The school counseling program is an integral part of Woodbury Middle School's total educational program. The school counseling program is developmental in sequence and designed to address the needs of all students in academic achievement, career planning and exploration, and knowledge of self and others. The school counseling program aims to help each student reach their full potential. There are several transition days for rising sixth graders from both elementary school as well as eighth grade visits to Nonnewaug High School in the spring.
Certain conditions must be followed by the staff and by the program to ensure the success of our comprehensive developmental school counseling program.
Concerning the staff, the following assumptions will be followed:
- The program will be delivered by certified school counselors.
- Ethical standards prescribed by the American School Counselor Association will be followed.
- School counselors will act as counselors, coordinators, consultants, teachers, and managers.
- School counselors are an integral part of the educational team.
- School counselor-to-student ratio will be appropriate to implement the program as laid out in this framework.
- Administrative commitment and support is necessary.
Concerning the program, the following assumptions will be followed:
- The program serves all students.
- Students will benefit in school, home, and community.
- Provides developmental, preventative, and remedial services.
- Is an integral part of the total educational process.
- Is continuously refined through implementing, evaluating, and planning.
The comprehensive guidance curriculum encompasses structured developmental guidance experiences presented systematically through classroom and small group activities. The purpose of the curriculum is to provide students with the knowledge of normal growth, and development, to promote their positive mental health, and to assist the students in acquiring and using life skills. The curriculum consists of those activities which address mastery of specific competencies to be attained by all students at various stages of their development and promotes activities to help students to achieve these competencies. The curriculum is organized around three major areas: learning to live (knowledge of self and others), learning to learn (educational/academic development), and learning to work (career exploration and planning). Learner outcomes to be addressed in these areas are identified in part through the use of regularly conducted needs assessments. The school counselor’s responsibilities include organization and implementation of a comprehensive guidance program, group counseling, teacher advisement, and peer programs.
Examples: decision making, career goal setting, problem solving.
Classroom Activities: School counselors teach, team-teach, or support the teaching of guidance curriculum activities or units in classrooms. Teachers may also teach such units. The comprehensive guidance curriculum is not limited to being taught in one or two subjects but should include as many subjects as possible in the total school curriculum. These activities may be conducted in the classroom, guidance center, or other school facilities.
Group Activities: School Counselors organize and conduct large group sessions such as career days and educational/college/vocational days. In addition school counselors also run groups pertaining to the needs of the school climate. Such groups may be a new student program, conflict resolution skills, and friendship issues.
Individual planning refers to the activities designed to help students monitor and direct their own learning and personal development. Individual planning activities address the same objective(s) for all students in a given grade and lend themselves to documentation that can be reviewed and modified throughout the student’s school career. Students will meet with counselors several times during each year to see if these goals are attained. Functions of the school counselor in this component include individual assessment, placement, and individual appraisal.
School counselors individually assist students to use self-appraisal information along with personal-social, educational, career, and labor market information to help them plan for and realize their personal, educational, and occupational goals. The involvement of students, parents, and school members in planning a four-year program of study that meets the individual needs of students is a critical part of individual advisement.
School counselors are actively involved in assisting students to make the transition from school to school and from school to work. In addition school counselors assist students to assess and interpret their abilities, interests, skills, and achievement. The use of all test information and data become an important aspect of developing immediate and long term plans for students.
Responsive services are reactions to the immediate needs and concerns of individual students, whether these concerns involve information, counseling, consultation, or referral. As a result of academic problems, personal identity issues, peer and family relationships, and other problematic social issues, there is a continuing need for crisis counseling, remediation services, consultation, and referral to be an ongoing part of a comprehensive school counseling program. In addition, there is a continuing need for the school counseling program to respond to the immediate information seeding needs of students, parents, and teachers. The responsive services component organizes guidance techniques and methods to respond to these concerns and needs as they occur. This component is supportive of the school counseling curriculum and individual planning components, and requires the cooperation and support of the entire staff for successful implementation. Responsive services are implemented though such strategies as individual counseling, group counseling, referral consultation, peer mediation, short term counseling, conflict resolution, student assistance model, and crisis intervention.
Consultation - School counselors consult with students along with parents, teachers, other educators, and community agencies regarding strategies to help students deal with and to resolve personal concerns.
Personal Counseling - School counseling is provided on a small group and individual basis for students who have problems or difficulties dealing with relationships, personal concerns, or normal developmental tasks. It focuses on assisting students to identify problems and causes, alternatives, and possible consequences, and to take action when appropriate.
Crisis Counseling - School counselors provide support to students or their families facing emergency situations. Such counseling is normally short term and temporary in nature. When necessary, appropriate referral sources may be used.
Referral - School counselors use other professional resources of the school and community to refer students when appropriate. These referral sources may include mental health agencies, employment and training programs, vocational rehabilitation, juvenile services, social services, and special school programs (special or compensatory education.)
System support activities are those which establish, maintain, and enhance the preceding three guidance areas. Techniques to accomplish this might include program development, staff development, materials development, parent education, the testing program, and community relations. This component is implemented and carried out through activities in the following areas:
Research and Development - A Comprehensive School Counseling program is evaluated through follow up studies, and the continued revision of guidance related activities.
Staff/Community Public Relations - This involves orienting staff and the community to the comprehensive guidance program through such means as the use of newsletters, local media, and school and community presentations.
Professional Development - School counselors need to be involved regularly in updating their professional knowledge and skills. This may involve participation in regular school in service training, attending professional meetings, completing post graduate coursework, and contributing to the professional literature.
Committee/Advisory Boards - Serving on departmental curriculum committees and community committees or advisory boards is an example of activities in this area.
Community Outreach - Included in this area are activities designed to help school counselors become knowledgeable about community resources, employment opportunities, and the local labor market. This may involve counselors’ visiting local business and industries and social services agencies on a periodic basis.
Program Management and Operations - This area includes the planning and management tasks needed to support the activities of a comprehensive school counseling program. It also includes responsibilities that members of the school staff may need to fulfill.
The second aspect of the system support relates to the support given to the programs other than school counseling.
This support includes, but is not limited to, serving on school/district based curriculum committees, and consulting with school administrators regarding student needs. Regular assessment is the key to evaluating program outcomes and to the ongoing improvement of the school counseling program. Yearly evaluation of program goals provides useful data to communicate the effectiveness of the school counseling program to students, staff, parents, and administration. A periodic needs assessment of personal/social, career, and educational needs of students provides momentum for program re-evaluation and revision. System support is implemented through such strategies as advisor/advisee programs, school to career initiatives, materials development, parent education programs, public relations, participation on school wide committees, curriculum committees, and comprehensive guidance evaluations.