School counselors will soon be able to apply for the U.S. Department of Education’s School Ambassador fellowships, the department announced on Friday.
The ambassador program seeks to connect those working in schools with their peers, and promote their views with respect to public policy. The program already includes the Teacher Ambassador Fellows, which is in its 10th year, and the Principal Ambassador Fellows, which is in its third year. The former is intended to “create a community of teacher leaders” and help involve teachers in policymaking that impacts the classroom, and the latter is designed to help improve the recruitment and retention of principals, among other things. The newest round of Principal Ambassador Fellows was announced in August.
Counselors will be considered for the next set of ambassadors for the 2017-18 school year.
The Department is expanding the fellowships to include counselors in order to incorporate their perspectives on a variety of issues, from students’ socio-emotional needs to improving graduation rates. The announcement was made in conjunction with the final meeting of Reach Higher, an initiative begun by first lady Michelle Obama intended to help students complete some form of education after high school.
Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. noted that his mother was a school counselor, and that those in her profession help students and others “enlarge their vision of what is possible and take advantage of educational opportunities.”
“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 in a statement.