What is a School Counselor?
School Counselors are student/family advocates. They have classroom experience and understand the dynamics of a school setting. School Counselor certification requires a master’s degree and rigorous training in a variety of areas. Specifically, school counselors study in-depth: legal & ethical issues in education, child development, counseling theories & methods, career development, societal & environmental factors affecting learners, and collaboration with outside professionals & resources.
What does a School Counselor do?
A school counselor 1) provides guidance to students through individual/group counseling; 2) consults with parents, school personnel, & community members to promote student success; 3) coordinates resources for students/families; 4) advocates for a respectful learning environment which values diversity; and 5) is committed to staying current on best practices in education & adhering to professional standards of competence and practice.
Do School Counselors have professional standards or guidelines to follow?
Yes. A professional school counselor provides a school counseling program based on the American School Counselor’s Association (ASCA) which is comprehensive in scope, preventative in design, and developmental in nature. More information can be found at www.schoolcounselor.org.
How will I know if my child is visiting with the counselor?
Generally speaking, student issues are best solved with the family involved and students are encouraged to share with their parents. State law and professional ethics allow a school counselor to meet with a student 3 times (issue specific) prior to parental notification. If a student is in danger of being harmed or harming himself or others, we are legally obligated to share this information with the appropriate persons (parents/guardians, principal/headmaster, or state agency).
What if I disagree with the counselor's suggested recommendations?
That is okay! A counselor provides options and guidance that are based on prior experience and knowledge. We all approach life differently and have opinions that differ. Keeping with the idea of respect for diversity, the school counselor will work with the family within their preferred religious or spiritual principles.
How and when can I speak with the school counselor?
The school counselor is available to all members of the community and is a resource for information regarding developmental milestones/phases, community resources, and support.