December 2017

President's Letter: Be Proud of What You Do

By Lori LeBrun
When I think back to my high school years, I fondly remember my guidance counselor, Mr. Berard. Mr. Berard was the most amazing listener and truly loved his students. He is the reason I became a school counselor. If anyone were to ask what Mr. Berard’s role was as a guidance counselor, most would say that he scheduled classes and helped with college applications, but most important, he guided students through their difficult times. I think at that time, most people understood what the guidance counselor's role entailed. If you were to ask parents nowadays, “What does your child’s school counselor do?” I think they would need to pause for a moment to think. The first question they might ask is, “Do you mean guidance counselor?”

The role of a school counselor has evolved and changed greatly since I was in high school. Because of that, school counselors need to share with all stakeholders so that they fully understand our role. ASCA states, “To promote advocacy, counselors need to speak up, reach out, and always use data.” We need to be proud of what we do.
I remember the first time I called a parent at home to speak about their child participating in an anxiety group. The parent had no idea that school counselors did small groups with students. I realized at that moment that I needed to do a better job of informing all of our stakeholders about the many different services the school counselor offers.

Some ways to advocate for your program:
  • Create business cards with your email and school phone number.
  • Design a pamphlet to share with families at Open House/Parent Night (the images below show the front and back of one I created).
  • Invite parents in to share about the groups in which their students are participating.
  • Be present and available at school functions.
  • Create Google Classrooms for students and give access to parents so they can see strategies and lessons being taught to students.
If we don’t inform and include parents, administration and the community about the academic, social/emotional and career programs we provide, they will not see the importance of our program, and this will ultimately affect the effectiveness of it all.

Be proud of what you do, and be willing to share!

Contact Lori J. LeBrun, RISCA president, at lebrunlori@coventryschools.net