Long gone are the days of the “guidance counselor” that most adults remember from their school days. Now, this role has transformed into a “professional school counselor.” These professionals are in the perfect position to advocate for students and develop partnerships with parents and families to help students find success throughout their entire K-12 education and beyond.
In a blog shared by Counseling@NYU Staff, entitled The Evolution from “Guidance Counselor” to “School Counselor” it was said best - “school counselors are now a strong, collaborative member of an educational team.” This “team” is one that consists of parents/families, students, teachers, school support staff, and administration. It is a team that has the potential to help students find success when they are all able to work together for the best interests of the student.
What most people do not realize is that it is the school counselor that may be one of the most influential members of this team because they have the ability to work with students in ALL areas of development. The role of the school counselor is to support students in the academic, social/emotional, and the college/career readiness domains of student growth. So, in regards to an educational professional that has the most capability to help students be successful, parents and families need to look no further than the school counselor.
This “partnership for student success” helps students throughout their K-12 education and even after high school. These are three key ways school counselors can work with a student and his/her family:
Checking grades, receiving credits towards graduation, learning appropriate content material, avoiding absenteeism, addressing behavior concerns in the classroom, preparing for state-mandated tests, and any other indicators of academic success for students can be supported by a school counselor. Counselors are an essential team member in helping students reach their academic goals and supporting them in finding success towards high school graduation. The majority of questions and concerns that students and parents may have could be answered through working with the school counselor.
Too often students have a difficult time being successful in the classroom because other outlying factors may make it difficult for them to focus on their academics. These factors could be homelessness, poverty, depression, anxiety, relationship struggles, self-esteem; the list could truly go on and on. A school counselor can be an advocate in the school setting that can support students through these struggles and help the families connect to community agencies that could offer the additional support the student and/or family needs.
Exploring potential post-secondary options and future careers can be an exciting time for students as they begin to envision how their goals and dreams will look. This exploration is essential for all grade levels, K-12, and the school counselor is in the perfect position to help students and families through this process. As students get closer to high school graduation, more questions and support may be needed for students and families, especially students who are first time college-goers who may need additional support in trying to navigate the college process. Counselors can be extremely helpful with completing the FAFSA, submitting college applications, submitting scholarships, and other crucial steps towards starting the college-going process.
Schools and families need to be more intentional in working together, in a collaborative fashion, so that students can find success in school. When students, teachers, counselors, parents/guardians, and administrators work in silos, everybody struggles to find the right answer or path for student success. Collaboration, teamwork, communication, and systemic approach are some of the major components that help build “partnerships for student success.” It’s time to form this team and work together for the benefit of our students.