Why Middle school counseling?


School Counseling has come a long way over the years. Why is it critical for your middle school child to know who their counselor is?

Middle school students are characterized by rapid physical growth, curiosity about their world and an emerging self-identity. Through a comprehensive developmental school counseling program, counselors work as a team member with school staff, parents and the community to create a caring, supportive climate and atmosphere whereby young adolescents can achieve academic success. Middle school counselors enhance the learning process and promote academic achievement. School counseling programs are essential for students to achieve optimal personal growth, acquire positive social skills and values, set appropriate career goals and realize full academic potential to become productive, contributing members of the world community. The professional middle school counselor holds a master’s degree and required state certification in school counseling. Maintaining certification includes on-going professional development to stay current with education reform and challenges facing today’s students. Professional association membership is encouraged as it enhances the school counselor’s knowledge and effectiveness.

"Today’s young people are living in an exciting time, with an increasingly diverse society, new technologies, and expanding opportunities. To help ensure that they are prepared to become the next generation of parents, workers, leaders, and citizens”, every student needs support, guidance, and opportunities during adolescence, a time of rapid growth and change. Early adolescents face unique and diverse challenges, both personally and developmentally, that have an impact on academic achievement.

Middle School Students’ Developmental Needs

Middle school is an exciting, yet challenging time for students, their parents and teachers. During this passage from childhood to adolescence, middle school students are characterized by a need to explore a variety of interests, connecting their learning in the classroom to its practical application in life and work; high levels of activity coupled with frequent fatigue due to rapid growth; a search for their own unique identity as they begin turning more frequently to peers rather than parents for ideas and affirmation; extreme sensitivity to the comments from others; and heavy reliance on friends to provide comfort, understanding and approval.

Meeting the Challenge

Middle school counselors are professional educators with a mental health perspective who understand and respond to the challenges presented by today’s diverse student population. Middle school counselors do not work in isolation; rather they are integral to the total educational program. They provide proactive leadership that engages all stakeholders in the delivery of programs and services to help students achieve success in school. Professional school counselors align with the school’s mission to support the academic achievement of all students as they prepare for the ever-changing world of the 21st century. This mission is accomplished through the design, development, implementation and evaluation of a comprehensive, developmental and systematic school counseling program. The ASCA National Standards in the academic, National Model: A Framework For School Counseling Programs, with it’s data driven and results-based focus serves as a guide for today’s school counselor who is uniquely trained to implement this program.

School Guidance Curriculum

  • Academic skills support
  • Organizational, study and test-taking skills
  • Education in understanding self and others
  • Coping strategies
  • Peer relationships and effective social skills
  • Communication, problem-solving, decision-making and conflict resolution
  • Career awareness, exploration and planning
  • Substance abuse education
  • Multicultural/diversity awareness

Individual Student Planning

  • Goal-setting/decision- making
  • Academic planning
  • Career planning
  • Education in understanding of self, including strengths and weaknesses
  • Transition planning

Responsive Services

  • Individual and small group counseling
  • Individual/family/school crisis intervention
  • Peer facilitation
  • Consultation/collaboration
  • Referrals
  • System Support
  • Professional development
  • Consultation, collaboration and teaming
  • Program management and operation

Middle School Counselors Collaborate With:

Parents

  • Parent information nights
  • Communication/networking
  • Academic planning programs
  • Parent and family education
  • One-on-one parent conferencing
  • Assessment results interpretation
  • Resource referrals
  • College/career exploration

Teachers

  • Career portfolio development
  • Assistance with students’ academic plans
  • Classroom guidance activities on study skills, career development, etc.
  • Academic support, learning style assessment and education to help students succeed academically
  • Classroom career speakers
  • At-risk student identification and implementation of interventions to enhance success
  • Parent communication/education

Administrators

  • School climate
  • Behavioral management plans
  • School-wide needs assessment
  • Student data and results
  • Student assistance team building
  • Leadership

Students

  • Peer education
  • Peer support
  • Academic support
  • School climate
  • Leadership development

Community

  • Job shadowing, service learning
  • Crisis interventions
  • Referrals
  • Parenting classes
  • Support groups
  • Career education