THE BLOG
06/22/2012 06:31 pm ET | Updated Aug 22, 2012

As School Ends, No Summer Tests, a Call for More Counselor Training, and Reaching the Finish Line

Now that it's the end of June, it's time to tidy up a few odds and ends from recent columns before we look ahead to the next school year.

A recent column called attention to College Board's plan to offer the SAT this summer at a pricey camp that focuses on college admission skills. While counselors have long asked for summer test dates, the limited offering of the trial run raised many questions among school counselors, including concern that College Board was taking an approach to summer testing that seemed elitist.

No sooner had this column hit the airwaves, and College Board decided to cancel their summer plans. A College Board spokesperson said the program was cancelled because College Board wasn't sure if "all aspects of the program were aligned with our mission." More than a few school counselors were relieved to hear this news, but many also wondered why this alignment issue hadn't occurred to College Board before they announced the program. Either way, this summer is once again test free.

Another column called on President Obama to issue an Executive Order requiring all school counselors to have specific training in college advising. Most students and parents don't know that school counselors have little or no training in this important area before they become counselors, and many don't get any once they're on the job.

This absence of training was addressed in a more academic way this week, when the National Association for College Admission Counseling released a white paper on this important issue. "Professional College Knowledge: Re-envisoning (sic) How We Prepare Our College Readiness Workforce" takes a comprehensive look at the psychological, sociological, economic, and political groundwork counselors need to know when helping students and families build strong college plans.

The paper concludes "The absence of coursework addressing college counseling has left school counselors, admission personnel, and independent and nonprofit college access workers without the theoretical foundations, best practices, and data that would otherwise inform their practice." It also includes eight recommendations to improve the state of counselor readiness in college counseling, including the adoption of a requirement that all counselors have this training before being allowed to practice, and a requirement that all current counselors have this training as a condition of recertification.

In other words, Mr. President, seal the deal. The parent of every high school student will not only vote for you -- they may make you king.

Finally, the column on why high school is hard challenged runners in the Detroit area to come out in force to support a local family in need by running a 5K race on a Friday night. I'm delighted to say the race was a huge success, as over 2,000 runners braved a very humid night to run a course that was lined with well-wishers, water stations, and one really smart guy with a hose who sprayed runners at will.

I can't say I set any personal bests on the course that night, as I brought up the rear of the race in my usual terrapin-like style. The race did include one first for me; I won a gift card as a door price at the post-run party, but since I wasn't there, they mailed it to me. You usually have to be present to win these things, but the organizers of this race thought making it to the finish line was enough of an accomplishment.

Suffice it to say, I'll be back for next year's run, no matter what.