The Role of the School Counselor
School counselors are uniquely qualified to address students’ academic, personal/social, and career development needs by designing, implementing, evaluating, and enhancing a school counseling program that promotes and enhances student success. School counselors are certified and licensed educators with a mental health perspective who hold a minimum of a master’s degree in school counseling. They strive to address student needs using data-driven and research-supported methods. They must also uphold ethical and professional standards set for by the American School Counselor Association.
Students will benefit from school counseling services delivered through four distinct methods.
- School Guidance Curriculum - School counselors design structured classroom lessons to prepare students with the knowledge and skills necessary for their developmental level. Examples include: Social Skill Building, Bullying Awareness, and Career Exploration.
- Individual Student Planning - School counselors coordinate systematic activities to assist students in setting personal, academic, and college/career goals.
- Responsive Services- School Counselors are trained in prevention and intervention strategies to address students’ immediate and future needs. Examples include:
- Individual and Group Counseling
- Consultation with Teachers, Parents, and Other Educators
- Referrals to Other School Support or Outside Support
- Peer Helping and Mediation
- Interventions and Advocacy
- System Support - School Counselors are committed to continual personal
and professional development and are proactively involved in professional organizations promoting school counseling at the local, state, and national level.
Addressing High School Students’ Developmental Needs
High school is a time when students are deciding who they are, what they do well, and what they will do when they graduate. During this time when students are searching for a sense of belonging, the biggest influence is the peer group who can offer acceptance and feedback. Increased pressure regarding risk-behaviors means that students need guidance in making appropriate and healthy decisions throughout their teen years. They must also be equipped with the skills to face high-stakes testing, college admissions, and career exploration.
High school counselors are an integral part of the total high school education program. They understand and respond to the challenges presented by today’s diverse student population. School counselors align and work with the school’s mission to support the academic and personal achievement of all students as they prepare for the ever-changing world of the 21st century.
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