Why do we have a School Counselor at St. Thomas Aquinas Regional School?
Counselors provide access to a comprehensive school counseling program which allows students to have their social, emotional, and academic needs met at their developmental level.
Counselors play a vital role in advocating for a safe, nurturing, and dynamic learning environment for all students, not just those with identified emotional or academic needs.
Counselors collaborate with parents and teachers to develop and implement strategies and interventions which address the individual needs of each child.
School counselors must understand and use the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Ethical Standards for School Counseling to guide our practice and decision making.
When does the School Counselor get involved?
Parents or students may initiate contact with the School Counselor concerning specific issues involving a number of topics, including those related to grief, self-esteem, friendship, social skills, divorce, illness or other family issues. Once the School Counselor is contacted and the problem identified, information may be gathered from parents, students, teachers, the student’s files, and upon parental consent, the family doctor, when necessary.
Teachers are often the primary source of information concerning a student’s academic, social or behavioral issues, and may initiate contact with the School Counselor to discuss areas of concern before contacting parents. The counselor and teacher will plan possible solutions to specific areas of concern which may exist in the classroom. Teachers may also refer parents to the School Counselor to discuss these issues, and to collaborate with them in addressing the student’s needs.
What other ways does the School Counselor help in the school?
Through classroom guidance lessons in all grade levels, according to their needs: friendship skills, conflict resolution strategies, planning for high school, organization and time management
Through individual, short-term counseling to students, to help them resolve or handle problems while in school. Students may drop in or schedule a time before, during or after school.
Through group counseling sessions. These groups require parental permission and focus on specific issues. Past student groups have been offered for friendship/social skills, dealing with divorce, stress-management , and learning to handle a “bully”. Groups usually meet twice a week for two weeks and are scheduled at times which best avoid academic learning.
Through providing parental support. The School Counselor is here to assist the students as well as families of St. Thomas Aquinas Regional School by providing referrals for children who need additional services outside the school setting, or to lend an ear and offer advice to parents seeking information.