The Professional School Counselor’s Role
Today's school counselors are vital members of the education team. They help all
students in the areas of academic achievement, personal/social
development and career development, ensuring today's students become the
productive, well-adjusted adults of tomorrow.
Professional school counselors have a minimum of a master’s degree in
school counseling, meet the state certification/licensure standards, and
abide by the laws of the states in which they are employed. They uphold
the ethical and professional standards of ASCA and other applicable
professional counseling associations, and promote the development of the
school counseling program based on the following areas of the ASCA
National Model: Foundation, delivery, management and accountability.
Professional school counselors identify a philosophy based on school
counseling theory and research/evidence-based practice that recognizes
the need for all students to benefit from the school counseling program.
Professional school counselors act on these philosophies to guide the
development, implementation and evaluation of a culturally relevant and
comprehensive school counseling programs. Professional school counselors
create a mission statement supporting the school’s mission and
collaborate with other individuals and organizations to promote all
students’ academic, career and personal/social development.
Professional school counselors provide culturally competent services to
students, parents/guardians, school staff and the community in the
• School Guidance Curriculum – This curriculum consists of structured
lessons designed to help students achieve the desired competencies and
to provide all students with the knowledge and skills appropriate for
their developmental level. The school guidance curriculum is delivered
throughout the school's overall curriculum and is systematically
presented by professional school counselors in collaboration with other
professional educators in K-12 classroom and group activities.
• Individual Student Planning – Professional school counselors
coordinate ongoing systemic activities designed to help students
establish personal goals and develop future plans.
• Responsive Services – Responsive services consist of prevention and/or
intervention activities to meet students’ immediate and future needs.
These needs can be necessitated by events and conditions in students’
lives and the school climate and culture, and may require any of the
- individual or group counseling
- consultation with parents, teachers and other educators
- referrals to other school support services or community resources
- peer helping
- intervention and advocacy at the systemic level
Professional school counselors develop confidential
relationships with students to help them resolve and/or cope with
problems and developmental concerns.
• System Support – System support consists of management activities
establishing, maintaining, and enhancing the total school counseling
program. These activities include professional development,
consultation, collaboration, supervision, program management and
operations. Professional school counselors are committed to continual
personal and professional development and are proactively involved in
professional organizations promoting school counseling at the local,
state and national levels.
Professional school counselors incorporate organizational processes and
tools that are concrete, clearly delineated, and reflective of the
school’s needs. Processes and tools include:
- agreements developed with and approved by administrators for
each school year addressing how the school counseling program is
organized and what goals will be accomplished
- advisory councils include: students, parents/guardians,
teachers, counselors, administrators and community members to review
school counseling program goals and results and to make recommendations
- the use of student data to effect systemic change within the
school system so every student receives the benefit of the school
- action plans for prevention and intervention services defining the desired student competencies and achievement results
- allotment of the professional school counselor's time in direct service with students as recommended in the ASCA National Model
- the use of annual and weekly calendars to keep students,
parents/guardians, teachers, administrators, and community stakeholders
informed and to encourage active participation in the school counseling
Professional school counselors develop and implement data/needs-driven,
standards-based and research-supported programs, and engage in
continuous program evaluation activities. They also create results
reports that demonstrate immediate, intermediate, and long-range
effectiveness of comprehensive school counseling programs. Professional
school counselors analyze outcome data to guide future action and
improve future results for all students. The performance of the
professional school counselor is evaluated using an instrument based on
the School Counselor Performance Standards found in the ASCA National
Model, and the ASCA School Counselor Competencies. These standards of
practice are expected of professional school counselors when
implementing a school counseling program.