Understanding the Role of School Counselors

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School counselors are an integral part of the school system and they are there to help bridge the gap between parents, students, teachers and administrators. They hold an absolutely essential position in each school that is all too often taken for granted and, while the recommended ration of school counselors is 1:250, it’s closer to 1:500 in reality. School counseling has become a sophisticated role and most counselors are Master’s-level professionals with specific training in dealing with the social and behavioral issues students experience.

What do school counselors do?

School counselors are there to resolve conflicts between students and teachers and between students on a one-to-one bases.

They work with teachers and administrators to counsel students on specific social or behavioral issues they are having and how to best resolve them.

Student appraisals are also a responsibility and they are tasked with determining student’s suitability for various programs.

Counselors must help students who are sports-oriented to balance their extra mural activities with the grades they need to move on to college.

School counselors are a wonderful resource for parents and they can help with everything from child development to specific behavioral problems. They also help parents understand new curriculum demands and how to get involved with their child’s school and homework.

Counselors are responsible for creating and implementing the anti-bullying policy at each school. Here they work with students, parents and administrators to ensure a safe, healthy environment at each school.

School counselors focus on career development by helping students to find a career path that suits them and the courses and grades they need to pursue their dream jobs.

Counselors also help with the college application process and with any referrals which may be required.

They may also be part of health education and have responsibilities to teach students about important issues like drug and alcohol abuse and other health issues.

In many schools, counselors also serve as test coordinators which mean that regular counseling services are not available to students at a time when they feel most stressed. With mental health becoming an increasingly important concern, it may be time to lend more support and funding to school counselors.

How to support your school counselors

The American School Counselor’s Association outlines which duties are appropriate to assign to counselors. If your school counselors have too many duties, petition your school to free up some of their time so that they can pay individual attention to students in need.

Support your student counselors’ recommendations for programs and improvements to the schools structure that will make your school happier and healthier.

If your school doesn’t have enough counselors to adequately support the student body, find ways to raise funds or petition for more counselors.

Show your appreciation for the role that counselors play and use the services they offer to better navigate the academic and social processes that are part of school life.

pic by US Department of Education
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