Eleven University of Iowa College of Education students gained a new perspective on how education policy decisions are made at the top levels during a recent visit to the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines.
The trip was hosted by the Iowa Association for College Admission Counseling and the Iowa School Counselors Association. This is the sixth year the groups have offered the opportunity to UI College of Education students to participate in the Iowa School Counselor's Day on the Hill event.
Carol Klose Smith, a clinical assistant professor of school counseling in the college’s Department of Rehabilitation and Counselor Education, went with the students, who are members of the Iowa School Counselors Association.
Students spent the morning engaged in learning about legislative advocacy and the legislative issues that are being considered in the Iowa house and senate. Initiatives on school safety and bullying as well as suicide prevention are being considered by both the house and senate this year. Students and faculty spent the afternoon meeting with their legislators and speaking with them about issues that impact the profession of school counseling and services to children.
Smith says the visit helps students gain an appreciation for and understanding of the legislative process.
“Students gain an understanding and perspective of the legislative advocacy process," Smith says. "They learn about issues and concerns impacting Iowa and how legislation impacts the profession of school counseling. Providing opportunities like Day on the Hill demystifies the whole process and puts students in the position of talking about their passion—providing effective school counseling services to students.”
“They learn about issues and concerns impacting Iowa and its students and gain a really good understanding of advocacy and how they can be involved in the process,” Smith says.
School counseling graduate students and faculty discuss issues with Iowa legislators in the State Capitol. Pictured, from left, back row: Gary Curtis (school counseling instructor), Carrie Neihaus, Haylie Miller and Rep. Vicki Lensing. Front row: Megan Snyder, Katelyn McAdam, Carol Klose Smith (school counseling faculty), and Rep. Mary Mascher. Not pictured: Sue Farran, Sara Koslowski, Victoria Lin, Tawanda Owens, and Taylor O'Tool. Photo courtesy of the College of Education.