Greetings from RISCA President Lori Lebrun
From the President...
Be Proud Of What You Do: Advocating for Your School Counseling Program
When I think back to my high school years, I fondly remember my guidance counselor, Mr. Berard . Mr. Berard was the most amazing listener and truly loved his students. He is the reason why I became a school counselor. If anyone were to ask what Mr. Berard’s role was as a guidance counselor, most would say that he scheduled classes, helped with college applications, but most importantly he guided students through their difficult times. I think at that time, it was understood by most of what the guidance counselor's role entailed. If you were to ask parents now-a-days, “What does your child’s school counselor do?” I think they would need to pause for a moment to think. The first question they might ask is, “Do you mean Guidance counselor?”
The role of a School Counselor has evolved and changed greatly since I was in high school. Because of that, school counselors need to share with all stakeholders so that they fully understand our role. ASCA states that, “To promote advocacy, counselors need to speak up, reach out, and always use data”. We need to be proud of what we do.
I remember the first time I called home to speak to a parent about their child participating in an anxiety group. The parent had no idea that school counselors did small groups with students. I realized at that moment that I needed to do a better job of informing all of our stakeholders about the many different services the school counselor offers. Some ways to advocate for your program:
● Create business cards with your email and school phone number
● Design a pamphlet to share with families at Open House/Parent Night
● Invite parents in to share about the groups that their students are participating in
● Be present and available at school functions.
● Create Google Classrooms for students and give access to parents so that they can see strategies and lessons being taught to students.
If we don’t inform and include parents, administration and the community of the academic, personal/social and career programs that we do, they will not see the importance of our program, which will ultimately affect the effectiveness of it all.
Be proud of what you do and be willing to share!
The mission of the Rhode Island School Counselor Association
is to promote excellence in the profession of school counseling
along with the development of all students.