Parents often wonder what school counselors do on a daily basis. The more important question is not "What do school counselors do?" but "How are your children different because of what school counselors do?" Here is some information to help you understand what your school counselor can do for your child.
Professional school counselors are specially trained professionals who understand and respond to the challenges presented by today's diverse populations. They don't work in isolation; instead, they are integral to the school's total educational program. School counselors help prepare students for success in the ever-changing world of the 21st century.
School counselors help students:
- improve academic achievement
- plan and prepare for productive and fulfilling careers
- develop the personal and social skills they'll need as
- contributing and responsible members of society.
Professional school counselors are educators trained in school counseling, just as other educators are trained in math, science or English. Most school counselors hold a master's degree or higher, and all are licensed or certified by the state. They develop and implement comprehensive school counseling programs designed to meet the needs of every student. Through these programs, school counselors provide classroom guidance lessons, individual student planning, responsive services and system support.
Classroom guidance lessons help students understand themselves and others. Through classroom guidance, school counselors help students develop peer relationships, effective social skills, decision-making and study skills, effective communications, conflict resolution and coping strategies and more.
Individual student planning helps students set goals, establish academic and career plans, understand their own strengths and weaknesses and prepare for the transition to the next stage of their life.
Responsive services assist students with particular needs, such as adjusting to a new school, coping with grief following a crisis, dealing with substance abuse or other risky behaviors. Responsive services are provided through individual and small-group counseling, peer facilitation, and consultation and referrals to professionals trained in mental health, welfare and other specialties.
System support enhances school climate and relationships among members of the school community. School counselors coordinate parent outreach services, community support services and consultations with other faculty and staff to facilitate collaboration and a greater understanding of students' developmental needs.
Professional school counselors help students at each level meet particular challenges.
Elementary: Early childhood is marked by the formation of attitudes about school, self, peers, social groups and family. Students develop decision-making, communication and life-training skills; character values; as well as feelings of dignity and self-worth.
Middle school/junior high: Early adolescence is an exciting, yet challenging time for students. Transition is the key word. Through the middle school years, children experience rapid physical and psychological changes, characterized by a search for their own unique identity; a need to explore a variety of interests; heavy reliance on friends and peers for comfort, understanding and approval; less reliance on parents and family; extreme sensitivity to comments from others; and high levels of activity coupled with frequent fatigue.
High school: Adolescence is the final transition into adulthood and the world of work.. Students decide who they are, what they do well and what they will do when they graduate from high school. They are searching for a place to belong and need guidance in making concrete decisions. Adolescent years are characterized by evaluation of strengths, skills and abilities; reliance on peer acceptance and feedback; separation from parents and family to explore and define their independence; and plans for the future.
At every stage of your children's lives, professional school counselors are advocates who work on behalf of students and their families to ensure that all school programs facilitate the educational process and offer the opportunity for success for every student.
Professional school counselors make a difference in your children's lives. Contact your child's school counselor to explore ways you can work together.
Taken from: American School Counselor Association. (2003). What Does a School Counselor Do? ASCA School Counselor. 40, 41.