THE WMS COUNSELING AND GUIDANCE PROGRAM INVOLVES A PROACTIVE APPROACH THAT INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING:
A guidance curriculum that is presented through classroom or group activities and provides students with assistance in:
Understanding self and others
Becoming a life-long learner
Decision making skills
Understanding school to work relationships
Safety and survival skills
Individual student planning to assist students with test interpretation, academic achievement, and personal and career development. This component may be delivered in a group or individually with a student or parent.
Responsive services that include personal student counseling, agency referral, consultation with parents, teachers and other professionals, support groups and problem solving, classroom guidance.
System support that includes indirect guidance management activities that maintain and enhance the total guidance program. This component includes consultation with staff and administrators, In-service education & support, professional development, and student support teams.
WHAT IS NOT PART OF THE COUNSELING AND GUIDANCE PROGRAM?
A big challenge for counseling and guidance programs at most schools is to dispel the myths associated with school counselors. For example, school counselors:
are not who “bad” students are sent to as a “last resort” because of disruptive problems. Students whose behavior violates school rules are handled by the principal or assistant principal. Students who choose to be disruptive may be referred to the counselor by the principal or by a teacher to provide an opportunity to brainstorm and problem-solve other options to get students’ needs met. However, such sessions are not disciplinary.
are not psychoanalysts who probe into dysfunctional mental or emotional issues. Parents of students with serious problems that cannot be resolved through short-term problem-solving may be encouraged to seek outside counseling services for their child(ren).
HOW ARE STUDENTS REFERRED FOR COUNSELING, MEDIATION OR PROBLEM-SOLVING SESSIONS?
Referral can be by:
Teacher, principal, parent, or guardian referral
WHY MIGHT MY CHILD SEEK THE COUNSELOR’S HELP?
The majority of students who seek the counselor’s help desire to understand or resolve a dispute they have with a peer. Regardless of age, relating to and communicating with other individuals can be an extremely difficult and challenging part of life. The social aspect of school is tremendously important for middle school students. Some issues students may struggle with are:
Building and maintaining friendships
Transitioning out of a friendship
Interacting with peers whose views differ from their own
Feeling manipulated, hurt, or being teased
Making sense of and maneuvering social hierarchies and alliances
The above issues and others are confusing and difficult for adolescents to deal with constructively. Thus, students may need assistance in learning how to speak assertively but in a non-combative manner or in learning how to listen to someone else’s viewpoint in a respectful manner without erupting in anger. The school counselor provides students with a nonjudgmental ear in a supportive and caring environment and encourages them to discuss issues or problems that are contributing negatively to their success. The counselor assists students in learning how to develop genuine, mutually supportive relationships and how to effectively resolve their problems by practicing communicative and thinking skills.
Successful implementation of the guidance curriculum depends upon all stakeholders of the guidance program working together. Partnership of the counselor, parents, faculty, administrators, and other individuals contribute significantly to student success. As such, all students can have the opportunity to develop necessary skills for becoming responsible and successful learners.
PERSONAL INFORMATION SHARED WITH A SCHOOL COUNSELOR IS CONFIDENTIAL UNLESS IT INVOLVES:
Harming Self or Others
Abuse or Neglect
When the above situations are evident, counselors must report the information to the appropriate individuals.