The following is a list of tasks performed by the school counselors.
Meeting student needs to best facilitate the educational process is the primary concern of the school counselors. Individual counseling is an essential part of the program; referrals for assistance may be made by the teaching staff, parents, administrators, counselors or the students themselves. Small group counseling is utilized when appropriate; counselors develop and present small-group programming based on the developmental needs of students.
The counselors remain flexible to provide crisis counseling, which may include activation of the Crisis Intervention Team in response to parental concerns and students’ needs. Also, the counselors participate in the Student Assistance Program (SAP) and serve on other department and building committees to best meet the needs of students. As necessary, the counselors refer students to the nurse, school psychologist, the hearing or speech clinician, or other service providers in the school community. Ultimately, the counselor coordinates cooperative efforts by the staff to help students.
Facilitating communications between home and school, or other agencies and the school, is another important responsibility delegated to the school counselors. The counselors attend team meetings weekly, sharing relevant information from students’ cumulative record file with staff and gathering information to be shared with parents. Team meetings may be used for parent conferences, which are arranged by the team leaders or school counselors. The counselors oversee maintenance of student progress reports and report cards and, along with teachers, share the responsibility for communications related to the academic status of students. Other avenues of improving communications are explored by the counselor as well.
Counselors are responsible for the placement and scheduling of all students. Whenever a new student transfers into the school district, the counselor working with that student’s grade level is responsible for the student’s placement and initial orientation to the middle school. Additionally, throughout the 8th grade year, programs are provided to ease the adjustment for students entering 9th grade, who are new to the building, and so forth. Students, administrators, and teachers also participate in these initiatives. The school counselors also serve as resources to teachers and others with respect to planning career exploration activities.
Special Education Process
Counselors are involved in all dimensions of the special education process. Initial referrals for entrance into the special education program are screened and coordinated by counselors. The counselors then remain an integral part of the ongoing special education process and facilitate communications associated with special education initiatives.
Summer School Notifications
Collecting and disseminating information concerning a student’s potential retention in either 7th or 8th grade is a task that is performed by the counselors approximately four (4) weeks prior to the end of the school year. Information is collected and reviewed with the building principal; individual needs are the primary consideration and all options are explored during the promotion/retention process. A limited summer school program is offered at the middle school. Counselors coordinate summer school recommendations and enrollments, and work with the principal to follow-up with the student to ensure qualification and readiness for the next grade level.
Student Academic Records
The school counselors also compile, update, and interpret student cumulative records. Teachers and parents may examine these records to review the past achievements, test results or other data contained in these confidential records in accordance with district policy and state and federal law. The counselors also coordinate PSSA and other standardized testing that occurs in the Middle School. Analysis of test results allows school personnel to examine strengths and areas of need with respect to individual students and the school’s curricular program.