Methods for Communicating the Benefits of School Counseling Programs

Instructor: Christine Noonan

Christine is a certified English teacher. She holds a BS in Business, an MS in American Literature, and an MA in Holistic Thinking. She's been teaching grs. 7-12 for 22 years.

This lesson will identify and describe different methods of communicating the benefits of a comprehensive school counseling program to all stakeholders of the school community.

What Is a Comprehensive Counseling Program?

Stakeholder communication in any environment is extremely important in establishing transparency and trust. This is especially true in a school environment with regard to the school's comprehensive counseling program. So, what is a comprehensive counseling program?

A comprehensive school counseling program focuses on these key elements of student success: academic achievement, career guidance, and social and emotional learning. The counseling department itself is usually composed of both guidance counselors and social workers. In some cases, schools will include a drug and alcohol counselor on their counseling staff as the need arises. The mission of a comprehensive guidance counseling program is to help students make successful school adjustments, develop a better sense of self, recognize their strengths and weaknesses in order to achieve optimum learning, make healthy life choices, and explore realistic plans for the future. The outline of the program is often a living document that evolves synchronously with data results and program trends.

Who Are the Stakeholders?

A stakeholder is a person or group that has an interest in a company and who can either affect or be affected by the business. The stakeholders for a school community include:

  • Administration (superintendent, principal, assistant principal, department leaders, etc.)
  • Certified staff (teachers, nurses, counselors, social workers, etc.)
  • Non-certified staff (paraprofessionals, aides, etc.)
  • Students
  • Students' families

All of these stakeholders have a voice in the workings of the school, no matter how small the voice might be. They all play a part in ensuring a successful and healthy learning environment for students. Therefore, any information about the school should be delivered to each of these parties. The delivery system and structure will vary by audience.

How Do We Get the Word Out?

Communication is the heartbeat of a school counseling program, and there are a variety of ways in which counseling staff reaches out to stakeholders preventively and as needed.

For Students

Students are made aware of their assigned guidance counselor when they receive their class schedules before the school year begins. They are then formally introduced to the guidance department during school orientation. Their official student handbook will also outline the department as well as its services available for students (including individual and group sessions). Throughout the year, many guidance counselors and/or social workers will teach classroom lessons regarding social and emotional issues, school course offerings, and career exploration. Online newsletters as well as posters around the school also keep students updated about upcoming counseling programs. And, of course, students may make individual appointments to speak with counselors as needed.

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