THE ROLE OF THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL COUNSELOR
Elementary School Counselors provide education, prevention, and intervention in academics, career, and personal/social development. Our focus is on the whole student and helping them be successful in school and in life. Counselors work with students in the classroom, in small groups, and individually to address their needs. We also work to support parents and teachers. School Counselors are not able to provide long term therapy - however, the elementary counselor can meet with students to help them develop skills to deal with tough situations they may be facing at school or at home.
THE ROLE OF THE MIDDLE SCHOOL COUNSELOR
Middle School counselors enhance student learning and growth by promoting academic, career, and social/emotional development. Our focus is on the whole student and helping them be successful in school and in life. As a part of our Middle School NEST program, our counselors help design social and emotional learning lessons that teach students directly about how to manage emotions, work with others, set goals, and prepare for their future. Counselors also work with students in small groups and individually to address their needs and work with parents and teachers to help support all aspects of a student's middle school experience. While school counselors are not therapists, in that we do not do long term therapy with students, we do meet regularly with students to help them develop skills to deal with tough situations they may be facing in school or at home.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How does my student get referred to the counselor?
Students can see their counselor via self-referral, parental request, request of the counselor, administrative referral, and/or teacher or staff referral.
How do parents contact the counselor?
Parents are invited to contact the school counselor at any time via phone or email regarding their child. The counselor will get back to emails and voicemails within 24 hours. We can discuss your concerns over the phone or you can come in to meet with me. Parents are welcome to call or email the school counselor to set-up a time to meet.
How long does the school counselor see the student?
The counselor can provide short-term, solution-focused counseling. The counselor will meet with a student one-on-one, usually about 6-8 times. The counselor will not remove the student from his/her class for longer than 30 minutes unless crisis management is needed. Small groups typically meet 1x/week for 20 minutes and go for 4-6 weeks. If a student needs a more intensive intervention, the counselor will consult with the student's caregivers.
How do I get referred for outside services?
There are times when outside, private counseling may be necessary (i.e. divorce, death of a loved one, deployment, mental health concerns, etc.) that are impacting the child at school and/or at home. If you decide private counseling is necessary for your family, the counselor can try to provide information regarding local counseling agencies to help you find the right fit.
If a student is getting outside services, what is the school counselor’s role?
The school counselor can collaborate with the outside service providers if needed. There is a form that the school counselor might give you titled "Release of Information" which will allow communication between providers.
What are the parameters around confidentiality?
Confidentiality is an important aspect of counseling; this is how the counselor builds trust with the student. What the child says during counseling is to remain between the counselor and the child unless: 1. The child is in imminent danger. 2. The child is threatening to harm him/herself or someone else. 3. The child reports an incident of abuse and/or neglect. 4. The child gives permission to disclose. When a breach in confidentiality is necessary, the counselor would make a report to the appropriate agencies, support staff and/or parents depending on the situation. Note: Our highest priority is keeping your student safe. School counselors and other school staff members are mandated reporters. Mandated reporters are required by law to report to CPS any time a student is suspected of being in danger.
Why would my child see you?
Students may be referred to the school counselor if there are concerns that are inhibiting their learning here at school. Some concerns, but not limited to are: Behavioral difficulties, social/emotional concerns, conflict with peers, poor attendance, or academic concerns.
Will you notify me if you spoke to my child?
Parents are notified at the discretion of the counselor. If a counselor will be seeing a student on an on-going basis (such as in group), the counselor will send home a permission email for the guardian.
What topics do you cover in elementary small groups?
Small group topics are determined based on the need of students. A group typically meets 1 day/week for 4-6 weeks. They are usually limited to 4-6 students. Some groups may include strategies for managing anxiety/stress, friendship skills, self-esteem, children of divorce/separation, executive functioning. and self-regulation. A permission form will always be emailed home before a group begins.
Am I in trouble if I see the School Counselor?
When you see the counselor, it does not mean you have been called in because you are in trouble or “bad.” In fact, a counselor is an adult who acts as your advocate! An advocate is someone who wants to listen to what you have to say and helps you come up with reasonable solutions to making your situation better. The counseling office is a safe space that you can when you need help.