School Counseling Philosophy and Beliefs

Caroline Middle School Counseling Program

Philosophy and Beliefs

The counselors at Caroline Middle School believe that:

 All students have dignity and worth.

 All students can be successful learners.

 The counselors’ primary purpose is to advocate for the student.

 The counseling program is a critical component within the school system and is integral to the academic, personal/social, and career development and progress of each student.

 Parents, teachers, administrators, support specialists, and community providers are valuable assets to the counseling program.

 School counseling programs adhere to the Standards for School Counseling Programs in Virginia Public Schools and to the American School Counselor Association’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

 The counseling program is available to all enrolled students; Parents do have the option to “opt-out” their child from this program.

 Consultation, collaboration, counseling, and classroom guidance are all essential components of a successful counseling program.

Our goal as a counseling program is to increase attendance, improve academic performance, and engage students in their own career exploration.

In an effort to meet the ever changing needs of our diverse student population, the counseling program at Caroline Middle School is continuously improved through systemic review and evaluation of data.

VISION

All Caroline Middle School Students are eligible to receive the benefits of a school counseling program that is developmental in nature, preventive in design, and comprehensive in scope. As an integral part of the total educational program, school counselors ensure access to services so that every student is challenged and supported to reach his/her highest potential.

MISSION STATEMENT

The mission of the Caroline Middle School Counseling Program is to provide a comprehensive and developmental program that addresses the academic, career, and personal/social needs of each student. Counseling services are provided through a classroom curriculum, group and individual counseling, and crisis intervention. In partnership with educators, parents, and the community, our school counselors work to prepare our diverse student population to be lifelong learners in our ever changing society.

Comprehensive Guidance Program Components

Adapted from the American School Counselor Association (ASCA National Model, 2003)

GUIDANCE CURRICULUM

The guidance curriculum component consists of planned experiences presented systematically through classroom and group activities K-12. The purpose of the guidance curriculum is to provide each student in our schools with the skills needed to address their academic, career, and social needs. While counselors’ responsibilities include the organization and implementation of the guidance curriculum, the cooperation of the administration and entire faculty and staff is necessary for its successful implantation. The guidance curriculum is delivered through: Classroom Activities: School counselors provide instruction, team teach, or assist in teaching the school guidance curriculum, learning activities, or units in the classroom, career center, or other school facilities. Group Activities: School counselors conduct groups outside the classroom to respond to students’ identified needs. Parent Workshops and Instruction: School counselors conduct workshops and informational sessions for parents or guardians to address the needs of the school community and to reflect the student school guidance curriculum.

INDIVIDUAL PLANNING

Individual planning consists of school counselors coordinating activities designed to help individual students establish personal goals and develop future plans. School counselors coordinate activities that help each student plan, monitor, and manage their academic, career, and social development. These activities are generally delivered on an individual basis or in small groups. Individual planning is implemented through: Individual Appraisal: School counselors work with students analyzing and evaluating students’ abilities, interests, skills, and achievement. Test information and other data are the basis for assisting students to develop immediate and long-range plans. Individual Advisement: School counselors advise students using personal/social, educational, and career information in planning personal, educational, and occupational goals. The involvement of parents and the school community in this process is important.

RESPONSIVE SERVICES

Responsive services consist of activities to meet the immediate needs and concerns of students. These concerns may require counseling, consultation, referral, peer mediation, or information. This component is available to all students and is often parent and/or student-initiated. School counselors have special training and skills to respond to these needs and concerns. However the cooperation and support of the staff are necessary for successful implementation. Responsive services are delivered through: Counseling: School counseling is a short-term helping process. It is provided on a small-group or individual basis for students expressing difficulties dealing with relationships or personal concerns which may interfere with academic success. School counseling assists students in identifying problems, causes and possible consequences so that appropriate choices are considered. Crisis counseling is available to address traumatic unforeseen events. Consultation: School counselors consult with parents, staff, and other school and community groups regarding strategies to help students. School counselors serve as student advocates. Referrals: School counselors assist in making referrals to outside agencies. The counselor may act as an advocate for the student, assisting them as they make contacts with these agencies. Peer Facilitation: Counselors train students as peer mediators, conflict managers, and mentors. The techniques of peer mediation and conflict resolution are used to help students learn how to make changes in the way they get along with others.

SYSTEM SUPPORT

System support consists of management activities that establish, maintain and enhance the total school counseling program. In addition to the professional development activities in which counselors participate, this component is implemented and carried out through: Consultation: Counselors consult with teachers, staff members, and parents/guardians regularly in order to provide information, to support the school community, and to receive feedback on emerging needs of students. Advisory Councils: School counselors serve on school committees, curriculum committees, committees and advisory boards as a way to support programs in the school and community. Community Outreach: School counselors are knowledgeable about community resources, referral agencies, field trip sites, employment opportunities and local labor market information. This may involve counselors visiting appropriate sites. Program Management and Operations: Counselors plan and manage tasks necessary to support the activities included in the comprehensive guidance program. Counselors also orient staff and community to the guidance program through newsletters, guidance webpages, local media, and school-community presentations.

 

Standards for School Counseling Programs in Virginia Public Schools

Academic Development

Goal:  Students will acquire the academic preparation essential to choose from a variety of educational, training, and employment options upon completion of secondary school.

Grades K-3 Students will :

EA1. Understand the expectations of the educational environment

EA2. Understand the importance of individual effort, hard work, and persistence

EA3. Understand the relationship of academic achievement to current and future success in school

EA4. Understand that mistakes are essential to the learning process

EA5. Demonstrate individual initiative and positive interest in learning

EA6. Use appropriate communication skills to ask for help when needed

EA7. Work independently to achieve academic success

EA8. Work cooperatively in small and large groups towards a common goal

EA9. Use study skills and test-taking strategies.

Grades 4-5 Students will :

EA10. Recognize personal strengths and weaknesses related to learning

EA11. Demonstrate time management and organizational skills

EA12. Apply study skills necessary for academic achievement

EA13. Use critical thinking skills and test-taking strategies

EA14. Understand the choices, options, and requirements of the middle school environment

Grades 6-8 Students will :

MA 1. Understand the relationship of personal abilities, goals, skills, interests, and motivation to academic achievement

MA 2. Understand the relationship of dependability, productivity, and initiative to academic success

MA 3. Understand the importance of high school course and/or program selection in relation to future academic and career options

MA 4. Understand high school graduation requirements, MA 5. Understand individual assessment results in relation to educational progress

MA 6. Demonstrate the skills needed to develop a high school educational plan based on ability, interest, and achievement

MA 7. Demonstrate responsibility for actions to ensure a successful transition from middle school to high school.

Grades 9-12 Students will:

HA 1. Understand their academic status toward meeting the graduation requirements

HA 2. Understand the variety of post-secondary options available to them and the requirements

HA 3. Demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure a successful transition from high school to post-secondary options

HA 4. Demonstrate the skills needed for independent living.

Career Development

Goal: Students will investigate the world of work in order to make informed career decisions.

Grades K-3 Students will:

EC1. Understand the concepts of job and career

EC2. Understand that behaviors such as punctuality, courtesy, proper dress and proper language are essential to current and future success

EC3. Understand the relationship of individual effort, hard work and persistence to achievement

EC4. Understand the importance of teamwork in working towards a common goal.

EC5. Demonstrate the decision making process

EC6. Demonstrate goal setting.

Grades 4-5 Students will:

EC7. Recognize the benefits of both individual initiative and teamwork

EC8. Recognize that the changing workplace requires lifelong learning

EC9. Identify hobbies and interest

EC10. Identify career choices through exploration.

Grades 6-8 Students will :

MC1. Identify the relationship of course content, educational achievement, and career choices

MC2. Identify personal preferences, skills, and interests that influence career choices and success

MC3. Understand the effect of career choices on quality of life

MC4. Understand that behaviors such as punctuality, courtesy, proper dress and language, and hard work are essential to success in the job market

MC5 Demonstrate understanding of the education and training needed to achieve career goals

Grades 9-12 Students will:

HC1. Understand the value of ethical standards and behaviors in education and the workplace

HC2. Understand how changing economic and societal needs influence employment trends and future training

HC3. Understand how work and leisure interests can help to achieve personal success and satisfaction

HC4. Understand how the changing workplace requires lifelong learning, flexibility, and the acquisition of new employment skills

HC5. Understand that behaviors such as punctuality, courtesy, proper dress and language, and hard work are essential to success in the job market

HC6. Understand that self-employment is a career option and demonstrate knowledge of the variety of professional, technical and vocational skills necessary for self-employment

HC7. Demonstrate employability skills such as individual initiative, teamwork, problem solving, organization, and communication

HC8. Demonstrate skills involved in locating, using, and interpreting a variety of career and educational resources, including the Internet

HC9. Develop and utilize time and task management skills

HC10. Demonstrate knowledge of the current job market trends

HC12. Apply decision making skills to career planning

Personal/Social Development

Goal: Students will acquire an understanding of, and respect for, self and others, and the skills to be responsible citizens.

Grades K-3 Students will :

EP1. Exhibit the principles of character, including honesty, trustworthiness, respect for the rights and property of others, respect for rules and laws, taking responsibility for one’s own actions, fairness, caring, and citizenship

EP2. Understand how to make and keep friends and work cooperatively with others

EP3. Understand that Americans are one people of many diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds and national origins, who are united as Americans by common customs and traditions

EP4. Demonstrate good manners and respectful behavior towards others

EP5. Demonstrate self-discipline and self-reliance

EP6. Identify resource people in the school and community and understand how to seek their help

EP7. Understand the importance of short- and long-term goals.

Grades 4-5 Students will:

EP8. Understand change as a part of growth

EP9. Understand decision-making and problem solving strategies

EP10. Identify the emotional and physical dangers of substance use and abuse

EP11. Use strategies for managing peer pressure

EP12. Use strategies for handling conflict in a peaceful way.

Grades 6-8 Students will:

MP1. Recognize the effect of peer pressure on decision-making

MP2. Understand the consequences of decisions and choices

MP3. Understand the emotional and physical dangers of substance use and abuse

MP4. Use appropriate decision making and problem solving skills

Grades 9-12 Students will:

HP1. Understand the relationship among, and importance of respecting rules, laws, safety, and the protection of individual rights

HP2. Understand when and how to utilize family, peer, school, and/or community resources

HP3. Use appropriate communication and conflict resolution skills with peers and adults

HP4. Apply problem solving and decision making skills to make safe and healthy choices

HP5. Understand when and how to utilize family, peer, school, and/or community resources (SOL HP5).