The school counseling and guidance program is an integral part of the total educational process in the school and is accessible to all students. The counseling and guidance program consists of activities that address and meet students’ various educational and developmental needs. The school counseling and guidance program is developed as a result of a thorough analysis of student needs, desired achievement goals, and related data. The school counseling and guidance program prepares students to meet the challenges and demands of the school setting as well as prepare them for success beyond high school.
The goal of each school counseling and guidance program is to ensure student success in three broad domains: academic, career, and personal/social development.
Elementary School Counselors
To address the Academic Development Domain at the elementary level, professional school counselors assist students in their efforts to learn the skills and attitudes required for school success. Lessons such as listening, following directions, test taking, and study skills may be taught. Elementary school level professional school counselors emphasize early exploration of career and educational goals in the Career Development Domain. This domain may be addressed through hosting a Career Day, introducing community helpers, and administering interest inventories. Elementary school level professional school counselors place strong emphasis on character development, decision-making skills, development of self-awareness, and good interpersonal relationships. These concepts are addressed in the Personal/Social Development Domain. Elementary school counselors lay the foundation for the development of coping skills and problem-solving strategies that continue in middle and high schools.
Middle School Counselors
Professional school counselors at the middle school level assist students in the Academic Development Domain with their acquisition of the attitudes, knowledge, and skills that prepare them to choose from a wide range of postsecondary options that will help them to understand the relationship of academics to the world of work and life. Middle school level professional school counselors assist students in acquiring the skills to investigate the world of work and employ strategies to achieve future career goals with success and satisfaction. Counselors for Grades 8-12 must guide students in the development and annual revision of a four-year educational/career plan based on a career goal and have students maintain a portfolio of study based on legislative and other graduation requirements. Middle school level professional school counselors provide programs to equip students with the skills to acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and interpersonal skills to help them understand and respect self and others, make decisions, set goals, take necessary actions to achieve goals, and develop other coping skills.
High School Counselors
At the high school level, professional school counselors build on goals established during elementary and middle school. Competencies in the Academic Development Domain are met when the high school counselor assists students in applying and enhancing acquired knowledge and understanding as they strive to become college- and career-ready. At the high school level professional school counselors offer educational opportunities that provide the workforce with a strong academic foundation and understanding of college- and career-ready standards. Counselors for Grades 8-12 must guide students in the development and annual revision of a four-year educational/career plan based on a career goal and have students maintain a portfolio of study based on legislative and other graduation requirements. High school level professional school counselors emphasize competency in decision making and personal responsibility. Activities encourage the development of realistic and fulfilling life goals.Counselors assume the leadership role for managing and implementing the comprehensive counseling and guidance program in their school. Counselors are responsible for the systematic delivery and evaluation of structured developmental counseling and guidance services to all students. Counselors work directly with students, individually and in small groups, to deal with unique or problem-centered concerns that require more privacy or attention than can be accommodated in structured guidance activities. Counselors serve students indirectly by acting as consultants to administrators, teachers, parents, and others to help them understand and respond to the developmental, emotional, and social needs of students. Counselors coordinate various activities within the school that are related to student welfare. Appropriate referrals, placements, and follow-ups are activities that are particularly pertinent to counseling.