The Pasco County School District adheres to the belief that the School Counseling Program is an essential and integral part of the overall education process. The comprehensive program is coordinated by a state certified professional school counselor and based on the American School Counseling Association National Standards for Students. This program is built on the assumption that educational, career and personal objectives are attainable when guidance for all students is provided. This implementation acknowledges that key stakeholders are involved in the coordination of a data-driven program that is research and evidence-based. Growth and learning are developmental; therefore, the School Counseling Program must be developmental and sequential.
Why Middle School Counselors
“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 childhood, a time of rapid growth and change. Children face unique and diverse challenges, both personally and developmentally, that have an impact on academic achievement.”
– “Toward a Blueprint for Youth: Making Positive Youth Development a National Priority,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Middle School Students’ Developmental Needs
The middle years are a time when students begin to develop their academic self-concept and their feelings of competence and confidence as learners. They are beginning to develop decision-making, communication and life skills, as well as character values. It is also a time when students develop and acquire attitudes toward school, self, peers, social groups and family. Comprehensive developmental school counseling programs provide education, prevention and intervention services, which are integrated into all aspects of children’s lives. Early identification and intervention of children’s academic and personal/social needs is essential in removing barriers to learning and in promoting academic achievement. The knowledge, attitudes and skills that students acquire in the areas of academic, career and personal/social development during these elementary years serve as the foundation for future success.
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 don’t 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 school success. 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. ASCA’s National Standards in the academic, career, and personal/social domains are the foundation for this work. The ASCA National Model: A Framework For School Counseling Programs (ASCA, 2002), with its data-driven and results-based focus, serves as a guide for today’s school counselor who is uniquely trained to implement this program.
Middle School Counselors Implement the Counseling Program by Providing:
- Academic support, including organizational, study and test-taking skills
- Goal setting and decision-making
- Career awareness, exploration and planning
- Education on understanding self and others
- Peer relationships, coping strategies and effective social skills
- Communication, problem-solving and conflict resolution
- Substance abuse education
- Multicultural/diversity awareness
- Individual student planning
- Goal setting/decision- making
- Education on understanding of self, including strengths and weaknesses
- Transition plans
- Individual and small-group counseling
- Individual/family/school crisis intervention
- Conflict resolution
- Consultation, collaboration and teaming
- Program management and operation
Middle School Counselors Collaborate with:
College/career awareness programs
One-on-one parent conferencing
Interpretation of assessment results
Classroom guidance activities
Academic support, including learning style assessment and education to help students succeed academically
At-risk student identification and implementation of interventions to enhance success
Behavioral management plans
School-wide needs assessments
Student data and results
Student assistance team building
Job shadowing, service learning
**These examples are not intended to be all-inclusive
Middle school years set the tone for developing the knowledge, attitudes and skill necessary for children to become healthy, competent and confident learners. Through a comprehensive developmental school counseling program, school counselors work as a team with the school staff, parents and the community to create a caring climate and atmosphere. By providing education, prevention, early identification and intervention, school counselors can help all children achieve academic success. The professional elementary 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 enhances the school counselor’s knowledge and effectiveness.
(copied from the ASCA website)
ACADEMIC DEVELOPMENT GOAL:
Students will acquire the academic preparation essential to chose from a variety of educational, training, and employment options upon completion of secondary school.
CAREER DEVELOPMENT GOAL:
Students will investigate the world of work in order to make informed career decisions.
PERSONAL/SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT GOAL:
Students will acquire an understanding of, and respect for, self and others, and the skills to be responsible citizens.
- KA.1: Recognize responsibilities of being a student worker in school.
- KC.1: Identify areas of interest.
- KC.2: Develop awareness of careers in the community.
- KP.1: Recognize and appreciate one’s unique abilities.
- KP.2: Identify and understand the meaning of various feeling words.
- KP.3: Develop awareness of empathy.
- KP.4: Distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate behavior in school.
- KP.5: Use appropriate communication skills to ask for help when needed
- 1A.1: Develop skills and positive work habits (including task completion) to successfully meet school requirements.
- 1A.2: Understand that mistakes are essential to the learning process.
- 1A.3: Understand the importance of goal setting.
- 1C.1: Develop an understanding of roles and contributions of workers in school, home, and community.
- 1C.2: Identify personal skills, abilities, and interests in the areas of academic, career, and personal/social development.
- 1P.1: Describe how to express feelings in constructive ways (i.e. “I statements.”)
- 1P.2: Develop an awareness of the importance of personal safety (i.e. Know telephone number, home address, emergency contact information, Stranger Danger).
- 1P.3: Identify situations requiring adult professional help.
- 2A.1: Develop awareness of goal-setting steps.
- 2A.2: Recognize the relationship between goal setting and accomplishing work.
- 2A.3: Work independently to achieve academic success.
- 2A.4: Identify and utilize test-taking skills.
- 2C.1: Learn about the variety of traditional and non-traditional occupations in a changing work place.
- 2C.2: Identify resource people in the school and community and understand how to seek their help.
- 2P.1: Identify forms of communication (e.g., listening, speaking, body language, etc.)
- 2P.2: Develop awareness of individual differences.
- 2P.3: Define “friend” and describe what is meant by “friendship.”
- 2P.4: Recognize how personal behavior affects group dynamics.
- 2P.5: Recognize peer pressure and bullying situations.
- 2P.6: Recognize different coping strategies to deal with situations.
- 3A.1: Set realistic short-term goals.
- 3A.2: Recognize the relationship between learning/achievement and personal effort.
- 3A.3: Identify and utilize study, organizational, and test-taking skills.
- 3A.4: Display a positive work ethic (persistence, self-motivation, punctuality, etc.)
- 3A.5: Identify how group participation contributes to learning.
- 3C.1: Demonstrate how a positive outlook regarding self, education and work enhances potential and increases productivity.
- 3C.2: Recognize that skills, abilities, and interests are considerations in the choice of careers.
- 3C.3: Understand that jobs with similar characteristics may be grouped as job families or career clusters.
- 3P.1: Identify different modes of interpersonal communication (verbal, non-verbal).
- 3P.2: Positively communicate thoughts, feelings, and needs to others in a variety of situations.
- 3P.3: Demonstrate and accept responsibility for individual behavior and how it affects others.
- 3P.4: Demonstrate self-control.
- 3P.5: Demonstrate how to communicate positively in a conflict situation.
- 3P.6: Explain the skills needed to function effectively in groups.
- 3P.7: Identify the decision-making process.
- 3P.8: Understand that diversity exists in the United States of America and appreciate the similarities and differences of all ethnic backgrounds.
- 4A.1: Identify and describe how decision-making, problem-solving, and coping skills support or interfere with academic achievement.
- 4A.2: Identify and utilize effective test-taking skills.
- 4A.3: Demonstrate time management and organizational skills.
- 4A.5: Understand how personal learning styles can impact school achievement.
- 4C.1: Identify hobbies and interests.
- 4C.2: Relate each step of the decision-making/problem-solving process to career development (awareness, exploration, and preparation).
- 4P.1: Evaluate methods of expressing feelings.
- 4P.2: Identify and describe the steps in a decision-making/problem-solving process.
- 4P.3: Identify factors that influence personal decisions.
- 4P.4: Generate alternative solutions to problems and consider/evaluate consequences.
- 4P.5: Demonstrate the decision-making process.
- 4P.6: Recognize that group members may have differing opinions.
- 4P.7: Demonstrate different coping strategies for various situations and life changes.
- 4P.8: Identify factors that impact personal safety and well-being (i.e. substance abuse, etc.).
- 4P.9: Demonstrate self-reliance.
- 5A.1: Set realistic long-term goals.
- 5A.2: Apply personal learning style.
- 5A.3: Recognize the benefits of individual initiative and teamwork.
- 5C.1: Compile a list of personal abilities.
- 5C.2: Describe how personal strengths in school work affect future goals and career options.
- 5C.3: Understand that the changing workplace requires lifelong learning and acquiring new skills.
- 5C.4: Acquire employability skills such as teamwork, problem-solving, and organization.
- 5C.5: Identify career choices through various means of exploration.
- 5C.6: Describe changes as inevitable and necessary to adapt to new situations, (e.g., middle school).
- 5P.1: Describe how verbal and non-verbal behavior influence interpersonal relationships.
- 5P.2: Demonstrate how to communicate with others.
- 5P.3: Demonstrate appreciation and respect for similarities and differences in opinions.
- 5P.4: Describe strategies for getting along with others.
- 5P.5: Demonstrate how to disagree with other without provoking them.
- 5P.6: Demonstrate appropriate responses to ease a conflict situation.
- 5P.7: Demonstrate effective responses to peer pressure and bullying situations.
- 5P.8: Identify and analyze group dynamics in a variety of situations.