December 2017

Tools to Communicate Your Role

By Katy O'Grady
Parents, administrators and teachers often wonder just what it is school counselors do on a daily basis. Why do we need school counselors, anyway?

Every day, school counselors are involved in character education, violence prevention, career planning and much more. To support your program and your position, ASCA provides materials specifically defining the roles of school counselors and research on the effectiveness of school counseling. You can use these documents at back-to-school nights, faculty meetings, school board meetings, one-on-one parent meetings or any other time you want to share your role and expertise with others.

For All School Counselors

Today's school counselors are vital members of the education team. They help all students at every grade level with academic achievement, social/emotional development and career development, ensuring today's students become the productive, well-adjusted adults of tomorrow.

The Role of the School Counselor: This two-page, research-based document addresses foundation, management, delivery and accountability and is designed and appropriate to share with stakeholders.

School Counselor Duties: Download ASCA’s list of appropriate and inappropriate duties for school counselors.
Empirical Studies on the Effectiveness of School Counselors: Access recent journal articles addressing the impact of school counselors and school counseling programs on K-12 student outcomes. The research articles support the value of school counseling for students’ academic development, college and career readiness and social/emotional development. All of the articles are data-based and drawn from national peer-reviewed journals.

Grade Level Roles

ASCA has also developed two-page documents with specific information about the work of school counselors at the various grade levels. Each document addresses:
  • How do school counselors meet the specific developmental needs of students at this level?
  • Why is a comprehensive school counseling program valuable at this level?
  • What direct and indirect services do school counselors at this level provide?
The Essential Role of Elementary School Counselors
The elementary school years set the foundation for developing the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary for children to become healthy, competent and confident learners. By providing education, prevention, early identification and intervention, elementary school counselors help their students achieve academic success, develop an understanding of career opportunities and develop social/emotional skills in response to issues they face.

The Essential Role of Middle School Counselors
Middle school students are characterized by rapid physical growth, curiosity about their world and an emerging self-identity. Middle school counselors enhance the learning process and promote academic, career and social/emotional development. School counseling programs are essential for students to achieve optimal personal growth, acquire positive social skills and values, set informed career goals and realize full academic potential to become productive, contributing members of the world community.

The Essential Role of High School Counselors
High school is the final transition into adulthood, postsecondary education and the world of work as students begin separating from parents and exploring and defining their independence. The high school years are full of growth, promise, excitement, frustration, disappointment and hope as students begin to discover what the future holds for them. 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.

The Essential Role of School Counselor Educators
School counselor educators/practicum and internship supervisors play a critical role in developing individuals who will carry out the implementation of a comprehensive school counseling program. The training and preparation of these individuals must address their role as educational leader, advocate, collaborator and systemic change agent. School counselor educators/practicum and internship supervisors must ensure their own professional training meets the high standards asked of the profession.

The Essential Role of School Counseling Directors/Coordinators
The development and implementation of comprehensive school counseling programs requires the leadership and collaborative effort of well-trained, highly competent school counselors. School counseling directors/coordinators provide leadership, advocacy and collaboration at the school, district and state levels to ensure the development, implementation and evaluation of comprehensive school counseling programs that benefit all students
 
Katy O’Grady is the editor of ASCA’s state newsletters and assistant editor of Professional School Counseling. Contact her at katy@docreative.com.