School Counseling Resource Guide

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1 School Counseling Resource Guide For Parents, Staff, and Students Monica Jones School Counselor Burgin Elementary 1

2 INDEX Why elementary school counselors?.. 3 Counselors Referrals About School Counselors.. 5 Classroom Character Ed Lessons.. 6 Individual Counseling Small Groups

3 WHY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL COUNSELORS? Elementary School Student s 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. The knowledge, attitudes and skills that students acquire in the areas of academic, career and personal/social development during these elementary years serve as the foundation for future success. Why Elementary School Counselors? 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 years set the tone for developing the knowledge, attitudes and skill necessary for children to become healthy, competent and confident learners. Through a comprehensive developmental school-counseling program, school counselors work as a team with the school staff, parents and the community to create a caring climate and atmosphere. By providing education, prevention, and intervention, school counselors can help all children achieve academic success. Elementary School Counselors Implement the Counseling Program by Providing: Classroom Character Education Lessons Academic support, including organizational, study and test-taking skills 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 Multicultural/diversity awareness Academic planning Goal setting/decision- making Education on understanding of self, including strengths and weaknesses Responsive Services Individual and small-group counseling Conflict resolution Referrals System Support Professional development Consultation Collaboration Program management & operation 3

4 Counselor Referrals Why should I do it: Provides students with more one on one help, support, and intervention Increases specificity of interventions and supports and tailors them to the student Increases privacy for the student Removes the student from the situation or circumstance to discuss solutions to it Reduces anxiety and pressure on student Provides the student with the full attention of an adult Makes student feel secure Allows an adult to give a student undivided attention Frees the teacher up to continue teaching the rest of the class without having to stop to speak or counsel a student in the hall or away from the class When should I do it: When students are over emotional and cannot calm down in an appropriate and brief amount of time When a student s needs are greater than those the teacher can provide in the classroom setting When a student requires more support and attention to address or solve a problem, issues, etc When students need more specific and individualized help, solutions, and plans to address issues When a student needs more privacy than a teacher can provide in the classroom How do I do it: Counselor referrals may be planned or spontaneous. For planned referrals, please complete the purple referral form located on the wall outside of my office and return it to me. I will meet with the student based on the information you provide. Please make sure you have initially contacted the parent before completing a referral form. For spontaneous referrals where an incident happens and the student unexpectedly requires counselor support, please contact me via phone or and I will meet with the student as soon as possible. Be aware of students abusing counselor referrals as a means to avoid work. 4

5 About School Counselors Professional school counselors are certified/licensed educators making them uniquely qualified to address all students academic, career and personal/social development needs by designing, implementing, evaluating and enhancing a comprehensive school counseling program that promotes and enhances student success. Professional school counselors are employed in elementary, middle/junior high and high schools; in district supervisory positions; and counselor education positions. Professional school counselors serve a vital role in maximizing student success. Through leadership, advocacy and collaboration, professional school counselors promote equity and access to rigorous educational experiences for all students. Professional school counselors support a safe learning environment and work to safeguard the human rights of all members of the school community, address the needs of all students through culturally relevant prevention and intervention programs that are a part of a comprehensive school counseling program. Professional school counselors have a minimum of a master s degree in school counseling, meet the state certification/licensure standards and abide by the laws of the states in which they are employed. They uphold the ethical and professional standards of ASCA and other applicable professional counseling associations and promote the development of the school counseling program based on the following areas of the ASCA National Model: foundation, delivery, management and accountability. 5

6 Counseling Services Classroom Character Education Lessons The school counselor is responsible for teaching character education lessons in every K 5 classroom. The school counselor visits every class each month (in some cases twice a month, or even weekly). The school counselor develops the school counseling program curriculum based on needs assessments from parents, students and staff. Lessons cover the American School Counseling Association academic/career/personal/social standard domains. Academic Domain ASCA National Standards for academic development guide school counseling programs to implement strategies and activities to support and maximize each student s ability to learn. Example classroom lesson topics are homework strategies and listening skills. Career Domain ASCA National Standards for career development guide school counseling programs to provide the foundation for the acquisition of skills, attitudes and knowledge that enable students to make a successful transition from school to the world of work, and from job to job across the life span. Example classroom lesson topics are exploring different careers and taking career and personality inventories. Personal/Social Domain ASCA National Standards for personal/social development guide school counseling programs to provide the foundation for personal and social growth as students progress through school and into adulthood. 6

7 Counseling Services Individual Counseling Students may need to meet with the school counselor individually for a wide variety of reasons. Some common topics discussed are self-esteem, peer relationships, family concerns and academics. Some students like to drop by to see the counselor if they are having a bad day and just need someone to talk to who will listen. Students may also be referred for individual counseling by staff regarding academic/personal/social/behavior issues. School counseling individual sessions are short term and educational in design rather than therapeutic. Individual sessions typically last for 6 weeks. It is not intended to be a substitute for diagnosis or treatment for any mental health disorder. If interested in further counseling services for your child, I would be happy to assist you in helping you find further resources and help. Counseling sessions that take place are confidential. This means that the information that is discussed may not be disclosed to anyone. The only exception is if disclosure of information will protect the student and/or his or her peers from danger or harm. School counselors are not available to testify in custody cases. Students may be referred for individual counseling by teachers, principals, or self referrals. School counseling sessions are short term and educational in design rather than therapeutic. Counseling sessions are confidential. Information may not be shared with anyone. 7

8 Counseling Services Small Groups Group counseling topics are based on the needs of students. The school counselor works with the student s teachers to coordinate group meeting times that do not interfere with direct classroom instruction. Groups consist of 4 to 6 students who share a similar problem or interest. Examples of small group counseling topics include anger management, self esteem, friendship skills, academic and organization skills, divorce and grief, among others. Students are welcome to join groups through the year! Confidentiality ethics also apply to small groups. Small groups are based on the needs of student. Groups consist of 4 to 6 students who share a similar problem or interest. Example topics for small groups are anger management, friendship skills, and self esteem. 8

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