A Network Connecting School Leaders From Around The Globe
After the Sandy Hook tragedy, President Obama called for increased mental health support in school settings. Counselors are qualified to work with students in individual counseling, small group counseling and large group support. Besides being leaders, advocates, collaborators and systemic change agents, counselors have training in crisis intervention and are often called upon to assist in small- and large-scale crisis situations. However, if school counselors are engaged in too many non-counseling duties, then their effectiveness is reduced.
In some schools, for example, the school counselor serves as the test coordinator and may spend hours preparing the testing materials. Additionally, counseling services cease during the dates when tests are administered. This sometimes results in the counselor not performing his or her functions for a month or longer.
The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) recognizes appropriate and inappropriate duties, which can be a challenge for those in school systems that use their school counselors as data entry clerks, testing coordinators, substitutes for classroom teachers, record keepers, or in disciplinary roles.
The following table shows a checklist of appropriate and inappropriate counselor duties.
|Appropriate Duties||Inappropriate Duties|
|Individual student academic program planning||Coordinating paperwork and data entry of all new students|
|Interpreting cognitive, aptitude and achievement tests||Coordinating cognitive, aptitude and achievement testing programs|
|Providing counseling to students who are tardy or absent||Signing excuses for students who are tardy or absent|
|Providing counseling to students who have disciplinary problems||Performing disciplinary actions or assigning discipline consequences|
|Providing counseling to students as to appropriate school dress||Sending home students who are not appropriately dressed|
|Collaborating with teachers to present school counseling core curriculum lessons||Teaching classes when teachers are absent|
|Analyzing grade-point averages in relationship to achievement||Computing grade-point averages|
|Interpreting student records||Maintaining student records|
|Providing teachers with suggestions for effective classroom management||Assisting with duties in the principal's office|
|Ensuring student records are maintained as per state and federal regulations||Providing therapy or long-term counseling in schools to address psychological disorders|
|Helping the school principal identify and resolve student issues, needs and problems||Coordinating school-wide individual education plans, student study teams and school attendance review boards|
|Providing individual and small-group counseling services to students||Serving as a data entry clerk|
|Advocating for students at individual education plan meetings, student study teams and school attendance review boards|
|Analyzing disaggregated data|
Reprinted from The ASCA National Model: A Framework for School Counseling Programs... (2012)
So how can administrators support their school counselors to be most effective as outlined in the ASCA National Model?
In the comment thread, tell us about what counselors have done for your school or child.
As a current School Counseling student Indeed I look forward to work in a school district that makes it a priority to allow a counselor to actually counsel as per the ASCA suggestions listed above. In fact school counselors are extremely underutilized in that which they've spent painstaking years to accomplish. As a school counseling student I look forward to the vital assistance that I can give our students that require and need all the assistance in their emotional being. Studies have shown and anyone can tell you...when you're heart and mind and spirit is in balance then every other aspect of your life will be in the right place and at it's fullest capacity.
I look forward to being that "change agent" that every student desreves and every school district should embrace.