By Teresa P. Crowder
National School Counseling Week was celebrated the first full week of February and aims to focus public attention on the unique contributions school counselors provide in our public schools.
School counselors have a huge impact on the shared contribution of other school personnel in achieving student success. Priscilla Davis, Amanda Mullins, Lonna Smith, Paula Stewart, and Mary Lipford make up the 5-star team in the Johnson County School System.
The group boasts of a combined 88 years of experience working with students socially, emotionally, and academically.
Tennessee requires school counselors to have a minimum of a master’s degree. School counselors provide various services, many upon a moment’s
notice and some extending beyond the end of the school day or running into the weekend.
“School Counselors are trained to provide social-emotional
learning (SEL) SEL is more important now than ever! SEL helps increase self-awareness, academic achievement, and pro-social behaviors in and out of
the classroom. I would like to see all school counselors given the time to do what
we are uniquely trained to do,” says Stewart.” School counselors play an
important role in ensuring that students have social-emotional support and academic support.
Some days are spent helping students through traumatic experiences, while others may be spent assisting students in applying to colleges. A day in the life of a high school counselor is unpredictable, yet very rewarding,” adds Mullins.
Along with the school counselor’s work comes the anguish of feeling the need for more time to work with the students, which supports the need for more counselors in our schools.
“My biggest challenge is trying to meet the needs of our students. I have no desire to replace my parents or other family members. We work best when we have a
common goal and work together”, says Lipford. “Students in today’s world are faced with far too many challenges. I could speak for days on examples. They need all the support, love, and guidance they can get.
It truly takes a village
to raise a child, “says
Smith.” I wish the state would decrease the student-to-
counselor ratio. In Tennessee, the counselor-to-student ratio is 1 counselor for 500 students. School Counseling standards are organized in three broad domains: academic development, social and emotional development, and college and career
readiness. With a 1 to 500
ratio meeting, the basic needs of our students are a major task. More and more of our time is spent responding to students and families in crisis. There are times when it’s overwhelming and exhausting, but there’s nothing I would rather do than to be a school counselor,” says Lipford.
School counselors have a desire and a heart to respond to the needs of the school and community and do so not because they have to but
because they have chosen to do the school counselor’s work.
“I chose to be a school counselor because I like being able to empower students to succeed in school and in life, Davis said. “I believe in the power of a good education, and I desire to help others reach their full potential and goals.”
“The thing I love most about my job is the kids themselves,” Lipford said. “Bad days never seem to last
very long because there’s always a kid that says or does something that reminds me how blessed I am to have my job.”
“Our job is hard. Even though we may not be family, we truly care about your child,” Smith said. “We listen to them. We hurt for them. We worry about them. This isn’t just our job. It’s our calling.
For more information, please visit Home – American School Counselor Association (ASCA)