The school counselor is committed to addressing the holistic needs of the entire student body. According to ASCA, professional school counselors serve a vital role in maximizing student success. Through leadership, advocacy and collaboration, professional school counselors promote equity and access to rigorous educational experiences for all students. Professional school counselors support a safe learning environment and work to safeguard the human rights of all members of the school community, and address the needs of all students.
What are the roles of the school counselor?
The school counselor is a professionally trained and certified person whose responsibility it is to help all students grow in academics, personal, social, and career awareness.
- A confidant to students
- A consultant to students, teachers, and parents
- A helper for the struggling individual
- An instructor of a developmental program
- A team member with other professionals
- A coordinator of programs and educational leader
- A source for a wide variety of information
- An interpreter of records and tests
What are the counselor's goals?
The school counselor seeks to help students realize their full potential as unique human beings:
- To develop understanding of themselves and others
- To recognize and make the best use of their own capabilities and the educational opportunities afforded them
- To acquire confidence and self-esteem
- To learn to make their own decisions and to solve problems
- To identify choices in vocational and academic planning
How are these goals accomplished?
The school counselor strives to accomplish these goals by:
- Listening to students
- Observing student behavior
- Conferring and consulting with parents, teachers, administrators, services staff and private agencies and others who interact with students
- Reviewing test results, student records, and student activities
- Helping parents to increase their awareness of developmental changes in their children
- Alerting teachers and administrators to special circumstances which may affect a student's performance and behavior
- Assisting in referral of students to outside agencies when appropriate
- Working with teachers and administrators to develop a challenging and rewarding curriculum and a positive school climate
What can families expect of a school counselor?
A school counselor can be expected to:
- Know each student
- Be available to discuss concerns with students and parents
- Help students to deal with personal problems and emotional concerns
- Be available for individual or group counseling as needs arise and time permits
- Keep information confidential, except in instances where doing so will endanger someone
- Act as moderator among students, parents, and teachers
- Assist in educational planning
- Provide information to students and parents concerning progression from elementary school to middle school, from middle school to high school, from high school to post-high school education or vocations
- Discuss standardized test results with students, parents, and teachers when requested
- Help students to develop decision making skills
- Encourage students to take responsibility for their own behavior
- Share in the maintenance of complete and accurate student record
- Assist in referrals to outside agencies when appropriate
A school counselor can not be expected to:
- Make decisions for students or parents
- Help students to "take the easy way out" to avoid unpleasant consequence their own behavior
- Provide long term counseling
- Act on hearsay
- Reveal information given in confidence
- Subvert school policy
- Make administrative decisions
- Reverse the final decision of a teacher
- Administer or interpret psychological tests
Take the role of a disciplinarian or provide therapy. School counseling is designed to address the normal stresses of childhood and adolescence and is focused upon the educational development of the student. Therapy is the treatment of a disorder. Psychological or psychiatric therapy is designed to treat mental or emotional disturbances which interfere with the functioning of an individual.
The school counselor is an integral part of the school community. The counselor is involved with many school programs such as the Gifted Program, Special Education Support: English as a Second Language, Achievement Teams, Student Assistant Program, and Student Assistant Referral Programs and various others. The School Counselors are the case managers of "504 Service Agreements" as well as assist with homebound instructions. Furthermore, they coordinate student's class schedules, class placement, transitions at all levels and post-secondary plans. Counselors work closely with other professionals in the Department of Student Services and with parent organizations such as Inter School Council, the Home and School Associations, and the Committee for Special Education.