The middle school’s counselor’s role encompasses counseling, consulting and coordination as well. A comprehensive school counseling program covers three areas of student development:
The school counseling program reflects the progression of student’s skills in these areas across the year–kindergarten through grade12. The school counselor may deliver services through a variety of methods:
In a confidential setting, the professional school counselor employs specific counseling techniques to assist students in areas such as:
- educational planning for high school and college,
- career planning,
- developing positives attitudes and behavior,
- developing skills related to decision making and problem solving,
- dealing with interpersonal relationships, and
- crisis intervention.
In a counseling relationship counselors must at times be mindful of their actions in terms of the rights and welfare of the student. Individual counseling services provided by the school counselor include topics that are specific not only to adolescent development and academic concerns, but also topics that are specific to the needs of the demographic area served.
Small Group Counseling
In small group counseling, the counselor meets with two or more students. In this setting students work on shared tasks and develop supportive relationships. Through giving and receiving feedback, students have the opportunity to gain valuable skills in how to learn and live with others. Group discussion may be problem centered, where attention is given to a particular concern or problem; or group discussion may be growth oriented, where topics are related to personal and academic development.
Small group counseling is especially suitable for middle school adolescents. Groups provide a place where they can safely experiment with reality and test their limits. A unique quality of group counseling lets adolescents be instrumental in one another’s growth.
Small group counseling is an essential aspect of the role of the middle school counselor. The topics of the groups are mandated by the needs of the population.
Through a series of planned classroom learning experiences, counselors assist teachers with meaningful activities targeting the personal/social, academic, and career development of students. This is a planned, sequential developmental program. The guidance program may focus on topics such as
- Career Awareness
- Test Information
- Test taking skills
- Interpersonal skills
The program is proactive and seeks to prevent problems by developing skills in areas such as communication, decision making, conflict resolution, cross cultural effectiveness and personal safety.
Consultation is a key vehicle to addressing the needs of the early adolescent student. The middle school counselor consults with parents, teachers and other educational professional on matters inclusive of, but not restricted to personal/social career and academic nature.
As a consultant the middle school counselor participates as an interdisciplinary team member, provides in-service for staff and parents on issues relevant to early adolescents, assists at parent conferences, and provides information to teachers about how to meet the needs of students experiencing academic and emotional problems.Counselors confer directly with teachers, parents, administrators and other helping professionals.
Consultation provides for the mutual sharing and analysis of information and ideas to assist in planning implementing strategies to help students.
Consultation may take place in individual or group conferences, through staff development activities, or parent education classes.
The middle school counselor’s role as coordinator involves managing various aspects of indirect services that help students succeed.
Counselors serve as a liaison between teachers, parents, support personnel, and community resources to facilitate successful school development. This may include assisting parents to obtain needed services for their children through a referral and follow-up process. They also serve as liaisons between school and community resources.
Middle school counselors, as coordinators,
- help identify resources needed by parents, students and teachers,
- provide interpretation of standardized tests results,
- facilitate the distribution of information pertinent to student needs,
- assess students’ needs and
- develop programs and selects material and resources to be available to parents.
Coordination also includes orienting new students to the school and coordinating student transition to the next educational or career level.