Counseling programs are a vital component to any school. They provide students with resources, support, and nurturance throughout the entire duration of their elementary and secondary school years. Elementary school years are a time when children are growing socially, outside of the home. In the first few years of school they learn social skills that help them to interact with other students and adults. Counseling activities should focus on the healthy socialization of all students. Counselors at this level should offer group counseling, individual counseling, classroom guidance, media presentations showing positive interactions, and “no put-downs” type of curriculum that promotes kind social exchanges. The secondary school years bring rapid changes, physically and environmentally, to students. Adolescents are growing and changing, turning away from authority, and developing their own sense of self. Effective counseling activities must focus on human relations development such as: career training or education programs, college preparatory programs, group and individual guidance, sensitivity training, and classroom guidance (Gibson, 2003, pp. 5-51).
Counseling activities branch well beyond assistance with various career choices or personal counseling into the realm of human potential where physical, emotional, educational, and other aspects of the individual are considered. These separate parts are often difficult to distinguish, as individuals possess talents, needs, and desires that are enmeshed with one another. There are
dardized tests, student assessment, consultations, career information and guidance, educational guidance and placement, prevention services, intervention activities, administrative duties, developmental tasks, information dissemination, and public relations. School counselors can engage in many different activities in a one-hour time period. The period of work is well defined to the traditional school calendar.
Elementary school counselors have recently become a staple in most states. They are the most recent addition to school staffs. However, Secondary counselors have been employed in schools for the longest time, as their role in helping students in transition between school, college, and work, has been easily identifiable. Secondary counselors provide educational information like scheduling and college placement, individual counseling, administrative services, prevention activities, group counseling and guidance, developmental activities, information sessions, standardized testing and interpretation, and consultation activities. In addition, secondary and elementary counselors are often involved in non-counseling activities (lunchroom duty, etc.). Remediation is a focus for counselors like addiction counseling, sexual concerns, and relationship adjustments. Preparing students becomes less important as making decisions since there are immediate or impending choices to be made. Consultation and an understanding of the student’s environment shape behavioral modifications. Both elementary and secondary counselors are proactive in their approach to their counseling population.
All students should have access to guidance and counseling services, appropriate to their developmental stages. The program will be based on the tenet that learning is a lifelong process and therefore, counseling services should be a part of an overall continuum that contributes psychotherapist to the continued growth, learning, and development of each student. The guidance program must encompass the entire school community and shall be developed and implemented by the counseling staff and school administrators. All students have the freedom and responsibility for making choices within the constraints of the educational system, and will have access to the counseling staff to assist them with making those choices (DoDDS-E, 1994, p. 7).
At the elementary level, this program will promote learning by helping children to master the skills and develop the attitudes necessary to be successful. There will be an emphasis on decision making skills, developing awareness, and foundational career exploration. The program will stress the self concept development and skill enhancement necessary for each student.
The middle school program will focus on the ever changing needs of young adolescents. It will emphasize continuation of skills learned in the primary grades but will alter the program to fit the needs of these students. It will address high school planning, account for student educational and occupational plans, and address any social factors that may limit potential.
The high school program will assist students in becoming responsible adults who can develop realistic and promising life plans based on clear comprehension of themselves and their needs, abilities, interests, and skills. Attention will focus on helping students to develop competencies in decision making, career planning, working with others, and taking responsibility for one’s own behavior.
In order to reach the goals set for each level of the program, the counseling program must be seen as an integral part of each school’s total educational program. The program will be organized and implemented by the school counselors with the support of faculty, staff, parents, and the community (Gibson, pp. 2-5). It will be proactive in addressing the needs, goals, and concerns of all students by including the following components:
Analysis and counseling of individual students
Student placement services for special programs (gifted and talented, special education, etc.)
Follow-up services post special program placement
Information and resource services (guidance activities related to vocational choices, group instruction on topics of interest, educational planning, etc.)
Research and Evaluation of scholastic policies and procedures
Test administration services
Group counseling services
Parent and Faculty support services
Administrative services to assist with necessary school functions.
This program will seek to serve youth populations and assist with developmental adjustment.
It is the mission of this document to establish a comprehensive competency based guidance program that can be implemented school-wide. In making provisions for this program, all students will have the opportunities and guidance necessary to develop skills for:
Accessing and processing information
Dealing with change
Thinking, reasoning and problem solving