Education is a cornerstone of our society and a fundamental key for success! A school needs to be a place in which children feel safe, challenged, and supported each and every day that they walk through the front doors. School counselors are an integral part of creating that safe and challenging place for each and every student. It is essential that school counselors implement a strong school counseling program that provides services that challenge and advocate for the students. Additionally, the role of the school counselor is to help build positive networks with teachers, faculty, parents, community members and students to help build a strong bridge between the needs within a school and its community.
School counselors play an essential role in caring and advocating for our youth. The comprehensive school counseling program within a school must be geared to serve the needs of the students. It is imperative that all students within the building are receiving the resources and tools they need to be successful not only during their time in our educational setting but also as they continue to achieve their goals in career prospects or post-secondary education. The school counselor’s role in guiding the students in a holistic manner is no small task. Through the use of in class guidance lessons, PBIS, social academic instructional groups (SAIG), data collection, team meetings, and direct student contact, school counselors aim to educate the whole child and bridge any gaps that may be present in academics, behavior needs and social-emotional areas.
Advocacy for the whole student as a learner is only one important task of the school counselor, additionally, school counselors also connect the students with their communities and vice versa. It is important that we [school counselors] are aware of the needs that are present for our specific students after they leave our building. Are they going to have a meal when they get home? Are their health needs being met? Are parents/guardians involved in their student’s education? All of these questions are important in building rapport with not only the teachers and faculty members within the school building but also parents and the community members who interact with our students daily. We as school counselors aid in fostering a positive relationship not only with the school and the students’ parents/guardians but also with the school and the community members.
In the work I’ve done in my classes and internship, I’ve been able to learn the theory behind some of the practices within schools as well as gain an extensive knowledge base of those practices. Through my coursework and my experiences as a teacher, an observer, and a volunteer in the many schools I’ve been at, I have realized the importance of knowledgeable and collaborative school counselors. I’ve been able to see the differences between successful implementation of PBIS and more ineffective implementation; I’ve witnessed school counselors or similar personnel who have gone above and beyond in their roles as well those who seem to be struggling, I’ve also been able to witness when students receive support for all aspects of their lives as well as when we as educators and adults fail to give them what they need. Collaboration with teachers, parents, and community members is an essential aspect of the school counselor role.
When school counselors devote 80% of their time in direct service to help their students, their efforts show. We provide a plethora of services for our students to ensure their safety, growth, and development all throughout their time within the school system. Counselors are the safety net in which students may fall; however, we are there to catch them and lift them right back up. We provide services that help the students in a holistic manner; we monitor not only their academics, but also their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. A comprehensive school counseling program is important to help the students grow developmentally in their career goals, academics, and social/emotional well-being.
School counselors provide comprehensive school counseling plans that aim to empower student achievement in career, academic and personal social development to students from any and all diverse backgrounds. School counselors build bridges and rapport with community members, parents, and other stakeholders involved in educating our youth. With the connections the school counselors make, they are more readily able to positively advocate for all of their students in a holistic and intentional manner.