Who are School Counselors?
- A person who provides support services for all students.
- A resource for all staff members and parents.
- A liaison with outside community resources.
- Are NOT: Disciplinarians, Administrators, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, or Social Workers
What do they do?
School Counselors wear many hats. They serve to help remove barriers for students to help support them academically. Each year, School Counselors work with school administration and use data to drive the upcoming school year programs. School Counselors will deliver classroom lessons, individual counseling (not ongoing), provide small group counseling, responsive services, makes referrals to outside agencies and crisis interventions. They will also work with parents, teachers, and students to help make their year successful.
- Responsive Services:
- Meeting immediate needs and concerns of students.
- Support in crisis situations.
- Consultation and collaboration with staff, families, and specialists.
- Classroom behavior support
- Goal setting
- College & Career:
- Explore interests and skills
- Awareness of college & career options
- Development of life skills
- Personal & Social Skills:
- Building Self-Esteem
- Making & Keeping Friends
- Coping Skills
- Bereavement & Grief
- Anger Management
- Problem Solving Skills
- Strengths and Resiliency
- Conflict Resolution
- Peer Mediation
What is the focus of their services?
School counseling is considered a regular/general educational service provided by the school. The School Counselor may meet with all students at the school; however, continual counseling sessions will require signed Informed Consent from the parent or guardian of the child. The primary focus of the School Counselor is to help students be ready to learn. Focusing on academic development, personal/social development, career awareness and exploration, working with all students, either individually, in small groups, or with the whole class.
How are services delivered?
- Classroom Guidance:
Guidance lessons will consist of many of the topics listed above and in the Academic, College & Career, and Personal/Social areas. The frequency of classroom guidance lessons will vary, but typically 1-2 times per month/per grade level. Classroom guidance lessons will engage students with developmentally appropriate, interactive lessons while creating awareness of self and others.
- Small-Group Counseling:
Generally, a group of 3-5 students, formed by grade level and/or sharing a common concern. Help and support students in areas of self-confidence, friendship, grief, attitude, and behavior changes, and more.
- Individual Counseling:
The School Counselor will work 1:1 with students, focusing on specific topics to the child's individual needs and area of growth.
How can my child see the School Counselor?
Students (grades 2-5) can fill out a request to see the School Counselor form online. Students (grades K-1) will have their teacher fill out the form or obtain a hard copy from outside the School Counseling Office and place it in the School Counselor mailbox. Often though, students are seen due to parent or teacher referral. Other times, students with quick questions will drop by and see the School Counselor throughout the day.
How often will my child see the School Counselor?
Depending on the student, those receiving services will meet with the School Counselor between 2-3 times a month for 20-30 minutes per session. Students may take part in both a small counseling group & 1:1 counseling or periodical check-ins. Appropriate adjustments will be made, and all services and sessions will be during school hours and are free of charge.
Will parents/guardians be notified if their child sees the School Counselor?
Parents are not automatically notified if their child meets with their School Counselor. If the student starts being seen regularly, the School Counselor will inform the parents. While qualified, School Counselors are not to be used as ongoing therapy for students. If the School Counselor feels that a student can benefit from outside counseling, s/he will notify parents and help support them with community resources. Confidentiality is an essential part of the counselor/ student relationship, which is held in high regard. The School Counselor will usually ask for student permission before sharing with parents. However, if a student is a danger to themselves or others, parents are always notified immediately.
Will everyone know that my child is seeing the School Counselor?
Confidentiality is a cornerstone of the School Counseling Profession. For the student to feel comfortable, it is vital to safeguard their information. The School Counselor will only share information with teachers and parents with student permission. If a student is a danger to themselves or others, parents are notified immediately, regardless of the student wants that information shared.
Is my child in trouble if they see the School Counselor?
The School Counselor does not handle discipline or give consequences for student behavior. Students should not view coming to see the School Counselor as a negative experience. If a student receives discipline from an administrator, the School Counselor will see the student within a few days as a follow-up. It is not to reinforce the consequence but to talk about what happened and help brainstorm ways to positively handle similar situations.
When is it appropriate to contact my child’s School Counselor?
Parents and guardians are encouraged to contact your child’s School Counselor with questions or concerns regarding issues that may be affecting your child’s academic progress. Such topics could include family changes, social difficulties, or mental health problems. Opening the door of communication to your child's challenges is beneficial to the services that the School Counselor can provide to your child during the school day.
How is a School Counselor different from a therapist?
School Counselors help students be ready for learning by providing short-term assistance with particular issues that may be roadblocks to their education. Therapists treat mental health disorders on an ongoing, usually regularly scheduled basis. If a child is upset or distressed in school, the School Counselor will work with the child to help the child be ready to learn. For issues beyond School Counseling's scope, your child’s School Counselor can provide community resources to the student's parent or guardian.
Do you make mental health diagnoses?
No, School Counselors do not make mental health diagnoses. However, they use direct observation, input from parents, teachers, other staff, and information from the student to create a portrait of the student in the school environment. This information is used in conjunction with the teachers to determine strategies to help students succeed in the school setting.
Will you recommend mental health resources?
While not making recommendations, the School Counselor will provide parents with a list of local mental health resources. The choice of practice or agency is strictly the decision of the parent or guardian. The School Counselor can explain the process and provide permission forms for parents to access the Student Assistance Program's services should there be concerns regarding the student's mental health or drug and alcohol issues.
Can School Counselors provide financial help resources to parents?
School Counselors can provide parents and guardians with community resources and contact for assistance with food, clothing, or medical coverage. Periodically, anonymous community members will donate/provide services to parents that display a need in other areas such as utilities, transportation, etc.
If your family requires help, please contact the School Counselor at (615) 758-5619 or AmadiMel100@wcschools.com
Are School Counselors available to assist students with grief or trauma?
Absolutely. School Counselors are concerned for students as individuals and for their preparedness to learn and be successful in the school setting. Grief and trauma are roadblocks to the brain’s readiness to learn. The School Counselor will work with students to process grief and provide community resources for families should the grief need further attention.
What is the School Counselors' role in reducing/preventing bullying?
School Counselors work with the school population through classroom lessons &/or assemblies to raise the students' awareness regarding strategies to reduce bullying, identify the roles played in a bullying situation, and appropriate responses. The School Counselor will also work with students in small groups or individually to help students recognize their roles in a particular situation and discover ways to relate to others more positively.