It's National School Counseling Week! How to Celebrate in Your School

School counselors play important roles in school districts, allowing students to resolve issues they face at home or in the classroom. 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 website.

From February 4-8, we’re celebrating National School Counseling Week 2019, which focuses on how counselors contribute to and impact U.S. school systems.

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 celebrate 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.

What does a school counselor do?

Counselors are licensed educators who address students’ academic, career, and social/emotional development needs “by designing, implementing, evaluating, and enhancing a comprehensive school counseling program that promotes and enhances 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.

The need for school counselors has also been a topic of protest among teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Among the teachers’ union’s demands are more nurses, librarians, and academic counselors in understaffed schools or those who don’t have employees to fill these positions at all. According to ASCA, the average student-to-counselor ratio is 464 to 1, though the organization suggests that schools maintain a 250-to-1 ratio.

What can I do to celebrate school counselors?

To start, you can encourage your students to thank their school counselors upon seeing them in the hallway or visiting their office. 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.

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