• ⚓  Mission Statement 

     

    The mission of the Aberdeen School District’s elementary school counseling program is to provide a comprehensive and developmentally appropriate school counseling program that focuses on the needs, interests, and issues of all students. The school counselor will strive to create a safe, caring, and supportive learning environment in collaboration with students, staff, families, and the community that will assist students in achieving their academic potential and future success.

     

      Philosophy 

    All students, regardless of socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, gender, physical and/or mental capabilities, have the ability to succeed.

     

    What Does a School Counselor Do?

    As An Elementary Counselor, I help all children to be successful in school by:

    • Helping children build self-confidence and create a positive self-image.
    • Helping children learn and develop social, problem-solving, and conflict-resolution skills.
    • Helping children feel safe by establishing a supportive and nurturing learning environment.
    • Encouraging children to be leaders and role models for other students.
    • Being an accepting, trusted, helpful adult to whom children can turn.
    • Provide individual and small group counseling.
    • Designs and implements comprehensive and preventative school-wide guidance lessons.
    • Supporting student growth in areas of academic, personal/social, and career development.
    • Seeking to assist in the removal of barriers to learning and serve as an advocate for all students.
    • Developing and managing individualized plans for students, including 504 plans, behavior plans, and academic support plans. 

     

    As An Elementary Counselor, I help school staff with:

    • Collaborating with building teams, including the Student Support Team (SST), Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), Right Response Team(RRT), and Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS).
    • Providing a holistic view of each child.
    • Consulting with and providing resources to teachers, administration, behavioral support specialists, and other staff.
    • Providing ideas and strategies to help students grow and be successful.
    • Being a liaison between home and school, including conferences, school meetings, school attendance, and consulting with the Connections Team.
    • Provides responsive services such as referrals, small group and individual counseling, and crisis interventions.

     

    As An Elementary Counselor, I help parents with the following:

    • Consultation with parents and guardians.
    • Advising parents of strategies for school support.
    • Providing resource materials.
    • Helping parents understand the developmental growth of children.
    • Being a liaison between home, school, and the community.
    • Providing referral information to community resources and mental health and counseling services.
    • Provides responsive services such as referrals, small group and individual counseling, and crisis interventions.
    • Developing and managing individualized plans for students, including 504 plans, behavior plans, and academic support plans.

     

    About School Counseling Lessons

    School counseling lessons are classroom lessons that are designed to reach all students across all grade levels with the intent of prevention for all students. They are developed to help students gain knowledge, attitudes, and skills in three domains: academic, career, and personal/social. School counseling lessons are appropriate for the developmental grade level of the students.

     

    Examples of topics that may be covered are:

    Bullying prevention, career awareness, problem-solving, conflict resolution, drug and alcohol prevention, coping skills, peer and social relationships, social awareness, self-awareness, personal safety, etc.

     

    Small Group Counseling

    Small groups are offered to provide additional services and interventions for students who have common needs or concerns. Small groups are an enjoyable way for students to support one another while gaining confidence, skills to succeed in school, building relationships, developing interpersonal skills, and personal growth. Group topics depend on the needs of the students. Small groups are short in duration and are usually completed in 4 - 6 sessions.

     

    Possible small group topics may include:

    • School success
    • Managing emotions
    • Building self-esteem
    • Friendship
    • Social skills
    • Anxiety

     

    Individual Counseling

    Students can be referred for individual counseling by parents or guardians and staff.  Students may also self-refer. Individual counseling is short-term and is not a replacement for therapy. Individual school counseling can support students by helping them to build skill sets, problem-solve, and resolve conflicts. Individual school counseling provides a safe environment to share thoughts and feelings and access to a supportive and accepting listener. Individual school counseling is aimed at improving a student’s ability to be a productive learner.  Possible reasons a student may seek individual school counseling: 

     

    • Stress
    • Friendship troubles
    • Grief and loss
    • Emotion management
    • Social skills
    • Impulsivity
    • Lack of interest in school or activities
    • Study skills and strategies
    • Anything that may be of concern to the student

     

    School Counseling Misconceptions

    “Only children with ‘problems’ need to see a counselor.”

    Truth: School counseling is a district-wide program, and all students have access to their school counselor. School counselors work to build relationships with all students. All students are welcome and may see the counselor for a variety of reasons. When you think about it, everyone has problems and needs support.

     

     “There’s no reason for my child to see the counselor--they’re fine.”

    Truth: Everyone has emotions and thoughts weighing on their minds. Having someone to listen to those thoughts can work wonders! Sometimes, vocalizing concerns helps a student be a more productive learner. Some common topics students discuss may include academic struggles, self-esteem, problem-solving, friendship troubles, and worries.

     

     “The school counselor should call the parent and/or guardian when their student visits.”

    Truth: A school counselor works on building trusting relationships with students in a safe and supportive environment. Everyone deserves to have someone to talk with and know that what they say is respected through privacy. The school counselor will contact the guardian if there is an immediate or ongoing concern. Student safety is always a top priority! Please see the confidentiality and mandated reporter button on the main page.

     

    “My child doesn’t need community mental health services or therapy - they can just see their school counselor.”

    Truth: School Counseling is not a replacement for therapy or mental health counseling. School counselors are trained differently and have different certifications than licensed mental health counselors. The overarching goal of school counselors is to assist students in removing barriers to student learning. The American School Counseling Association states: “School counselors advocate for the mental health needs of all students by offering instruction that enhances awareness of mental health, appraisal, and advisement addressing academic, career and social/emotional development; short-term counseling interventions; and referrals to community resources for long-term support” (American School Counseling Association, 2020). 

    If a student needs ongoing mental health services or therapy, their needs will be best served by receiving services through a certified or licensed mental health professional. School counselors will often work with a student’s mental health provider and serve as a liaison between the mental health provider, teachers, administrators, and families to provide students with the best support possible.

     

    Confidentiality and Mandated Reporting

    Confidentiality

    Confidentiality is an ethical term in school counseling.  All school counselors are ethically bound by confidentiality in counseling sessions with students.

    Confidentiality means that the content of a counseling session will not be revealed to a third party unless it is in the student's best interest or if the student’s personal safety or the personal safety of another is involved. In all other instances, parents and students can expect that counseling sessions will be held in strict confidence. There is some ambiguity about what constitutes personal safety among counselors, but in all cases, parents are immediately notified when there is a credible indication, by word or action, that a student means to do harm to him/herself.

    Students who indicate an intention to do harm to others are immediately counseled, parents or guardians are called, and it is reported to a school administrator. In addition, all school personnel is considered mandatory reporters for child abuse. When abuse is suspected, all school personnel are required by law to contact CPS and make a report to intervene on behalf of the child.

    Washington does not have a state law granting legal privileges to school counselors. This means that a counselor can be compelled to testify in court concerning the dialogue between a student and counselor in a counseling session. Licensed professional counselors have this legal privilege, but only when providing service in the private sector, not when employed as school counselors. Counselors, like all school employees, are bound by FERPA laws.

     

    Mandated Reporting

    All Educators: Teachers, Counselors, Support Staff, Etc. are Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse in the State of Washington. 

    Mandatory Reporters must report:

    •  In cases of suspected abuse or neglect.
    • If a child poses a danger to themselves or others.

     The contact phone numbers for Child Protective Services (CPS) are:

    Report: 1-866-764-2233

    Local WA Office: 360-537-4300

    Website: https://www.dcyf.wa.gov/services/child-welfare-system/cps (Links to an external site.)

    RCW 28B.10.846 Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect-Reporting Responsibilities Linkhttps://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=28B.10.846