School counselors play important roles in school districts, allowing students to resolve issues they face at home or in the classroom. Given the challenges students may encounter in a remote or hybrid learning environment, their role may even more essential this year.
Here at HMH, we highly value equity and access in K-12 schools. Counselors can play an important role in enhancing these qualities in districts, according to the American School Counselor Association (ASCA).
National School Counseling Week, sponsored by ASCA, focuses on how counselors contribute to and impact U.S. school systems. Below, you can learn more about this day, including ways to celebrate and show appreciation with your students.
When Is National School Counseling Week in 2022?
In 2022, National School Counseling Week will be February 7-11. It's celebrated each year during the first full week of February.
What Is National School Counseling Week, and Why Do We Celebrate It?
The ASCA website explains that National School Counseling Week “highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career.”
Why Should We Show Appreciation for School Counselors?
School counselors play a vital role in helping students face various challenges. In Pasadena Now, Alvin Nash, president of United Teachers of Pasadena, said counselors allow K-12 students to better understand their own strengths; work with parents to help them overcome obstacles in raising their children; and encourage educators to have their students set healthy, positive goals.
Facing a challenge or planning a future: both require courage, persistence, and support. #SchoolCounselors can support all of these things as part of the school team that helps students turn their dreams into reality. 🌟 #NSCW2020— U.S. Department of Education (@usedgov) February 6, 2020
What Does a School Counselor Do?
Counselors are licensed educators who address students’ academic, career, and social/emotional development needs by implementing and executing a counseling program aiming for student success, according to ASCA. They can work in elementary, middle, or high schools or in district supervisory roles.
In particular, school counselors can benefit students of color and low-income students. Research links high student-to-counselor ratios in low-income schools with better outcomes, including improved attendance, fewer disciplinary incidents, and higher graduation rates. Per ASCA:
Students of color and students from low-income families have been overlooked and underserved for far too long. If anything, they deserve more access to school counselors than their peers — not the same, and certainly not less. And yet, the schools serving the most students of color or the most students from low-income families are shortchanged when it comes to school counselors.
The following resources can help you learn more about a day in the life of a school counselor.
- “This is What an Elementary School Counselor Does” (Forbes)
- “What Does a School Counselor Do?” (ASCA)
- “3 Ways High School Counselors Can Help Students, Parents” (U.S. News & World Report)
According to ASCA, a 250-to-1 student-to-counselor ratio is ideal, though the average in many states is currently significantly higher.
What Are Some Counselor Appreciation Week Ideas for School?
You can encourage your students to thank their school counselors, whether it's upon seeing them in the hallway, visiting their office, or just sending them a nice email. Teachers can also decorate their doors with signs expressing gratitude for the work school counselors do and the difference they make in students’ lives.
On its website, ASCA offers a wide range of resources to celebrate National School Counseling Week with your students. There, you can find certificates of appreciation that students can give to school counselors, sample morning announcements to acknowledge this week, posters for students, and more.
This blog, originally published in 2019, has been updated for 2022.
Senior Director Community Engagement, HMH; Host of HMH Learning Moments: Teachers in America Podcast