History of the Virginia School Counselor Association

1952 – The American School Counselor Association is founded to support the growing needs of school counselors through advocacy, professional development, research and professional literature.

April 18, 1962* – The Virginia School Counselor Association (VSCA) becomes one of the first state chartered divisions of ASCA (along with Hawaii, Ohio, and Utah.) The first president of VSCA was Mary Ashton.

VSCA was also a division of the Virginia Personnel and Guidance Association, which is now Virginia Counselors Association.

– There were divisions within VSCA at the elementary, middle, secondary, and post-secondary levels. Each level had a vice-president within VSCA.

*The earliest records of VSCA were not available until the 1970s.

1972 – The Virginia Elementary School Counselor Association (VESCA) establishes its own constitution and elected its own President.

1973 – School counselors without classroom teaching experience could obtain a provisional certificate in the state of Virginia.

1977 – VESCA and VSCA merged once again having a vice president for each level on the VSCA Board.

1979 – VSCA sponsors the Elementary Guidance Conference in Richmond in June.

1979 - Virginia receives the International Year of the Child Award at the American Personnel and Guidance Association (APGA conference in Las Vegas.)

1981 – The Virginia General Assembly recommends a ratio of one counselor per 500 students.

1982 – Requirements for endorsement as a school counselor were amended to include two years of successful teaching experience and provided separate certification at elementary, middle, and secondary levels.

1986 – The Virginia Board of Education passed a resolution that would put elementary school counselors in every school by the 1989-90 school year.

1987 – The Virginia Board of Education required (via Standards of Quality) that each member of the guidance staff would provide 60% of their time in direct service to students.

1991-92 – The federal Elementary Demonstration Act supported elementary counselors and provided funding for school counselors preK-12.

1992-93 – The Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) proposed legislation that opposed “therapeutic counseling” on school property without informed consent of a parent. VSCA lobbied against this legislation and provided information about the role of the school counselors to key stakeholders.

1993 – The American School Counselor Association Conference is held in McLean, VA.

1997 – The Virginia Board of Education modifies the Standards of Accreditation to allow local school districts to hire reading specialists instead of elementary school counselors. VSCA rallies against this movement.

1998 – The Virginia General Assembly overwhelmingly passes two bills to make counseling part of every public elementary school in the state.  The governor vetoed both bills.

1999-2000 – Virginia’s school counselors launch the Millennium Mandate and in 2000, the Virginia General Assembly reinstitutes language in the Standards of Accreditation mandating elementary school counselors.

2003 – VSCA sponsors several professional development workshops on the ASCA National Model.

2004 – A School Counseling Specialist is hired at the state level (Dr. Sylinda Gilchrist-Banks).

2005 – VSCA develops a 5-year Strategic Plan aimed at meeting the needs of Virginia’s School Counselors.

2006 – A statewide survey is launched to determine the professional development needs of Virginia’s School counselors. Results indicate that school counselors are aware of and know the ASCA National Model but are unsure how to implement it. Results also showed a gap in school counselors providing career counseling and group counseling.

2006 – VSCA approached VCA Executive Director & VCA President to discuss options in dues to help offset the expenses of hiring consultant to assist the conference, website and other administrative tasks. VSCA was directed to raise dues to cover additional expenses. VSCA decided to explore other options and maintain the current dues.

2005 – 2007 – VSCA membership reaches over 1300 members.

2007 – 2008 – VSCA tasks a writing team to develop a manual to assist school counselors in developing a comprehensive school counseling program.

2007 – VSCA representation attends “Town Hall” meetings across the state to advocate for testing and/or assessment coordinators who would relieve school counselors of testing responsibilities. While the assembly voted FOR the position of Testing/Assessment Coordinator at a ratio of 1 per 1000 students, the funding was not available.

2008 – VSCA becomes incorporated and secures its own Tax ID #.

2008 – The Virginia Professional School Counseling Manual is published and school counselors across the state are trained using the manual.

2009– The School Counseling Specialist position is eliminated at the state level. Moved into a Career and Technical Education role.

2010-11 – VSCA creates a Task Force to explore the options of maintaining separate membership from VCA.

2010-11 – VSCA retains a database company (RunMyClub) to allow for conference registration, website and membership records maintained by VSCA Board designees.

2011 – VSCA membership drops to below 800 members.

2011  Fall – The VSCA Board votes unanimously to pursue independent membership and informs the membership in December.

2012, March 14-16 – VSCA celebrates 50 years as an established organization at its annual conference in Newport News, VA.

2012, April – VSCA amends its by-laws, removing itself as a division of VCA and allowing  independent membership to VSCA . The membership votes (51.5%) to accept the amendments and the dues change.

July 1, 2012 – VSCA begins its new membership structure.

This history compiled from records compiled by Dr. Norma Day Vines (June 2, 2001) and past-VSCA Presidents since 2005.