Role of the School Counselor
Parents, the press, administrators and the general public often wonder just what it is that school counselors do on a daily basis. Gone are the days of school counselors sitting in their office simply handing out college applications, making schedule changes for students who want to drop a class or meeting with the troublemakers in the school. Today’s school counselors are vital members of the education team. They help all students in the areas of academic achievement, personal/social development and career development, ensuring today’s students become the productive, well-adjusted adults of tomorrow.
The Need for School Counselors
School counselors are an important part of the educational leadership team and provide valuable assistance to students regardless of whether they work in an elementary school or middle school, high school or beyond. (SchoolCounselor.org)
Why Middle School Counselors?
Today’s young people are living in an exciting time, with an increasingly diverse society, new technologies, and expanding opportunities. To help ensure that they are prepared to become the next generation of parents, workers, leaders and citizens, every student needs support, guidance and opportunities during adolescence, a time of rapid growth and change. Early adolescents face unique and diverse challenges, both personally and developmentally, that have an impact on academic achievement.
Middle School Students’ Developmental Needs
Middle school is an exciting, yet challenging time for students, their parents and teachers. During this passage from childhood to adolescence, middle school students are characterized by a need to explore a variety of interests, connecting their learning in the classroom to its practical application in life and work; high levels of activity coupled with frequent fatigue due to rapid growth; a search for their own unique identity as they begin turning more frequently to peers rather than parents for ideas and affirmation; extreme sensitivity to the comments from others; and heavy reliance on friends to provide comfort, understanding and approval.
Meeting the Challenge
Middle school counselors are professional educators with a mental health perspective who understand and respond to the challenges presented by today’s diverse student population. Middle school counselors do not work in isolation; rather they are integral to the total educational program. They provide proactive leadership that engages all stakeholders in the delivery of programs and services to help students achieve success in school. School counselors align with the school’s mission to support the academic achievement of all students as they prepare for the ever-changing world of the 21st century. This mission is accomplished through the design, development, implementation and evaluation of a comprehensive, developmental and systematic school counseling program. The ASCA National Model: A Framework For School Counseling Programs, with its data-driven and results-based focus, serves as a guide for today’s school counselor, who is uniquely trained to implement this program.
Middle School Counselors Implement the School Counseling Program by Providing:
School Guidance Curriculum
- Academic skills support
- Organizational, study and test-taking skills
- Education in understanding self and others
- Coping strategies
- Peer relationships and effective social skills
- Communication, problem-solving, decision-making and conflict resolution
- Career awareness, exploration and planning
- Substance abuse education
- Multicultural/diversity awareness
Individual Student Planning
- Goal-setting/decision- making
- Academic planning (SchoolCounselor.org)