School Counselors design and deliver comprehensive school counseling programs that promote student achievement. These programs are comprehensive in scope, preventive in design and developmental in nature. A comprehensive school counseling program is an integral component of the school’s academic mission. Comprehensive school counseling programs, driven by student data and based on standards in cognitive, career and socio-emotional development, promote and enhance the learning process for all students.
School Counselors participate as members of the educational team and use skills of leadership, advocacy and collaboration to promote systemic change as appropriate. Effective school counseling programs are a collaborative effort between the school counselor, parents and other educators to create an environment that promotes student achievement. School staff and school counselors value and respond to the diversity and individual differences in our societies and communities. Comprehensive school counseling programs ensure equitable access to opportunities and rigorous curriculum so that all students may graduate “career and college ready” as school counselors focus their skills, time and energy on direct and indirect services to students. Direct services to students are services that are in-person” interactions between the student and school counselor and include the following:
- Integration of the Guidance Standard Course of Study within the school setting
- Individual student planning
- Responsive services.
Indirect services are provided on behalf of the student as a result of the school counselors’ interactions with others including:
- Referrals for assistance
- Consultation and collaboration with parents, teachers, other educators and community agencies
School counselors strive to balance their time among all of these services, based upon the unique needs of their school community.
To demonstrate the effectiveness of the school counseling program in measurable terms, school counselors analyze school and school counseling program data to determine “how students are different as a result of the school counseling program.” School counselors use data to show the impact of the school counseling program on student achievement, attendance and behavior. In addition, school counselors analyze school counseling program assessments to guide future action to improve future results for all students.
In North Carolina, one has to complete an approved master’s degree counselor education program in a regionally accredited college or university in order to be a licensed school counselor. Within these counselor education programs, several standards are studied such as the professional identity of school counseling, cultural diversity, human growth and development and career development. Also required are the core components for helping relationships, group and individual work, assessment, research and program evaluation, knowledge and requirements for school counselors, contextual dimensions of school counseling, and an internship under a highly qualified school counselor. School counselors are expected to apply their professional training in schools as leaders, advocates and collaborators in order to support student achievement.
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