School counselors are certified educators with a minimum of a master’s degree in school counseling making them uniquely qualified to address all students’ academic, personal/social and career development needs by designing, implementing, evaluating and enhancing a comprehensive counseling program that promotes and enhances student success.
School counselors are employed in all elementary, middle/junior high and high schools in the Autauga County School system.
School counselors serve a vital role in maximizing student success. They provide leadership, advocacy, collaboration, equity and access to rigorous educational experiences for all students. They support a safe learning environment and address the needs of all students through culturally relevant prevention and intervention programs that are a part of a comprehensive school counseling program. School counselors develop confidential relationships with students and help them resolve and/or cope with problems and developmental concerns.
The School Counselor’s Role
School counselors provide culturally competent services to students, parents/guardians, school staff and the community in the following areas:
• School Guidance Curriculum – This curriculum consists of structured lessons designed to help students achieve the desired competencies and to provide all students with the knowledge and skills appropriate for their developmental level. The school guidance curriculum is delivered throughout the school's overall curriculum and is systematically presented by the school counselors in collaboration with other professional educators in K-12 classroom and group activities.
• Individual Student Planning – School counselors coordinate ongoing systemic activities designed to help students establish personal goals and develop future plans.
• Responsive Services – Responsive services consist of prevention and/or intervention activities to meet students’ immediate and future needs. These needs can be necessitated by events and conditions in students’ lives and the school climate and culture, and may be addressed through any of the following:
- individual or group counseling
- consultation with parents, teachers and other educators
- referrals to other school support services or community resources
- peer helping
- intervention and advocacy at the systemic level
System Support – System support consists of management activities establishing, maintaining, and enhancing the total school counseling program. These activities include professional development, collaboration, supervision, program management and operations. School counselors are committed to continual personal and professional development and are proactively involved in professional organizations promoting school counseling at the local, state and national levels.
School counselors incorporate organizational processes and tools that are concrete, clearly delineated, and reflective of the school’s needs. Processes and tools include:
- agreements developed with and approved by administrators for each school year addressing how the school counseling program is organized and what goals will be accomplished
- advisory councils include: students, parents/guardians, teachers, counselors, administrators and community members to review school counseling program goals and results and to make recommendations
- the use of student data to effect systemic change within the school system so every student receives the benefit of the school counseling program
- action plans for prevention and intervention services defining the desired student competencies and achievement results
- allotment of the professional school counselor's time in direct service with students as recommended in the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) National Model
- the use of annual and weekly calendars to keep students, parents/guardians, teachers, administrators, and community stakeholders informed and to encourage active participation in the school counseling program
School counselors develop and implement data/needs-driven, standards-based and research-supported programs, and engage in continuous program evaluation activities. They also create results reports that demonstrate immediate, intermediate, and long-range effectiveness of comprehensive school counseling programs. School counselors analyze outcome data to guide future action and improve future results for all students. The performance of the school counselor is evaluated using an instrument administered by the school administrator.