In just a few days our children will start a new school year. Some will be going to school for the first time, others will be transitioning to a new school. As parents, we want to ensure our children have a successful school year. We buy school supplies, familiarize ourselves with the school’s procedure and policies, potentially join the school’s Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), and meet and develop healthy relationships with our child’s teacher(s). Although it is critical to develop a relationship with your child’s teacher(s), there is another person at school whom you should consider getting to know.
Whether this is your child’s first year or last year in school, there is one person in the school you need to know: the school counselor!
When the school year begins, schools will have open houses and meet the teacher events, which focus on becoming familiar with the school and meeting your child’s teacher(s). However, during this time you should also consider meeting and getting to know your child’s school counselor. The school counselor plays important roles in your child’s school and you should know who they are and the services they offer.
In the elementary and middle schools, the school counselor’s roles may vary. They will potentially be the greatest influence/leader of your child’s early career exploration. They may lead classes that teach personal health and safety. The information they teach could range from proper hygiene, gun safety, bullying, and appropriate and inappropriate touching. Also, in the event a crisis should occur at the school or in your child’s life, school counselors are on the front line, ready and willing to provide counseling.
In the high schools, the school counselors are essential in assisting you and your child in determining their correct course work, ensuring their academic success, planning for their future, and applying for secondary education and scholarships. In addition to these academic services, the school counselors are usually accessible for providing counseling to students, as needed. Our high school aged children may not readily share with us things they are experiencing. The school counselor could serve as a trusted adult who could assist them in making healthy choices during their teenage years. They have completed specialized education and training to recognize signs of drug use, depression, and/or suicidal ideation. Again, if a crisis occurs, school counselors are on the front line, ready and willing to provide counseling. School counselors serve a critical role in the schools!