The School Counselor and Academic Development
School counselors deliver programs that have an impact on student growth in three domain areas: academic development, career development and social/emotional development (ASCA, 2019). School counselors recognize students should demonstrate growth in these domains equally to be successful. School counselors understand these domains are not considered separate but are intertwined, each affecting the other (Schenck, Anctil, & Smith, 2010, p. 16). Although this statement focuses on academic development, it is understood career development and social/emotional development need to be considered with equal diligence.
Recent educational initiatives (e.g., No Child Left Behind [NCLB]; Every Student Succeeds Act [ESSA]) have stressed academic achievement as a measure of school success. As a result, school counseling programs align their annual student outcome goals with that of the institution, emphasizing academic achievement. School counselors contribute to the educational and academic outcomes of the school by enhancing student engagement and performance (Carey & Harrington, 2010a; Carey & Harrington, 2010b) through designing, implementing and assessing school counseling programs (ASCA, 2019).
School counseling programs use data to understand student needs, provide school counseling classroom, group and closing- the-gap interventions and remove systemic barriers to ensure all students as early as preschool and kindergarten have opportunity to develop academic goals at all grade levels reflecting their abilities and academic interests and can access appropriate rigorous, relevant coursework and experiences. Because of their unique position within a school and their unique training, school counselors can work with students facing mental health issues, family and social problems as well as career exploration and course planning to make school relevant (Howe, 2009).
School counselors play a critical role in ensuring schools provide a safe, caring environment and that students have the necessary mindsets and behaviors to advance academic achievement outcomes. School counselors work collaboratively with stakeholders to ensure equity, access and academic success of all students (ASCA, 2019).
The School Counselor's Role
School counselors support students’ academic success by:
- Leading development of a safe and caring school culture
- Delivering a school counseling program based on data identifying student needs
- Delivering information to students and teachers within the school counseling curriculum on best practices in mindsets and behaviors (i.e., learning strategies, self-management skills, social skills) and metacognition skills (McGuire, 2015) critical in academic success
- Providing relevance to academic effort and educational pursuits by assisting in students’ career planning and future career-related goals
- Working with administration, teachers and other school staff to create a school environment encouraging academic success and striving to one’s potential (Stone & Clark, 2001)
- Working to remove barriers to access and provide students with the opportunity for academic challenge in the most rigorous coursework possible
- Establishing data analysis methods to identify and target systemic barriers deterring equitable access
- Providing opportunities for students to:
- Enhance their self-efficacy beliefs and competence
- Develop attributional beliefs
- See value in tasks related to achievement
- Develop mastery/learning goals
- Develop autonomy
- Relate to others (Rowell & Hong, 2013)
- Working to establish student opportunities for academic remediation as needed
- Emphasizing family-community-school relationships in addressing academic needs (Brown, 1999)
SummaryEducational institutions are evaluated on student outcomes, especially academic achievement. School counselors working in this educational environment play a critical role in ensuring students have the academic development (in addition to the social/emotional and career development) knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to be successful. School counselors can assist schools in providing an environment conducive to and supportive of academic success.
ReferencesAmerican School Counselor Association. (2019). ASCA National Model: A framework for school counseling programs (4th ed.). Alexandria, VA: Author.
Brown, D., (1999). Improving academic achievement: What school counselors can do. Eric Digest, U.S. Department of Education.
Carey, J.C., & Harrington, K.M. (2010a). Nebraska school counseling evaluation report. Amherst, MA: Center for School Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation.
Carey, J.C., & Harrington, K.M. (2010b). Utah school counseling evaluation report. Amherst, MA: Center for School Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation
Howe, Sally A. (2009). School counseling services and student academic success. Counselor Education Master’s Theses. Paper 54.
McGuire, S.Y. (2015). Teach student how to learn: Strategies you can incorporate into any course to improve student metacognition, study skills, and motivation. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing,
Rowell, L., & Hong, E. (2013). Academic motivation: Concepts, strategies, and counseling approaches. Professional School Counseling, 16(3), 158-171. Retrieved from https://cochise.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1368152287?accountid=7278
Schenck, P., Anctil, T., & Smith, C.K. (2010). Career counseling identity of professional school counselors. Career Developments, 26, 16-17.
Stone, C. & Clark, M. (2001). School counselors and principals: Partners in support of academic achievement. NASSP Bulletin.
American School Counselor Association. (2016). Ethical standards for school counselors. Alexandria, VA: Author.
Berger, C. (2013). Bring out the brilliance: A counseling intervention for underachieving students. Professional School Counseling, 17(1), 86-96. Retrieved from https://cochise.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1558312662?accountid=7278
Bryan, J., et al. (2012). The effects of school bonding on high school seniors’ academic achievement. Journal of Counseling and Development, 90(4), 467-80.
Dahir, C. A., Burnham, J. J., Stone, C. B., & Cobb, N. (2010). Principals as partners: Counselors as collaborators. National Association of Secondary School Principals Bulletin, 94(4), 286-305. Retrieved from https://cochise.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/863827836?accountid=7278
Hines, E., et al. (2017). Making student achievement a priority: The role of school counselors in turnaround schools. Urban Education, 1-22.
Johnson, K., & Hannon, M. D. (2015). Measuring the relationship between parent, teacher, and student problem behavior reports and academic achievement: Implications for school counselors. Professional School Counseling, 18(1), 38-48. Retrieved from https://cochise.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1654434926?accountid=7278