Why Do We Need High School Counselors?
I graduated from High School some time ago.Although it seems a lifetime ago, there were some memorable figures there that helped to guide me in a direction that led me to better decision making and created who I am today.When I think back to high school, I remember that I did not have a huge amount of parent support when it came to academics, I did not lack in intelligence but I did in judgement.
My high school counselor, Ms.
Shields, not only helped me figure out what classes to take, what college to apply, what pathway I could take to prepare myself, but also helped in some decision making that likely guided me from a completely different life. She helped me through my high school endeavor, albeit it was not always the positive experiences I recall. Those days of school counseling are gone.
“The role of the school counselor has undergone many changes over the years. From a role with limited capacity to one whose focus extends beyond the academic realm, these changes were broad and necessary. Today, school counseling is as much about wellbeing and mental health as it is about academics and career.” (The Evolution of Professional School Counseling, 2017)
In today’s world the life of a high school counselor through the never ending job with fruitless labor and unending work they seem as if they eat, sleep and breathe school children. It seems as if mental health has become the common denominator among all of our high school students. Gone are the days of a simple schedule change. According to the website www.schoolcounselor.org, under the role of the school counselor, they agree as they state the following: “Parents, the press, administrators and the general public often wonder just what it is that school counselors do on a daily basis.
Gone are the days of school counselors sitting in their office simply handing out college applications, making schedule changes for students who want to drop a class or waiting for a crisis to occur. Today’s school counselors are vital members of the education team. They help all students in the areas of academic achievement, career and social/emotional development, ensuring today’s students become the productive, well-adjusted adults of tomorrow.” (ASCA, n.d.).
Not only has the job duties and priorities increased but accountability has also been increased to monitor the practice of a school counselor and if the practice is sound and effective. According to the website of West Virginia State University, under the Effectiveness of School Counseling, they also reflect that, “School counselors, like all educational professionals, are increasingly being required to demonstrate evidence of effective practice.” (West Virginia Department of Education, n.d.)
A students High School years are the detrimental in their final phases of growth. They are trying to find their path and purpose, however are often influenced by peers and situational factors that can slow the growth into successful adulthood. Counselors have a huge impact on these years by providing a comprehensive counseling program that should include instructional counseling on core curriculum, individual plans,responsive services, and crisis response. Counselors also have impact when it comes to parents and administration by consulting with them, collaborating with all involved parties and and giving referrals where additional help cane be acquired.
” High school counseling programs are essential for students to achieve optimal personal growth, acquire positive social skills and values, set informed career goals and realize their full academic potential to become productive, contributing members of the world community. ” (ASCA, n.d.).
High School counselors hold at the least a master’s degree and a counselors certification. They are also required to attend professional development in the newest strategies, trends and studies in their field. This is required to maintain their certification.
Another important aspect of the school counselor is the relationship with he aadministartion of the school. The principal and the school counselor must work hand in hand in order to obtain the goals set forth by the district and or campus. Unfortunately, sometimes the principal may have a misconstrued idea about the responsibilities of the school counselor and often times adds to the duties to an already taxed situation.
In order to improve academic achievement the principal and counselor must understand the roles that they play and support each other in these roles to see the growth expected. ” School counselors have contributed to the role confusion in the profession by failing to define their role in the school and the community. Thus, administrators, parents, and teachers may expect counselors to assume tasks that are not aligned with the ASCA model. When counselors are not assuming roles aligned with the ASCA model, 4 the school counselor’s roles and functions may be misunderstood in the school and community (Campbell ; Dahir, 2001). (The University of Southern Mississippi Research, n.d.).
“The goal of an effective school counselor/principal relationship is to use the strength of the relationship to collaboratively lead school reform efforts to increase achievement for all students. The desired outcome of an effective school counselor/principal relationship is to raise achievement levels for all students and ensure equity in educational outcomes.” (ASCA, n.d.).
Research created a specialized view into an effective relationship between two. This research brought forth a “Toolkit” for use in developing and identifying these relationships. “The principal-counselor relationship toolkit comes from a multiyear research project undertaken by the College Board’s National Office for School Counselor Advocacy (NOSCA), the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) to learn what principals and school counselors think is important in their relationships, how they view the current status of their own relationships within their schools, and what effective principal-counselor relationships might look like.” (ASCA, n.d.).
The research was conducted with the following in mind, “The goal of an effective principal-counselor relationship is to use the strength of the relationship to collaboratively lead school reform efforts to increase achievement for all students. The desired outcome of an effective principal-counselor relationship is to raise achievement levels for all students and ensure equity in educational outcomes.” (ASCA, n.d.).
The tool kit includes a lot of self assessment, goal setting, relationship development, collaboration as well as effective leadership. It appears to be an excellent team building guide to improve understanding on both sides. I believe it would especially beneficial in times when you have a new administrative team or adding a new counselor to your team.
The evolution of education has taken on a completely different meaning than it was even as few as 10 years ago. Teachers, counselors, principals and superintendents all have new job descriptions that include state accountability, high stakes testing, having and teaching moral lesson, protecting those who need protecting, providing a safe learning environment, observing health and nutrition, professionally develop and helping our students achieve academic success.
Most of ALL educators are and have been wearing multiple hats for years. There are not enough hours in a day to get even part of the job done. This is no exception for the school counselor. So when you see that school counselor dragging herself in, looking a little half tattered, emotionally broken, in need of a hug or something, make them feel appreciated because they are part of the calculations that will help your school improve and gain success
- The Aquila Digital Community | The University of Southern Mississippi Research. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://aquila.usm.edu/
- Guidance to School Counselor: The Evolution of Professional School Counseling. (2017, February 07). Retrieved from https://onlinecounselingprograms.com/blog/history-of-school-counseling/
- Home | American School Counselor Association (ASCA). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.schoolcounselor.org/
- Role of the School Counselor | American School Counselor Association (ASCA). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.schoolcounselor.org/administrators/role-of-the-school-counselor
- School Counselor-Principal Relationship | American School Counselor Association (ASCA). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.schoolcounselor.org/administrators/school-counselor-principal-relationship
- West Virginia Department of Education. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://wvde.state.wv.us/