Together Towards Wellness - February Issue

The Role of the School Counselor: A Quick Guide for Families

In celebration of National School Counselor's Week, this month’s issue of Together Towards Wellness shines a spotlight on the invaluable role that school counselors play in the lives of students. This quick guide for families aims to provide a brief overview of the essential role school counselors play in the success and well-being of students.

Who are School Counselors?

School counselors are certified and licensed educators who have, at minimum, a master's degree in school counseling. They perform a fundamental role in enhancing student success by creating and delivering school counseling programs that aim to improve outcomes for all students. They lead, advocate, and collaborate to promote equity and access for all students by linking their school counseling program to the school's academic mission and improvement plan. They uphold the ethical and professional standards of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) and work in partnership with others to promote their students' welfare. 

What Do School Counselors Provide?

School counselors play a vital role in a school’s leadership team. Their contributions support a positive school climate and culture and promote access and equity for all students. Some of their responsibilities include:

  • Individual student academic planning and goal-setting

  • Supporting students in planning for postsecondary options

  • Teaching students social and emotional skills

  • School counseling classroom lessons

  • One-on-one counseling with individual students

  • Small group counseling with students

  • Collaboration with families, teachers, and community members

  • Connecting students and families to community resources

A Support System for All Students and Families

The school counselors of Cleveland City Schools are dedicated to building relationships with students and their families. They provide academic, social/emotional, and career development support to students, and are always available to listen to their concerns. Lauren Lastoria, 6th grade school counselor at Cleveland Middle School, believes that being a school counselor is a calling and a great honor. She states that "all kids want is to be seen, heard and cared for, and she is happy to provide them with a safe place to express themselves."

Cory Steffes, school counselor at Blythe-Bower Elementary School, helps students gain competence in social and emotional skills, positive academic attitudes, as well as career and post-secondary education exploration. He states, "it is rewarding to listen to students share their struggles, questions, and hopes." 

In addition to providing academic and social/emotional support, school counselors are also excellent resources for information regarding mental health and suicide prevention. They can provide support, assess for risk, and connect students and families with local counseling and mental health services. As Sandy Akiona, 9th-grade school counselor at Cleveland High School, describes, school counselors are there to help students find their voice and learn how to be successful in the adult world.

Connecting with Your School Counselor

School counselors are here to help your child succeed, and they want to work with parents and families to achieve this goal. The first step in building a strong relationship with your child's school counselor is to reach out to them. By doing so, you can ensure that your child is getting the support they need for their success and well-being. You can find your child's school counselor's contact information by visiting the Cleveland City Schools website and viewing the staff directory for your child's school.

For more information and resources about the role of a school counselor, please visit the American School Counselor Association (ASCA)