School counseling programs are collaborative efforts benefiting students, parents, teachers, administrators and the overall community. School counseling programs should be an integral part of students’ daily educational environment, and school counselors should be partners in student achievement.The question has been posed, “What do school counselors do?” The more important question is, “How are students different as a result of what school counselors do?” To help answer this question, the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) created the ASCA National Model, which is a framework for a comprehensive, data-driven school counseling program. To learn more about the the ASCA expectations for school counseling programs, please view the following link: ASCA National Model School Counselors deliver services to students, parents, school staff and the community in the following areas:Direct student services are in-person interactions between school counselors and students and include the following:
- School counseling core curriculum: This curriculum consists of structured lessons designed to help students attain the desired competencies and to provide all students with the knowledge, attitudes and skills appropriate for their developmental level. The school counseling core curriculum is delivered throughout the school’s overall curriculum and is systematically presented by school counselors in collaboration with other professional educators in K-12 classroom and group activities. Arlington Public Schools uses several resources: One resource is the Committee for Children’s Second Step Program. These K-8 lessons cover social-emotional and academic skill building. The Second Step resource materials can be viewed at here. APS uses the entire Second Step Suite for K-Grade 5 and the Middle School 2011 Social-Emotional Program. To learn more about and to review all curriculum resources delivered by school counselors in your student’s school, please make an appointment with the School Counselor.
- Individual student planning: School counselors coordinate ongoing systemic activities designed to assist students in establishing personal goals and developing future plans.The academic planning process occurs at a minimum of once a year and includes meeting with students to plan their courses for the subsequent year. The purpose is three-fold; 1) to ensure graduation requirements are met, 2) to discuss the relationship of available courses to career aspirations, and 3) to encourage students to challenge themselves academically. The meeting results in an Academic and Career Plan (ACP) which is shared with families.
- Responsive services: Responsive services are activities designed to meet students’ immediate needs and concerns. Responsive services may include counseling in individual or small-group settings or crisis response.
- Indirect Student Services Indirect services are provided on behalf of students as a result of the school counselors’ interactions with others including referrals for additional assistance, consultation and collaboration with parents, teachers, other educators and community organizations.