A school counselor does more than meet with students – they are uniquely qualified to bridge gaps in communication and understanding between administration, students and parents. They are a crucial part of the school leadership team, as schools and staff are seeing increasing demands placed on them from state standards, legislation, district requirements, parents and more. As these demands increase, a school counselor’s role as a school leader becomes even more crucial.
Here are some of the key ways a school counselor can impact those in their school and community by using leadership as a key component of their role.
Reduce Teacher Stress
As a leader in the school, a school counselor is able to take some of the mental load off a teacher. Maybe through a simple conversation with a teacher, or by dealing with a complex student issue, a school counselor has an impact on reducing stress and burnout with their teacher peers. School counselors are master’s educated education professionals, who may have more schooling or more experience to draw from, particularly over new teachers. A school counselor has a view of the entire school and can impart their experience and serve as a useful resource to those on staff.
Help During Difficult Situations
From the large-scale disaster to everyday problems on the campus, the school counselor is there for all of it, helping to keep calm, disseminate information and to determine the best course of action for those involved. As a strong leader at the school, how you handle the difficult situations will set the tone for the rest of the school, from administration down to the students. A counselor also has a large role in ensuring school safety, from reporting issues to helping students deal with and work through smaller day-to-day issues like bullying, relationship violence, racism and more.
Encourage Community Engagement
A school counselor can host community meetings, bring the neighboring area and the school together, and forge partnerships with businesses and community leaders to bring extra resources to their school. Strong communities make for engaged learners and everyone benefits from these interactions.
Help Students Reach Their Full Potential
The power of the school counselor shows in their impact on student lives, helping them rise above challenges. You’ll advocate for students and prepare them for their journey by giving them an adult connection that is separate from the teacher/student and parent/child relationship. It is a unique opportunity to expand a student’s horizons and broaden their experience to places they did not know they could go.
Leadership Among Staff
School counselors should use care when leading and training other teachers, but when done well, they can serve as a trusted voice, an advocate, a leader and liaison between teachers and administration, and a key voice in the community, using resources to help get teachers items they need to help educate students. School counselors can lead trainings and education sessions for staff and parents and further cement their role as school leaders.
Mediate Between Students/Parents and Staff
Often, the school counselor has to take the lead in tough communication between students and parents and teachers and staff. As a third party, they take responsibility for referrals, additional assistance, collaboration and consultation with teachers, parents and staff to provide services for the students.
Maximize Learning Outcomes
Students with a strong home/school connection, who feel safe to share openly in class and are comfortable with themselves and their peers show up to school ready to learn and engage. As the school counselor, you are able to have an impact on learning outcomes by preparing students to show up as their best selves in the classroom.
As a school counselor, you will wear many hats. One day you may work with a community organization to gain access to more resources for your school, while the next day you may help facilitate a change in behavior between two students who were not getting along. No matter what is on your plate for the day, stepping up as a school leader and stepping into the variety of work that can be done is what makes your role unique, exciting, and crucial to the success of your students and your school.
Ashley Clark is a Community Leader with Teach.com. Check out their list of available Master’s in Counseling programs at: https://teach.com/online-ed/counseling-degrees/online-masters-school-counseling/