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Being a Jack of All Trades

The Role of A Guidance Counselor

The education system is a frontier that all students must cross, and School Counselors hold the ‘survival kit,’ guiding them through the years towards academic achievement and graduation. The importance of their role is becoming increasingly evident: charting expedition courses, teaching ‘social jungle’ skills, sending out an S.O.S. flare for a student… All of these things could be just an average morning!

While being a Jack of All Trades with a ‘survival kit’ has its perks…

It also means being approached for all types of advice ( ranging from career counseling to how to handle a school threat). With all of the required roles continuing to expand, defining the Role of a Guidance Counselor is paramount. Without a clear definition of expectations, Administration, Teachers, and Parents will try and take advantage of their wide range of skills and limit the time spent interacting with students.

Focus Areas for School Counselors

Academic Achievement

  • Apply academic achievement strategies
  • School counseling classroom lessons based on student success standards
  • Individual student academic planning and goal setting
  • College/ Career Readiness Plan for postsecondary options (higher education, military, work force)
  • Advocate for students at individual education plan meetings and other student-focused meetings

Social/ Emotional Health

  • Manage emotions and apply interpersonal skills
  • Data analysis to identify student issues, needs, and challenges
  • Short-term counseling to students
  • Referrals for long-term support

College & Career Readiness

  • Plan for postsecondary options (higher education, military, work force)
  • Advocate for students at individual education plan meetings and other student-focused meetings
  • Collaboration with families/teachers/ administrators/community for student success

The goal is to guide and support students through their growth in each focus area from kindergarten through graduation.

With pressure building on administration to fix bullying, more focus is being put on the emotional and mental health of the students. This sounds great on paper, but in practice it is demonstrated that it can’t effectively be done without more resources allocated to solve these new challenges. Counselors should not be expected to fix anything- their role should be more of a navigator to set students on the right track, or to put them in contact with the people who can help them out.

Gathering Analytics Through Innovative Technology

The effectiveness of data-driven counselor programs, such as ASCA’s RAMP, at increasing student achievement has been shown in multiple accredited studies. The first step is implementing a system to effectively gather data on student reports. Once a school has a system in place for at least a year, administrators and staff are able to make informed decisions. By using data analysis to drive administrative decisions and counseling practices, schools are able to achieve a well-tailored approach to guide their students to success.

“I want you to think about the extraordinary ripple effect of your work, because it’s real.  I want you to think about the impact you have not just on every child whose life you transform, but on the family that child will raise, on the business where that child will work, on the community that child will one day serve.  I want you to think about how long after those kids graduate your work lives on in their hearts and minds, and in the hearts and minds of everyone they touch.”

Michelle Obama

Even without implementing an expensive and unwieldy student resource management system, improving student success is possible. Maximizing the time spent interacting with students is important. Likewise, student perception of their counselors being available, open, and receptive helps them become more open themselves and more likely to start a dialogue. Once a dialogue is started school counselors can work their magic.

Partnering with Counselors Reduce ViolenceASCA InfographicASCA Effectiveness StudiesParent Toolkit BlogASCA RAMP Program
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I am the co-creator of FightSong!. Currently I live in Las Vegas, although I'm always traveling to spread to message of FightSong! Mental Health Advocacy and supporting students and counselors is really important to me. After highschool and college I was diagnosed with a mental health disorder I had been struggling with my whole life. Through counseling and support from my family I am able to be the rockstar I am today.

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