A school counselor is a valuable resource for families regarding their child’s mental and emotional health. However, visiting a counselor can be an intimidating prospect for students and their families. It’s important to have an understanding of the role of school counselors and the impact they have on students. In schools across the country, a school counselor’s responsibilities are sharply focused on student improvement, whether that be mental health and wellbeing, engagement at school or academic achievement. In this article, we’ll talk about the role of school counselors in school and how they may benefit your students.
The Role of School Counselors: Duties
Counselors are present at all levels of schooling, including elementary, middle and high school. In schools, counselors have a number of key duties in ensuring the students are well-equipped to get the most out of their schooling.
- One-on-one: counselors may work with individual students on academic planning and goal setting or mental health support.
- Whole class sessions: these may be in line with a well-being curriculum or based on student success standards.
- Collaboration: counselors collaborate with all members of the school community, including teachers, families and administrators.
- Advocacy: at individual education or well-being meetings, counselors may advocate for students.
- Data analysis: counselors may work on studying the school-wide data to assist in the implementation of improvement programs across the school.
A Counselor’s Program Design
The role of school counselors is to design programs for the benefit of all students across the school. While the teachers work on the curriculum and its delivery, a counselor works to ensure that students are equipped to get the best out of their time in class. They use a collaborative approach, working with staff across the school and community to develop and implement programs that benefit the learning and well-being of all students.
A Counselor’s Qualifications
School counselors are licensed educators who also hold, at minimum, a Master of School Counseling. They are also required to meet the relevant state licensing and certification standards.
As part of their ongoing role, they are required to stay up to date with relevant educational standards and adhere to the ASCA ethical and professional standards, ensuring that the highest level of care is provided for students.
What To Do When I Feel A Counselor Is Needed
If you feel like your child needs the support of a school counselor it can be a big decision to make and a big step to take. It is important to know that school counselors are active in all school settings, working to get to know students. It is likely that your child has already met the counselor, or one of their peers has worked with them.
When you are confronted with a situation in which you feel extra help is needed, remember that it is the role of the school counselor to provide that help. Get in touch with them through the school and discuss the issue and the process of providing support. The counselor is there to help, without judgement or criticism. Their purpose within a school is the support all students to achieve their best.
What To Expect From A School Counselor
It can be difficult to know what to expect when you first think about accessing the support of a counselor for your child. It is important to know that the counselor at your school has likely already impacted your child’s school life, from the programs that may be implemented by their teachers, to sessions delivered by the counselor themselves.
The First Step
If you feel like support from a school counselor is needed, set up a meeting with the counselor. They will work with you and your child on creating the necessary interventions that will focus on improving your child’s time at school, whether that be with respect to your child’s well-being or academic needs.
You can expect to be included in conversations with the counselor going forward. The counselor will need to gain an understanding of the student as a whole in order to develop the best program.
School counselors abide by the same standards of confidentiality as any other counselor and the conversations between students and counselors will remain confidential unless the counselor has concerns for a student’s safety.
There may be cases where more help is needed. In this case, a school counselor may refer your child to receive more support from other professionals. They may also guide you and your child in the direction of further resources that may assist.
They’re There To Help
The role of school counselors is to improve student achievement in all areas of school life, on an individual, class or whole-school level. There is considerable research that demonstrates the effectiveness of counselors in schools. The role of a school counselor is vital and as part of the school’s leadership group, they help to create a thriving school environment where every student can reach their full potential.