“Today’s young people are living in an exciting time, with an increasingly diverse society, new technologies and ex-panding 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 childhood, a time of rapid growth and change. Children face unique and diverse challenges, both personally and developmentally, that have an impact on academic achievement."
– “Toward a Blueprint for Youth: Making Positive Youth Development a National Priority,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Elementary School Students’ Developmental Needs
The elementary years are a time when students begin to develop their academic self-concept and their feelings of competence and confidence as learners. They are beginning to develop decision-making, communication and life skills, as well as character values. It is also a time when students develop and acquire attitudes toward school, self, peers, social groups and family. Comprehensive developmental school counseling programs provide education, prevention and intervention services, which are integrated into all aspects of children's lives.
Elementary School Counselors are professional educators with a mental health perspective who understand and respond to the challenges presented by today’s diverse student population. Elementary school counselors don’t work in isolation; rather they are integral to the total educational program. Along with Student Services Assistants they provide proactive leadership that engages all stakeholders in the delivery of programs and services to help students achieve school success.
Professional 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. ASCA’s National Standards in the academic, career, and personal/social domains are the foundation for this work. The ASCA National Model: A Framework For School Counseling Programs (ASCA, 2002), 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.
WHAT DO ELEMENTARY COUNSELORS DO? Brochure
Elementary School Counselors Collaborate With:
Parent education, communication, net-working, academic planning, college and career awareness programs, one-on-one parent conferencing, interpretation of assessment results.
Teachers and Support Staff
Classroom guidance activities, academic support, including learning style assessment and education to help students succeed academically, classroom speakers, at-risk student identification and implementation of interventions to enhance success.
School climate, behavioral management plans, school-wide needs assessments, student data and results, student assistance team building.
Peer education, peer support, academic support, school climate, leadership development, community, job shadowing, service learning, crisis interventions, referrals, parenting classes, support groups and career education.
School Counselors Provide:
School Guidance Curriculum
Including academic and organizational support, study and test-taking skills, goal setting and decision-making, career awareness, exploration and planning, education on understanding self and others, peer relationships, coping strategies and effective social skills, communication, problem-solving and conflict resolution, substance abuse education, multi-cultural diversity awareness, individual student planning.
Goal setting/decision- making, education on understanding of self, including strengths and weaknesses and transition plans.
Individual and small-group counseling, individual/family/school crisis intervention, conflict resolution, consultation, collaboration, and referrals.
Professional development, consultation, collaboration and teaming, program management and operation.
WHAT DO STUDENT SERVICES ASSISTANTS DO?
Student Services Assistants work along-side the school counselor to provide classroom lessons and small group instruction utilizing Second Step, a research-based program from the Committee for Children (www.cfchildren.org).
Second Step consists of four units including skills for learning, empathy, emotion management and problem solving. Student Services Assistants support students on the playground as they put these social skills in action. They work closely with students to be sure that the skills they are learning in their small group and in the classroom are being applied appropriately in a real world setting.
SSAs are a consistent daily presence at school that students can depend on to help them navigate their social world. They are one more caring adult at school ensuring that their school experience continues to be a positive one!