• Alaska Elementary School Counseling: Current Practices And Future Directions

      McMorrow, Samantha Gale; Morotti, Allan (2010)
      Professional school counseling has roots as far back as the nineteenth century in the United States. Along the way there have been many changes in title and duties for the school counselor, who by recommendation of the American School Counseling Association as well as the state of Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, acts as the professional leading the comprehensive counseling program. Elementary comprehensive counseling programs are designed to be developmental in nature and preventative in practice. Additionally, they are intended to make the counseling program available to all students, not just those who are high achieving or at risk within the school community. However, there is a great deal of variance in how programs operate in Alaska. This research used mail surveys to gather data from potentially all elementary school counselors in the state of Alaska. Data were then considered in regards to the suggested comprehensive counseling program to evaluate and produce informed recommendations. One of the specific challenges that Alaskan elementary school counselors face is that of larger than recommended student-to-counselor ratios. Additionally, many counselors are operating in more than one school. Counselors working in the field suggest that curriculum is a much needed resource as well as recommendations that a counseling coordinator be employed to assist in bringing a more uniformed structure to counseling programs in the state of Alaska. School counseling, as well as education in general, has undergone many changes over the last century. Counseling programs in Alaska will need to continue to change and adapt if they are to meet the needs of students and communities.
    • Protective Factors Promoting Psychosocial Resilience In Biracial Youths

      Kawakami-Schwarber, Gail K.; Morotti, Alan (2010)
      Resilience in adolescents is the achievement of positive outcomes and the attainment of developmental tasks in the face of significant risk. This study identified protective factors promoting resilience in the development of positive self-identity in biracial youths. The rapidly rising biracial youth population is a vulnerable group facing potentially higher risks for mental health and behavioral issues compared to their monoracial counterparts. Identity development, a central psychosocial task of adolescence, is a complex task for biracial youths since they must integrate two ethnic identities. For biracial youths, mastery of the psychosocial identity developmental task can be daunting as they face stressors such as racial stigmas and negative stereotypes, which may lead to identity problems manifesting during adolescence. Sixteen biracial individuals ranging from age 18 to 29 years participated in this qualitative research project. Comparisons were made to identify patterns and themes for factors affecting self-esteem and ethnic identity level among the participants. Brought to light were culturally-based protective factors stemming from individual, family, and social domains promoting psychosocial resilience in fostering healthy biracial identity resolution. Risk factors unique for the biracial population were also identified. The findings underscore the importance in understanding how the environment shapes and influences the ways biracial youth negotiate their dual identity. The research results can be integrated into appropriate prevention and intervention techniques for application by professionals and families to further healthy identity resolution in biracial youths.