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Whitworth Director of School Counseling Reneé Schoening Wins Washington’s Trailblazer Award

July 2, 2024

Whitworth’s innovative new curriculum for its school counseling program could become a model for other programs across the state, thanks to Reneé Schoening, assistant professor and director of school counseling & social emotional learning graduate programs.

Schoening recently received the inaugural Comprehensive School Counseling Programs (CSCP)  Trailblazer Award from the Washington Office of Superintendent Public Instruction (OSPI) after OSPI employees reviewed her new curriculum design for Whitworth’s M.Ed. in School Counseling program. 

OSPI is beginning to build its statewide recognition program for Comprehensive School Counseling development in support of Senate Bill 5030. Officials asked Schoening if the office could use her program as a model to show faculty in other school counseling preparation programs how to use data at the counselor prep program level to impact student outcomes. 

"We are working hard at Whitworth to prepare our students with rigor and innovative curriculum so that they are well equipped for the demanding work of the field,” Schoening says. “This is done with a priority on building community and wellness practices so that they are also ready to go the long haul.”

Members of the Washington School Counselor Association (WSCA) say they’re proud of the work Schoening is doing.

 “Reneé advocated to adapt the sequence of courses for school counseling students to prepare school counselors for data informed practice by providing courses that align with best practices for a Comprehensive School Counseling Program,” says Lauren Mendez, chief executive officer of the Washington School Counselor Association. 

Those courses include:

Research Methods and Program Evaluation

Trauma Informed/SEL Integrated Classroom Management

Crisis, Trauma & Resilience

School Counseling Program Development 

School, Family & Community Systems

Foundations & Embodiment of SEL

In addition, Schoening’s curriculum calls for a capstone project as part of the internship experience for Whitworth school counseling students specifically aimed at the practical application of what students learn in research and program evaluation. The capstone project supports school counseling students in data-informed practices and will encourage practicing school counselors who serve as site supervisors to utilize more data and adopt more rigorous practices aligned with the ASCA National Model. 

Schoening joined Whitworth University in 2022. Her areas of specialization include school counseling ethics, anxiety and stress management, and social emotional learning. To learn more about Schoening’s research, click here

About Whitworth University:

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private Christian liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university has an enrollment of about 2,500 students and offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Trisha Coder, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or