The Texas School Counselor Association has announced Del Valle Middle School (DVMS) as one of only 62 schools from across the state to win the 2016 CREST (Counselors Reinforcing Excellence for Students in Texas) Award for Counseling Excellence. The award recognizes schools that demonstrate a commitment to use the school guidance and counseling program to improve the lives and achievement of students in academic, career, and personal social domains.
“We are so honored to receive the CREST award,” said Stephanie Lerner, Del Valle Middle School Counselor. “Striving to achieve CREST allowed us to analyze our school counseling program to find both strengths and weaknesses to build upon. One of the great strengths we are so proud of at DVMS is our group counseling program and our data-driven counseling practices. We run 10-15 different psychoeducational support groups per semester and our group data shows the continual academic and discipline progress that students make through participation in these groups.”
Established in 2005, CREST is a continuous improvement document that gives a school counseling program an opportunity to demonstrate effective communication and a commitment to obtaining results. CREST helps counselors evaluate their counseling programs, promote their programs to the stakeholders in their districts, demonstrate the effectiveness of their guidance and counseling programs through empirical means, and implement the Texas and National models for school counseling programs.
CREST looks at the counseling program in seven areas: Principal’s Support, School Counseling Advisory Council, School Climate and Safety, Student Results, Major Achievements, Community Partnerships and Resources, and Parent Collaboration. The guidance support team prepares a document that highlights these areas and communicates just what the counseling program is doing to help students succeed. These documents are sent to reviewers throughout the state of Texas to be judged according to pre-set standards of excellence.
“We wouldn’t be able to achieve the CREST award without the support of our amazing administration,” said Lerner. “Our principal, Mr. James Cruz, believes whole-heartedly in the importance of school counseling and works tirelessly to remove any non-counseling duties from our counselor caseloads so that we are able to have a Texas School Counseling Association (TSCA)-driven school counseling program. Our assistant principals, Mrs. Price, Mr. Neal, and Ms. Vaught, also work on a daily basis to support us in having as much face-to-face time as possible to counsel students. Finally, we would like to thank our school district, our superintendent, Dr. Kelly Crook, and our school board for allowing us to create a school counseling program that is built on TSCA-approved school counseling duties.”