Student Service & Counseling
DeKalb County Schools
The mission of DeKalb County’s comprehensive school counseling and guidance program strive to prepare every student socially, academically, and emotionally for present and future challenges. Students are provided with opportunities to gain an understanding of self and others, to participate in educational and occupational exploration, and to pursue career planning opportunities in an environment that is safe, caring, and encouraging. Counselors work in collaborative partnerships with students, educators, parents, and community members to empower students to reach their highest level as productive members of society.
The comprehensive school counseling and guidance program is an essential integrated component of the total instructional program through which students have opportunities for academic, career, and personal/social development. In this regard, the school counseling and guidance program involves a planned, purposeful, and sequential program of activities that begins in kindergarten and continues through the twelfth grade. Comprehensive school counseling and guidance programs are data-driven by student needs and provide outcome-based accountability measures that align the school counseling and guidance program with the school’s overall academic mission.
All stakeholders in DeKalb County share the benefits of this plan. School counseling and guidance programs have a positive impact on students, parents/guardians, teachers, administrators, boards of education, school counselors, counselor educators, communities, post secondary institutions, and student services personnel.
Benefits for Students
Ensures every student access to the school counseling and guidance program.
Monitors and interprets data to facilitate student improvement and school success.
Provides strategies for closing the achievement gap.
Promotes the most challenging and appropriate academic curriculum for each student.
Advocates for students and promotes equitable access to educational opportunities.
Benefits for Parents/Guardians
Supports active partnerships for student learning and career planning.
Invites and coordinates access to school and community resources.
Advocates for student academic, career, and personal development.
Provides training and informational workshops.
Provides data for information on student progress.
Benefits for Teachers
Promotes an interdisciplinary team approach to address student needs and educational goals.
Increases collaboration with school counselors and teachers.
Supports development of classroom management skills.
Analyzes data to improve school climate and student achievement.
Benefits for Administrators
Develops and implements a school counseling and guidance plan to promote student success.
Utilizes data for school improvement.
Uses data for implementation of the Alabama PEPE Program for Counselors.
Provides a proactive school guidance curriculum that addresses student needs and enhances school climate.
Benefits for Boards of Education
Provides data that support the implementation of a standards-based school counseling and guidance program.
Ensures equity and access to a quality school counseling and guidance program for every student.
Articulates appropriate credentials and staffing ratios.
Informs the community about school counseling and guidance program success.
Provides data about improved student achievement.
Benefits for School Counselors
Defines responsibilities within the context of a school counseling and guidance program.
Supports access to every student.
Provides a tool for program management, implementation, and accountability.
Recognizes school counselors as leaders, advocates, and agents of change.
Ensures the school counseling and guidance program contributes to the school’s mission.
Provides evidence of ongoing activities for the implementation of the Alabama PEPE Program for Counselors.
Benefits for Counselor Educators
Builds collaboration between counselor education programs and schools.
Provides a framework for school counseling and guidance programs.
Provides a model for site-based school counseling fieldwork and internships.
Increases data collection for collaborative research on school counseling and guidance programs
Establishes a framework for professional development to benefit practicing school counselors.
Benefits for Communities
Builds collaboration with businesses and industries and enhances the potential for every student’s postsecondary success.
Provides a workforce with a stronger academic foundation.
Promotes equity and access to the workforce.
Benefits for Postsecondary Education
Enhances articulation and transition of the student to postsecondary institutions.
Encourages and supports rigorous academic preparation that prepares every student for the most appropriate postsecondary educational opportunities.
Attempts to seek a wide range of substantial postsecondary options, including college.
Promotes equity and access to postsecondary education for every student.
Benefits for Student Services Personnel
Defines the school counseling and guidance program.
Maximizes collaborative teaming to ensure individual student success.
Uses school counseling and guidance program data to maximize benefits for individual student growth.
Increases collaboration for utilizing school and community resources.
DeKalb County’s Local Education Agency (LEA) Counseling and Guidance Advisory Committee
In order to ensure that the system’s comprehensive counseling and guidance program is an integral part of the total school system and community, the DeKalb County’s LEA counseling and guidance advisory committee must be in place. The DeKalb County’s LEA counseling and guidance advisory committee is a representative group of persons appointed to provide advice and assistance for the school counseling and guidance program within a school system. The committee should consist of representative stakeholders of the school counseling and guidance program, including students, parents or guardians, teachers, counselors, administrators, school board members, as well as business and community representatives. Ideally, advisory committee membership reflects the community’s diversity. The advisory committee serves as a communication liaison between the comprehensive counseling and guidance program and the community. The DeKalb County’s LEA counseling and guidance advisory committee reviews program goals, competencies, and results, and participates in making recommendations to the school counseling and guidance department, principal, and superintendent. It is recommended that the committee meet at least twice a year.
Individual School Counseling and Guidance Advisory Committee
In addition to the Dekalb County’s LEA counseling and guidance advisory committee, each local school must establish a counseling and guidance advisory committee to advise and assist with the development and implementation of the comprehensive counseling and guidance program as reflected in the DeKalb County’s LEA advisory committee guidelines. The committee helps identify student needs and provides program support. The individual school counseling and guidance committee assists with the development and implementation of the comprehensive counseling and guidance program. Committee members represent all interested parties of the comprehensive counseling and guidance program: students, parents/guardians, teachers, administrators, and community resource persons. It is recommended that the committee meet at least twice a year.
Coordination and direction of the DeKalb County’s LEA’s comprehensive counseling and guidance program is critical. Counseling and guidance coordinators provide necessary support for comprehensive school guidance program development, implementation, and evaluation of procedures that enhance the effectiveness of the school system’s comprehensive counseling and guidance program. Counseling and guidance coordinators serve as facilitators, leaders, supporters, and advisors. Counseling and guidance coordinators provide leadership to ensure the credibility of the comprehensive counseling and guidance program for faculty, staff, and the community.
Administrative support is critical to full implementation of the comprehensive counseling and guidance program. Principals, as chief administrators in DeKalb County schools, are ultimately responsible for the success of all instructional programs, including the school counseling and guidance program. Principals understand the role of school counselors and provide the necessary support for counselors to fulfill that role. Such support includes the provision of adequate facilities, materials, and clerical staff to allow counselors to use their specialized training in an effective manner. Principals provide input into program development and encourage and support participation of all school personnel in the implementation of the counseling and guidance program.
Counselors assume the leadership role for managing and implementing the comprehensive counseling and guidance program in their school. Counselors are responsible for the systematic delivery and evaluation of structured developmental counseling and guidance services to all students. Counselors work directly with students, individually and in small groups, to deal with unique or problem-centered concerns that require more privacy or attention than can be accommodated in structured guidance activities. Counselors serve students indirectly by acting as consultants to administrators, teachers, parents, and others to help them understand and respond to the developmental, emotional, and social needs of students. Counselors coordinate various activities within the school that are related to student welfare. Appropriate referrals, placements, and follow-ups are activities that are particularly pertinent to counseling.
Elementary School Counselors
At the elementary level, counselors assist students in their efforts to learn the skills and attitudes required for school success. Elementary school counselors emphasize decision-making skills and early exploration of career and educational goals. These counselors also place strong emphasis on helping students develop self-awareness, self-esteem, and good interpersonal relationships.
Middle School Counselors
During the middle school grades, counselors’ concerns shift to the changing needs of the young adolescent. Middle school counselors focus on helping students to establish, identify, and balance academic, career, and personal/social goals. Efforts begun in elementary schools are continued and expanded, although an emphasis is placed on the transition into high school. In addition, middle school counselors help students integrate knowledge of their interests, aptitude, and academic skills into the formation of a high school four-year educational plan and educational/career planning portfolio for high school and beyond.
High School Counselors
The high school counseling and guidance program builds on goals from the elementary and middle school. The high school program assists students in applying and enhancing acquired knowledge and understanding as they strive to become responsible adults. Counseling and guidance activities help students develop realistic and fulfilling life plans. Competency in decision making is stressed, career planning is refined, and personal responsibility is emphasized. The high school four-year educational plan and the educational/career planning portfolio, developed in the middle school, move with the student to the high school and are reviewed and updated annually.
Teachers play a vital role in DeKalb County’s planning and implementation of a comprehensive school counseling and guidance program. As professionals who have the greatest contact with students, teachers are in the best position to recognize and help provide for the developmental and individual needs of students. Through appropriate communication and referral, teachers facilitate the interaction between students and counselors. Teachers demonstrate support for the program by providing adequate opportunities for student-counselor contact. Teachers contribute directly to the school counseling and guidance program by helping counselors deliver programs that facilitate the academic, career, and personal/social development of students. Teachers strengthen and follow through on concepts presented to help students retain the knowledge, skills, and understanding established through the program. Teacher support, input, and expertise make it possible for the school counseling and guidance program to become an integral part of the total educational program.
Appropriate guidance resources are required for each of the four program delivery components: School Guidance Curriculum, Individual Student Planning, Responsive Services, and System Support. These resources include equipment and materials, staff expertise, and community resources. Resource materials must be relevant to the program, appropriate for the diversity of the school and community, and of sufficient quantity to be useful. All counselors should be provided the necessary equipment and materials to implement the comprehensive counseling and guidance program.