Counseling » Description of Role of Counselors

Description of Role of Counselors

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2023-2024 School Counselors

School Counselors are professional educators with a mental health perspective who understand and respond to the challenges presented by today’s diverse student population. School counselors don’t work in isolation; rather they are integral to the total educational program. Along with Student Services Assistants and Student Services Specialists, they provide proactive leadership that engages all stakeholders in the delivery of programs and services to help students achieve school success.
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 school counselors do?

School Counselors Collaborate with...

Parents: 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.

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.

Administrators: School climate, behavioral management plans, school-wide needs assessments, student data and results, student assistance team building.     


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.

Academic planning: Goal setting/decision- making, education on understanding of self, including strengths and weaknesses and transition plans.

Responsive Services: Individual and small-group counseling, individual/family/school crisis intervention, conflict resolution, consultation, collaboration, and referrals.

System Support: Professional development, consultation, collaboration and teaming, program management and operation.


What do Student Services Assistants (Elementary) and Specialists (Secondary) do?

At the Elementary level, Student Services Assistants (SSA) 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

Second Step includes topics on skills for learning, empathy, emotion management, peer relations and problem solving.  SSA support students throughout the campus 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.

SSA are a consistent daily presence at school that students can depend on to help them navigate their social emotional world. They are one more caring adult at school ensuring that their school experience continues to be a positive one!

At the Secondary level (middle and high schools), Student Services Specialists (SSS) perform a variety of paraprofessional duties related to the operation of a school student services center.  

SSS educate and assist students to acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

In collaboration with school counselors, document, assist, and communicate with students re: sensitive issues and concerns such as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. Facilitate and participate in support groups, advocacy projects, community service opportunities, and programs related to alcohol, tobacco, and other drug and violence education and/or prevention, intervention, and cessation activities.