By John P. Miraglia, Guidance Counselor as Intervenor
As another school year comes to a close, we as school counselors reflect on the crucial role we play in helping our students achieve their personal best in the academic, social/personal and career domains. Our efforts as student advocates and school leaders can facilitate making the school community an educational beacon in the lives of our students. Performing those counselor responsibilities in a timely and planned manner assist us in maintaining a professional and sane perspective.
We in the school community all say that before you know it, the school year will be over. Of course, we all have days when it cannot be over soon enough! But on a more serious note, yes, another school year is winding down. As educators we ask ourselves: Have we reached the goals we set in September for our students? Have we achieved our objectives in some measurable way? Have we made an impact on student achievement? As school counselors we use our many talents and skills to monitor how the school counselor program advances the educational mission of the school and fosters student growth. We answer these weighty questions with the ever- present pressure of time at our office doors.
Over the years as a school counselor working in the New York City Public Schools, I have found some guidelines to help me set priorities during this busy, end-of-year period. Many of the suggestions listed below have been culled from publications put forth by the NYC DOE Regional Offices of Youth Development and many focus on the high school counselor’s responsibilities. Also, The New York State Model for Comprehensive K – 12 School Counseling Programs (2005) is an excellent resource to help counselors work within the framework of the three school counseling domains: academic; personal/social; and career. The model also recommends time frames to implement strategies to achieve the goals listed in each domain. Members of the NYS School Counselor Association (NYSSCA) may view and download the NYS Model.
Suggestions for the School Counselor’s Year End Calendar:
- Continue student interviews and annual reviews
- Interview students who failed subjects
- Notify parents of failing seniors. Their child will not participate in graduation ceremonies if they do not meet all graduation requirements (No March Policy).
- Revise course requests of students who failed second marking period classes
- Program incoming students and participate in articulation programs with feeder schools
- Continue orientation/articulation activities, e.g. plan orientation for parents of incoming students (Pre-K, K, … 6th grade, 9th grade)
- Attend scholarship/awards committee meetings
- Collaboration- begin review of school’s guidance plan with the pupil personnel committee, staff and administration. Revise as necessary.
- Career Development (K-5) — assist teachers in organizing activities. Invite speakers, prepare bulletin boards, guideline articles
- Complete student interviews and annual reviews, guidance records
- Finalize preparations for orientation meeting with parents and incoming students
- Revise student records based on evening school, PM school and reversal grades
- Register students for summer school
- Process promotion; send records of graduating students to receiving schools
- Collaborate with Special Education Supervisor to prepare confidential Special Education packets to go to schools under separate cover
- Send out letters to non-graduates and make parent contacts
- Participate in Awards ceremonies
- Revise programs based on Regents examinations reversals
- Certify graduates and indicate type of diploma
- Participate in graduation
As mentioned above, these are guidelines for the busy schedules that drive a school counselor’s day. These suggestions tend to be preventative and developmental rather than solely remedial and reactive. On the other hand, crisis interventions are, by their nature, often acute, emergency situations that demand the counselor and school staff’s immediate attention and actions. A Crisis Intervention Plan should be on file and implemented during such times.