What are appropriate reasons for a student to meet with a School Counselor?
Students are encouraged to visit the counselor to address a range of issues, which may include:
- Coping Strategies for managing stress
- Needing a non-judgmental listener
- Making healthy life choices
- Education in understanding self and others, including strengths and weaknesses
- Goal-setting, decision- making, problem solving, transition planning
- Coping with grief or loss
- Navigating peer and family relationships
- Finding effective ways to communicate ideas & feelings
- Resolving conflict with a teacher or classmate
- Substance abuse education
- Multicultural/diversity awareness
When do School Counselors meet with students?
In the lower school, there are weekly guidance lessons for grades K-2 and bi-weekly lessons for grades 3-5 incorporated into each classroom’s specials schedule. Topic-specific small psycho-educational groups are facilitated once a week during lunchtime for a short period of time, usually 4-6 weeks, with parental permission. Individual student meetings with the counselor occur as needed at a time determined by the student’s teacher, ensuring the least disruption in classroom instructional time.
In the upper school, School Counselors may be involved in classroom or grade-level wide programming provided during Advisory or Community time, as well as other time slots allocated for social-emotional growth. Small group, topic-specific psycho-educational sessions may be facilitated during lunchtime. Individual student meetings with a counselor occur as needed and only during Pod or free periods, unless an urgent situation arises.
Do School Counselors have professional standards or guidelines to follow? What about Confidentiality?
Our school based counseling program includes approaches, strategies, and interventions that are in line with the five social and emotional learning core competencies identified by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). These competency categories are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making. For more information about the positive outcomes associated with effectively teaching and addressing these content areas in a developmentally appropriate way, please see http://www.casel.org/social-and-emotional-learning/core-competencies/.
Based on trust and the establishment of a safe and supportive environment, the relationship between school counselor and student asserts that students are entitled to a level of privacy and confidentiality. While our counselors do communicate discreetly to teachers and other relevant members of our student support teams- as well as with parents- to best support a student, sensitive information discussed during counseling sessions will be kept in confidence except for circumstances when students may be at risk of harming themselves or somebody else. Please contact the school counselors directly for more details regarding the limits of confidentiality.
How does one make an appointment?
Parents can refer a student directly to a school counselor via phone or e-mail. Faculty can refer students by submitting a counseling referral form (in the upper school), or contacting the counseling team directly via phone, email or collaborative meetings (in the lower school). Upper school students can fill out a guidance request form, found in the upper school office, or e-mail to make an appointment.
What kind of communication do the School Counselors have with parents?
Our counselors are available to communicate by phone, e-mail, or in-person appointments during school hours. We work as liaisons helping to bridge the connection between families and the school, often providing support and advocacy in student support team meetings (SSTs). Additionally, school counselors will provide opportunities for parent education and discussion throughout the year in the form of parent breakfasts, parent coffees, classes and seminars.
Knowing that there are many different approaches and philosophies to life, if a parent disagrees with the school counselor’s suggested response to a situation that is okay. We are happy to work with each family to ensure that the professional guidance and options we suggest are complimentary to your family’s approach. Our outlook is based on mutual respect and partnership.