What Does a School Counselor Do?

  • Many people often ask me, 'Why does an elementary school need a counselor?' I love this question because it gives me a great opportunity to explain the many hats a school counselor wears.

    35-45% of my time is spent providing guidance curriculum to the students. This means I go into classrooms and present interactive lessons on friendship, conflict resolution, bullying, feelings, decision making, responsible behavior, cross cultural effectiveness, and interpersonal communication. We use stories, videos, technology, games, puppets, and activities to give students a multi-faceted experience at Camey. I visit Pre-K through 4th every other week for 30 minutes, and I get more in depth with 5th graders for 45 minutes every 3 weeks.

    30-40% of my time goes to responsive services. This means I work proactively and reactively with students whose concerns or problems might put their academic, personal-social, or career development at risk. This category often deals with small groups or individual meetings to address study skills, attendance, academic success, personal conflict, trauma, suicide ideation, bullying, child abuse, or any other need a student might have. This group also includes meeting with new students to address any issues they might be experiencing.

    5-10% of my time goes to individual planning. In this component, I work with students on goal setting, identifying and analyzing strengths and weaknesses, recognizing career opportunities and making appropriate life decisions.

    Last but not least, 10-15% of my time is used for system support. This is time used to indirectly benefit students' success and enrichment. This includes consultations with teachers, program development and management, counselor staff development, parent education and consultation, standardized testing, and community relations efforts.