Component 4…Proof of being an Effective and Reflective Practioner

School Counselors who work on NBPTS Component 4 (C-4) are stretched to show their ability to use data to guide their instruction, data to monitor their school counseling program, and data within PLC leadership/collaboration.

Yup….it’s about gathering and use of data to show the effectiveness of your school counseling decisions and reflecting on your work…where are you now, where do you need to be in light of the ECYA-SC standards, and how are you going to get there.

Here are 6 tips to guide your C-4 work.


  • Use the 7 forms to describe your NB process.
  • Use your responses to the corresponding prompts to embellish the information.

In other words, use descriptive writing when answering questions on the form (telling “what”).  You can use bullets to make your evidence clear.

Use analysis and reflective writing in the prompt responses (telling “how” and “why”).

All in all, National Board is giving you more room to tell your story of how you are meeting C-4 requirments and C-4 standards.

2.   USING THE IDEA OF GROUP”:  Focus on the group  of students, not the individuals.  Your unit of instruction (more than 1 lesson makes up a unit) is created for a group of students (any size is OK) who have a common need.

  • What data will you use to identify the common need?
  • What data will you use to identify the group of students who have that common need?
  • How will  you analyze and show group assessment results which you use to monitor the student learning in light of the common need?

3.    USING ASSESSMENT TOOLS: C-4 gives you the opportunity to show your knowledge of formative assessment, summative assessment and student self assessment.

  • You must do this:  show your use of recursive formative assessment throughout your unit, submit a sample of one formative assessment activity, and examples of group data results, and how those results impact your work.
  • You must do this:  show your use of summative assessment, submit a sample of your summative assessment, example of group summative assessment results, and how those results impact your work.
  • You must do this:  show your use of student self assessment, submit samples of your student self assessment, from three students, and show how these students use their self assessment results to guide their movement toward reaching your unit/lesson goals.

4.    PERSONAL PROFESSIONAL GROWTH –  C-4 gives you the opportunity to showcase your professional growth in light of an identified need.  This need can be broader than the need identified for you unit of instruction.

  • Use data to identify a need which can be school wide, district wide or larger.
  • What do you need to learn to effectively address the need?
  • What is the result of meeting your learning need?  How does this connect with student learning?

5.  WORKING WITH A PLC: Who do you collaborate with to use your professional learning to create together an action plan to effectively address the need?

  • How do you enact the action plan?
  • How do you use data to monitor the action plan and student learning?

6.  ENGAGEMENT IN REFLECTION: This is a key C-4 element (it’s part of the C-4 name).

  • How can you show that you are an on-going learner?
  • How can you effectively show that you are aware of your strengths, of your weak areas, and your personal action plan in light of your C-4 topics.


The Use of Data in School Counseling, Trish Hatch.

I hope this information is helpful to you.  You can contact me through Washington State University (WSU-Go Cougs!)  NBPTS school counselor support website.

More later,



Have you been wondering whether National Board (NBPTS) is right for you?  Have you read the  research showing how National Board certified school counselors and teachers  are making significant impact on student achievement?  Are you wondering:

 “Why should I start the National Board process?”

Here are 3 reasons for School Counselors to pursue

National Board (NBPTS) certification.

  1. Validate you school counseling work. The National Board process gives you the remarkable opportunity to reflect on what you do and analyze why you do it while showing off your impact on your school and students.   Toot your horn!
  2. Become the best that you can be. The National Board process is NOT an entry level certification process. It IS an invitation challenging you to work toward meeting the high level of the Five Core Propositions of what school counselors and teachers need to know and be able to do.   We are considered teachers as we work with individual students, small groups, and whole classrooms aligning our work with the career, social emotional and academic domains of the ASCA National Model.   NBPTS recognizes this by including school counseling as one of the 25 NBPTS certification areas, lifting us up to the challenge of meeting NBPTS school counselor standards.
  3. . Enjoy professional benefits of NB certification. Policymakers and education leaders see great value in NBPTS Certification. 54% of states offer salary incentives for achieving certification. 37% offer first-time candidate financial support. (2016)   NBPTS certification provides inter-state certification among most states. NBPTS certification opens the doors for school counseling leadership opportunities in your school, district, state school counseling associations.


Take advantage of the new 3.0 National Board process.   Now NB candidates have personal options. One year, two years, three years… can make your choice for completing the four NB components to meet your personal and professional needs. Two simple rules:

  • Each component can be completed in one school year.
  • All four components must be attempted during the first three years. Two additional years are allowed to meet full certification confirmation.

Check out the NBPTS website created for school counselors and teachers interested in being involved with the 3.0 National Board process.

Contact me with questions regarding NBPTS certification for School Counselors.

All for now,   Jane

Curious about Component 3?

The National Board ECYA-SC Component 3 Portfolio Instructions were released in October 2015.  It has taken me a long time as an NB facilitator to wrap my brain around the process even after thorough training from our state National Board trainers.  It’s quite different from Component 2.  I like it!  Here are four important C-3  criteria that I have learned.

1.  C-3 gives you a chance to showcase your school counseling work in 2 lessons.

2. Each lesson must be from a different unit of instruction.

  •  Each unit gives you the opportunity to show the breadth of your school counseling work.  That means that you will want to show your ability to work with different numbers of students.  So, one unit could feature a small group, another could be classroom or individual student. You will showcase one lesson from each unit.

3. The two videos combined must show the depth  of your school counseling knowledge.

  • That means that between the two videos  you must show evidence of instruction from all three domains (academic, personal/social, and career).  That’s a good thing because so often our work addresses competencies from more than one domain during a lesson. Here’s our chance to show it off.

4. Each lesson includes several specific pieces of evidence:

  • one 10-15 minute video
  •  examples of your instructional materials
  • completed Instructional Context Form and Instructional Planning Form
  • a 2-page description of your school counseling and instructional planning
  • a 4-page analysis and reflection written commentary.

-that means 6 pages of writing plus 2 completed forms plus copies of your instructional materials, plus one video…..for each focus lesson.

 C-3 = 30% of your total NB score.

I love the C-3 focus. There are two aspects:

  • First, showcase your ability to create a learning environment. Ensuring a safe, fair, equitable learning environment is so easy for school counselors.  It’s our natural role. Add to that, “challenging”…and we’re off and running because our job is to teach those new skills to students that help them become a great learner.
  • Second, showcase your school counseling and instructional practice.  Once again, this is a chance to show our knowledge of those wonderfully useful school counseling theory-based strategies and techniques that we use with our students.

The bottom line is in your planning.  Plan….plan…..plan.  Think about identified need, 2 units, 2 focus lessons, lots of video.  Think about time for analyzing, reflection, writing and rewriting.

More later…..



ANOTHER LEARNING MOMENT – The 5 Core Propositions

Do you know The 5 Core Propositions?  If you are an NB candidate, this is a must read and know document.

Last week I was getting ready for my Foundations Seminar.  One topic that we cover during the seminar is the connection between the 5 Core Propositions and our ECYA-SC NB Standards.   I thought, “Since this is required reading, I’d better get on the ball and re-read the document myself“.   I am so glad that I did!

nlyl_reading_man_with_glassesThe policy statement containing the 5 Core Propositions is called, What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do”.

Personally, I substitute the words, “School Counselors” for “Teachers” because this emphasizes the structure of our role as School Counselors in the teaching/learning process.

The document starts with NB history and a  summary of each proposition.   I decided to “go for the gold” by reading the details which starts on page 8.

I think that this document is not an “easy read”, even though I thought it was in the past.   This time I highlighted sections as they popped out to me. I found myself reflecting on my own practice thinking…. “Sure, I do this”… then,“How do I do this?” … “Could I write a specific example of doing this?”… finally “Why do I do this?” I was exhausted  and had to stop after reading each section to water a plant or read an email just to clean my brain and sort out the information. I was reading this document with new eyes.


Here are 2 things that I learned which surprised me…(my “ah ha” moment)

  •  Core Proposition #2 ( School Counselors Know the Subject matter that they Teach and How to teach it) is all about WHAT I KNOW.  I began asking myself, “What do I have in my counseling/teaching toolkit?”  “How diverse is my repertoire of strategies and skills?”  “How deep is my knowledge of the background of these skills and techniques?”     What do I know now that I didn’t know last year at this time?
  • On the other hand,  Core Proposition #3 (School Counselors are Responsible for Managing and Monitoring Student Learning) is all about APPLICATION OF WHAT I KNOW.  For example, how do I use the skills & techniques that are in my toolki  I was creatively stretched when I read the words:

Teaching to the accomplished (School Counselor) is an elegant web of alternative activities in which the students are engaged with the content, sometimes with the (school counselor), sometimes with each other, sometimes alone (p.13).

I thought….”Waaaaa, I’ve only got 20 minutes….direct instruction is so quick!”  I learned that having a vast knowledge of strategies and techniques is amazing, but if I don’t know how to apply those strategies and techniques  my time is wasted. I asked myself, “How do I know that my students are learning?” “How are they different at the end of their time with me than they were at the beginning?”  “When am I teaching students?”  “How do I enhance classroom teacher curricula and impact school climate?”

In other words, I need to know how to identify  the competenciees which my students need to learn.  know how to teach/intervene so the kids will be receptive, and monitor the results. That is managing and monitoring student learning.

Here’s my summer challenge for you.  Stretch yourself!   Prepare for your upcoming NB work by reading   What Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do”.   What will surprise you?

P1010187  Happy Growing!  -Jane


IT’S SUMMERTIME! What can you do to prepare for working on your National Board component entries?  Here are 3 practical suggestions that you can use this summer to help you prepare for each of the three released components.


If you are planning on working on Component #1 you can:

  1. Get to know the ASCA model. Read and reread! Highlight areas of strength and areas of weakness.  Know the content.
  2. Learn about diverse populations. What are the primary cultures in the U.S.? What are the cultural differences? What specific counseling skills would work best for different cultures? What do you do to meet the needs of your diverse populations in your school?
  3. Review counseling theories and counseling techniques…Who are the primary counseling theorists? Who are the emerging theorists? How full is your toolkit of counseling strategies and techniques?

If you are planning on working on Component #2 (Differentiation of Instruction) you can:

  1. Make a list of 3 specific problems that you have noticed in your school from the Personal/Social Domain. Choose one problem to address through a small group format? What does the problem look like?  Sound like?  Who is impacted?   Got data to support your selection?  What needs to change?  How will that happen? What is your vision of an improved school climate  because of your interventions?
  2. Think about how would you select the students for your group.
    • What do you know about these students?  What are their strengths?
    •  Who would you collaborate with to learn more?
    •  What skills/strategies do these students need to learn to  address the competencies that they are lacking?
  3. Think about what skills would you teach during a series of connected group sessions?
    • How would you clearly and convincingly show differentiation in your instructional approaches, in your materials and in your assessment to meet your students’ needs?
    • How would your students practice their new skills during your sessions?
    • What type of student work could you use to assess student learning
    • How would you use that student work to analyze your counseling and instructional process?

If you are planning on working on Component #3 you can:

  1. Think about how you address Academic, Career and Personal/Social Domains in your School Counseling Program.
  2. Think about two lessons that you could use as focus lessons, different in nature (in other words, from 2 different domains).
    • What would be high & worthwhile goals for your lessons?
    • How would you show clear and convincing evidence of developmentally appropriate school counseling instructional practices?
    • How would you provide opportunities for highly interactive student engagement during your lessons?
    •  How would you create a challenging, student-centered learning environment including problem solving, questioning, consensus building?
    • How would your interventions impact your school climate?
  3. Think about what skills you would teach.
    •  Why are they important skills for your students to learn?
    • How would you monitor and evaluate student learning and provide feedback to your students?
    • How would you effectively use two 10-15 minute videos of your instructional process to:
      •  analyze your personal school counseling knowledge
      • analyze your work with your students,
      • analyze improvement in student learning
      • analyze improvement in your counseling practice?

Summer is a great time for thinking, processessing and preparing.  Enjoy reflecting!                                                       MB900422256


Are you a school counselor who is working on NBPTS Component #2 (Differentiation of Learning)?

Are you struggling with the component requirements?

I hear  too often:   “This sounds so much like we’re being asked to be teachers.”  Well, we are teachers…every day. We teach our students the skills that they need to know and be able to do to be successful learners. However, we get to teach the “fun stuff” like…..

  •  conflict management skills (Personal Social Domain),
  •  learning styles and goal setting (Academic Domain), and
  • knowledge of personal strengths & abilities (Career Domain).

We can proudly say “Thank you” National Boardfor recognizing and including School Counseling  as one of the 25 certification areas.



Counselor focus: (Component #2 gives you an opportunity to:

  • Showcase your ability to impact your school climate
  • Showcase your Group Process skills (how many times have you heard “Please fix these kids!”)
  • Intentionally select a group of students
  • learn about their strengths and weaknesses to help you make your best choices to prepare and run your group sessions.
  • Teach skills to solve the problems which they are creating with their misbehavior (preventing teachers and peers from doing their jobs of teaching and learning)

The teacher focus: (Component #2 gives you an opportunity to:

  • Showcase your ability to teach your students in light of the Architecture of Accomplished Teaching/School Counseling.
  • Set your session goals based upon what your students need to learn (identified competencies) and what you know about your students
  • Teach according to a clear plan (this is sometimes called your lesson plan, your agenda, your instructional sequence….)
  • Include these three steps in your plan: (first, your instruction. (The first opportunity to show how you differentiate your instruction based upon what you know about your students)  Second, an activity giving an opportunity to practice the new learning.   Third, give an assignment (another opportunity to show your skill at differentiation)   The assignment must result in some student work which gives you assessment information and ideas for your next step. You will analyze the student work and submit it as evidence of your process.

The National Board focus:

  • Describe what you do
  • Analyze how and why you make your instructional choices
  • Reflect on your work, what you do well, what you need to learn.

NBPTS School Counselor Field Tests


HEY SCHOOL COUNSELORS!  National Board needs your help in norming the selected response section of the new Component #1 Assessment Center section of the National Board process.

What does this mean?  Well, NBPTS  candidates now need to complete 4 components during their  National Board certification process.    Each of these components needs to be supported by statistical evidence for validity.   Component #1 is now going through the field test process.   That means that National Board needs school counselors who are willing to “practice test”  the assessment.  The field test window is NOW OPEN for the selected response section of the Component #1 fieldthese opportunities.  National Board needs YOU.

  • Invite your school counselor colleagues to go with you
  • Invite your school counselor interns to participate


  1. You will have a “sneak peek” in the new Component #1 (assessment center)  process…a great opportunity if you are thinking about NBPTS certification.
  2. You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are providing meaningful data for final NBPTS component #1 decisions.

The National Board is actively recruiting school counselors as well as undergraduate and graduate students seeking a school counseling license to participate in field tests of the revised National Board Certification process. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE NBPTS BOARD CERTIFIED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE FIELD TESTS.   Find out more about the certification process by test driving the new board certification assessment.  Click here for information.

  •  no cost
  • no risk.

The field test window is open through October 13, 2014.   Share the news with your colleagues and sign up today!

This is a one-time opportunity.  Join me in being able to say:

 “I was a NBPTS Field Tester!”  


Have you been wondering whether National Board (NBPTS) is right for you?  Have you heard about the research showing how National Board certified teachers and school counselors are making significant impact on student achievement?  Are you wondering  “Why should I start the National Board process?”

Here are 5 suggestions for 2015-16 School Counselor National Board candidates…and School Counselors who are curious about National Board  (is that YOU?)

1.  Learn about the current upgrading of the NBPTS process. The new 3.0 NBPTS process includes the successful completion of 4 Components.

  • Component #1 and Component #2 will be released and available for 2014-15 candidates.  Candidates can complete Component #1, or Component #2, or both.
  • Component #3 will be available for 2015-16 candidates.  New candidates can complete any of the released components, or all three components.
  • Component #4 will be available for 2016-17 candidates.  New candidates can complete any of the released components, or all four components.
  • click for more information

2.  Check your state’s candidate support system opportunities.  We are so fortunate here in Washington State.  We not only have a system of candidate support cohorts facilitated by trained and certificated facilitators, (check out my  on-line cohorts specifically for school counselors), but also annual stipends.

3.  Check out the NBPTS standards for School Counselors.  The 11  standards were created by school counselors and others having close connection with school counselors (such as ASCA)  creating the highest standards for school counselors in the U.S. The standards, stating what school counselors need to know and be able to do, include categories such as:

  • School Counseling Program
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Counseling Skills and Techniques
  • School Climate
  • Collaboration with Families and Community

4.  Check out the new NBPTS website created for candidates interested in being involved with the new National Board process.

5.  Be involved in Component #1 field test opportunity.  Yes, YOU can get an idea of what the assessment center (component #1) experience may be like and give important feedback to National Board as they create the final Assessment Center exercises.

Contact me with questions regarding NBPTS certification for School Counselors.  

All for now,





What are Entry 1 Analysis prompts asking?


Do the Analysis of Student Work prompts in Entry 1 sound like gobbledygook?  Are you asking, “What are they talking about?”

Part of the process in answering these prompts is understanding the terms.   National Board is looking for a particular process within your Entry 1  group session:  instruction, activity, assignment, student work.

1. INSTRUCTION:  This is the skill/strategy/information that you are teaching during the session.  Obviously, your  students need the instruction because they are lacking important  competencies in the personal/social area. That’s why you have identified them to be out of class and work with you.  These competencies are important to the student in order to maintain a school climate which is conducive for learning and teaching.  For example, if students are needing anger management skills,  instruction may be a strategy to use when dealing with “a bossy teacher”.

2. ACTIVITY:  The activity gives the students an opportunity to practice the skill/strategy/information which you taught in the instruction section.  The activity can be a discussion, game, role play, or any other technique which gives the students an opportunity to practice the new skill/s in the safety of your counseling environment.

3.  ASSIGNMENT:  The assignment is the set of directions for completing the student work,   Examples of an assignment might be, draw a picture, answer the questions, fill in the journal responses.

4. STUDENT WORK:  The student work is the product of the assignment, the students’  opportunity to show application of the new skill/strategy/information in your instruction.  It is important that the content of the student work provides an opportunity to provide rich information for your analysis and for identifying your next steps.


1.  What was the assignment that prompted the completion of the student work.   Clearly, this prompt gives you the opportunity to analyze the assignment that you gave your students  to complete the student work.   Name the assignment and analyze it.    Why did you create this type of assignment for this particular group of students? What were your motives?  Why did you include/create the specific questions?    What  did you did you hope to learn from the results?  How does this assignment help you achieve your session goals?

2. What pattern, if any, is evident in the student work samples?  This gives you the opportunity to analyze the student work. What are the students learning?  What are they not learning? What are YOU learning?  What are your thoughts as you review the work samples….your interpretations?  What is the connection between the responses and the identified need?  How do you know that there is application of what you taught?

3.  How does the session and activity connect with the session goals and student competencies (student need)? Think about the session as a whole.   Analyze the activity.  How does the entire session and the activity help achieve the session goals?  How does the activity help students practice what they need to know and be able to do?  How do you know this?  Give examples.  Prove it. Share your insights.

4.  How do the  student samples inform your understanding of the needs of the specific students and other students in the group.  National Board is looking for your ability to draw conclusions from your analysis of the student work. National Board is also looking for knowledge of your students and what they need (the competencies that they are lacking).    What have you learned about  their learning?  Did they “get” your instruction? Do you think they will be able to apply their new skill/strategy/information when they are in the “real world”?   What are your projections?  How do you know that?  Why?

5.  What aspects of the structured activity and specifically of the student work provided you with information regarding your future work with these students.  This is your opportunity to analyze your work… what you did to provide practice during the activity and  what you created in the student work samples  to provide valuable information for your next step.  What did you learn as you watched/listened to your  students as they were involved in the activity?  What did you learn when you were reviewing the responses/drawings in the student work?  How can you connect that information with what you know about the students?  What are your next steps?

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any additional thoughts.   -Jane


This post is focusing on the super hard and worthwhile  process of ANALYSIS.   Entries 1, 2 and 3 have a section of prompts devoted to analysis called, Video Recording Analysis (entries 1 and 3 ) or Analysis of Student Work (entry 2).

Here are 4 QUESTIONS  to consider when you are responding to analysis prompts.

1.  Am I  clearly presenting my thought process and feelings when I am analyzing  my student’s written responses (entry 1) or analyzing  my video recording (entry 2 & 3)?

  •  “I felt surprised when….”
  •  “When I read Thomas’ response I knew that…….”
  • “I decided to……..when I heard………”
  • “As you can see in min. 3 that  I started to say………..then I changed to………….because………”

2.  Am I portraying my insight in my prompt responses?

  • “I looked at Cheri’s drawing and immediately noticed the pattern of…………which I connected with………… and decided……..”
  • “I knew that Jamie’s passion was art so I………..”
  • “I remembered what Jose’s mom had told me about……….so I decided to………….because I thought that would………..”

3.  Am I including rationale to back up my evidence?

  • “I used the empty chair technque  because I suspected that…………”
  • “As I listened to group 2 brainstorm their career list I decided to…………….because I thought that………….”
  • “As I watched my group interact I……….because I wanted …………”

4. Am I showing the process or the steps  that I used to come to my conclusion? 

  • “One process that I used as I walked from group to group was stop, watch, question.  I thought this would be useful because……..and I learned….”
  •  “I selected this activity by using this process:  reflection on my students’ needs, reflection of my students’ background and reflection on my session goals.  I did this because……..:
  • “I took these steps to look for a pattern in Cierra’s written work.  First I ……….Second I………Third……..”
  •  “The process which I decided to use to ensure collaboration in designing the AIP was…………..because I had a hunch that………..”

The analysis section is all about YOU.  Share your thoughts and feelings, your insights and rationale.  Most of all, share how this analysis impacts your future work.

I hope this information will be helpful to you!