Written by Leanne Hope
most critical issue in public education today is the need for more school
counselors in the public schools in order to meet the academic, social, and
emotional needs of students. In my opinion, the most important
contributions of school counselors are 1) Identification of mental health needs
with referral services; 2) Student success education and career/college
development; 3) Parenting and classroom management education; and 4) Crisis
counseling. I would like to share how I as a school
counselor contribute to the four crucial contribution areas I have cited.
I, the school counselor, with a student population of 830 students, help to
identify possible mental health needs by observing and describing symptoms
displayed by children at school. To accomplish this, I collaborate with
parents, teachers, the Youth Relations Deputy, the school nurse, the
administration team, the Multi-Tiered System of Support Response to
Intervention team, the school and district psychologists, and the Positive
Behavior Support team. I refer parents to mental health resources
available such as: the Homeless Education program, the H.U.G.S. program
(sponsored by National Alliance of the Mentally Ill), the district SEDNET
representative, Family Alliance for Children,and additional private mental
The second contribution of school counselors identified above (student success
and college/career development) is where the majority of my time and energy is
spent. To promote student success in school and life, I co-lead positive
behavior support assemblies that promote the life skills of safety, respect,
and responsibility. I teach students how to include others and report
bullying. I teach classroom lessons on student success skills. My
counseling small groups are formed for academically struggling students whose
anger, anxiety, self-esteem, motivation, and/or lack of focus are negatively
impacting their progress in school. As a school counselor, I help
students identify life-long, career path, school, academic and personal goals.
I work with teachers and the MTSS team to create behavioral progress
monitoring plans for students whose behavior is impeding their learning.
In the third crucial school counseling contribution area of parenting and
classroom management education, I teach Love and Logic classes at in-service
training for teachers and evening sessions for parents. Teachers and
parents report that the simple techniques they learn in the counseling classes
help their relationships with students affected by chronic behavioral and emotional
challenges. The behavioral education that I offer as the school counselor to
teachers and parents helps children to be responsible for their academic
success and their future.
The fourth and final area of school counseling contribution, crisis intervention,
can occur at any time in the school counselor's day. As school counselor,
I help teachers make calls to the Department of Children and family to report
suspected sexual, physical, or emotional abuse; abandonment; or neglect.
I deal with students who want to die, disappear, or harm themselves.
I comfort students who have just lost a father, mother, aunt, uncle,
sibling, grandparent, close personal family friend, or pet. I assess
their ability to return to class. I give them coping strategies to
make it through the school day. I, the school counselor, am called
to remove students from class who have caused a disruption.
I am committed to contributing in these four area that I believe are so crucial
to the success of public education today. Imagine what more could be
accomplished with another school counselor at the school and without 20 extra
hours of administrative duties a week. Public Education needs me now more
than ever. That is why I think our greatest public education crisis today
is the need for more school counselors who are free to do their jobs.
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