What’s in a name? When it’s the Center for Student Support Systems (CS3) there are plenty of reasons why the moniker is a perfect fit.
Established in December 2002 “to address an urgent need to improve quality in guidance and counseling,” director Lonnie Rowell and his staff — made up of USD graduate students in the School of Leadership and Education Sciences’ counseling program — have shown their commitment through research, professional development, student support program development and evaluation.
Working closely with K-12 counselors, teachers, and school leaders in California, the center has helped improve guidance and counseling at the school site and district levels. Its high-quality, evidence-based student support programs have contributed to positive student outcomes in academic, personal, social and career development.
Bringing experts in the field together to improve communication, facilitate discussion, and focus on solutions has made an annual regional forum on the state of guidance and counseling, hosted by USD, a must-attend event for local school district officials and beyond.
“Keynote speakers have included some of the leading school counseling figures in the U.S.,” Rowell said.
The center has emerged as a national leader in the development and use of action research in school counseling and provides consultation to schools and school districts wishing to improve practice through action research.
“Since 2003, CS3 has collaborated with local school counselors and school districts on more than 30 collaborative action research projects in which teams of graduate students in school counseling have been assigned to work with local practitioners on strengthening the practice of school counseling,” Rowell said.
Additionally, Rowell said it’s the only center on the West Coast for school counseling that integrates research with professional development and training as well as policy development and dissemination.
Despite successes the center has enjoyed to date, Rowell doesn’t rest on his laurels. He said he certainly recognizes “a need for student support programs and services capable of addressing the wide variety of issues and concerns brought to school each day in increasing numbers of K-12 students.”
Closing in on the center’s 10-year anniversary, Rowell knows he’s involved in a work-in-progress center. He aims to maintain its effectiveness in an ever-changing climate and to establish the CS3 name as a continuing legacy.
— Ryan T. Blystone