This article analyzes the roles of counselors in the Puente program, a reform designed to address weak high school counseling. Puente counselors arrange group meetings about college, cooperate with English teachers, set up meetings with parents to encourage participation in their children's academic lives, arrange field trips to colleges, and carry out many other activities beyond conventional roles.
The counselors' perspectives about students and parents reveal the complexity of Puente and of moving students toward college. Several problems continue to plague Puente—many of which are common to other school reform efforts—including inadequate staff development, insufficient funding, and inconsistent support from schools. Nevertheless, Puente provides a compelling model of how counseling roles, particularly in small learning communities, can be more effectively leveraged to enhance the progress of all students.
This article was published in Education Policy, vol. 16, issue 4.