What is an elementary school counselor?
School counselors are trained and certified in school counseling with unique qualifications and skills to address all students’ academic, personal/social and career development needs through:
- Individual counseling
- Group counseling
- Classroom guidance lessons
- Teacher/parent consultations
- Community referrals
- Liaison between families and community agencies
The school counselor provides individual and small-group counseling regarding school-related issues and themes. Students are seen at the request of teachers and/or parents. Counseling services in the school setting are generally brief and goal-oriented. Students in need of long-term therapy are referred for private professional support.
Structured small group counseling is also provided as needs arise. Groups are usually formed from the school counselor individual caseload or upon the request of teachers. Frequent themes are anxiety, divorce, self-esteem, anger management, coping skills, test-taking skills (organization, time management) and friendship skills.
Classroom guidance and character education
The school counselor provides lessons to classrooms of grade level specific topics throughout the school year. Classroom guidance is a planned, developmental program of guidance activities designed to foster students’ academic, career and personal/social development that align with the American School Counseling Association National Model and our district’s standards.
The school counselor can assist parents and teachers when circumstances interfere with a student’s regular presence in school. The district sets specific requirements regarding student attendance. Herkimer Elementary School policy recognizes the following excused absences:
- Illness of the student
- Death in the immediate family
- Student appointments
All other absences are considered unexcused. Please know that a written note regarding the reason for the student’s absence is required. However, a written note does not mean that the absence will be excused if the circumstances do not meet the policy guidelines (please refer to the Herkimer Elementary School Parent-Student Handbook).
When a student’s absences reach certain benchmarks, a letter will be sent home notifying parents. An individual attendance plan may be developed with the student and parent. With repeated absences due to the illness of a student, medical verification may be requested. Occasionally, court intervention is necessary when parents are not able to comply with the compulsory attendance law.
The school day begins at 8:05 a.m. Students are expected to be in the classroom at the bell ready to begin instruction. If the student develops a pattern of constant tardiness, the school counselor will discuss the concern of tardiness with the parent and find ways to remedy the problem.
As your school counselor, it is my job to assist all students in having a positive and productive experience at school. School counselors help to empower students to feel good about themselves and aid them in the process of making positive decisions that lead to healthy and meaningful lives. Every child has the potential to thrive!