepared to complete college regardless of their background and for school counselors, teachers, and administrators to be prepared to work in diverse settings and oftentimes lead the push in schools for more inclusive learning spaces.

The theme of this year’s convening is Connecting the Dots: Cultural Competence, Counseling and College and Career Readiness for Underserved Youth. As part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative, the Department of Education and the White House have hosted four national convenings of school counselors to discuss ways to support more students to become college- and career-ready. The convenings took place at the following universities:

  • Harvard University - July 2014
  • San Diego State University - November 2014
  • University of North Florida - November 2015
  • University of Colorado-Colorado Springs - June 2016