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School Counseling Services

General Information

The professional school counselor is a certified/licensed educator trained in school counseling, holding a master’s degree or higher, with unique qualifications and skills to address all student’s mindsets, behaviors, academic, social-emotional and career development needs. Professional school counselors implement an age appropriate comprehensive school counseling program that promotes and enhances student achievement. They are employed in elementary, middle and high schools. Their work is differentiated by attention to developmental stages of student growth, including the needs, tasks and student interests related to those stages.

Professional school counselors serve a vital role in maximizing student achievement through leadership, advocacy and collaboration. Promoting equity, access to opportunities and rigorous educational experiences for all students is a vital part of the Professional School Counseling experience. Professional school counselors are student advocates that support a safe learning environment and work to safeguard the human rights of all members of the school community. Collaborating with other stakeholders to promote student achievement, professional school counselors address the needs of all students through prevention and intervention programs that are a part of a comprehensive school counseling program based on the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model.

Professional school counselors develop confidential relationships and help students resolve or cope with problems and developmental concerns. They work diligently to uphold ethical and professional standards and to promote the development the ASCA National Model framework to improve student achievement.

Professional school counselors also design and deliver school counseling programs that improve student outcomes. The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model outlines the components of a school counseling program that is integral to the school’s academic mission and is created to have a significant positive impact on student achievement, attendance and discipline.

The ASCA National Model guides school counselors in the development of school counseling programs that:

  • are based on data-informed decision making
  • are delivered to all students systematically
  • include a developmentally appropriate curriculum focused on the mindsets and behaviors all students need for postsecondary readiness and success
  • close achievement and opportunity gaps
  • result in improved student achievement, attendance and discipline

ASCA National Model Overview
The framework of the ASCA National Model consists of four components: define, manage, deliver and assess.

Three sets of school counseling standards define the school counseling profession. These standards help new and experienced school counselors develop, implement and assess their school counseling program to improve student outcomes.

Student Standards:

  • ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors for Student Success: K–12 College- and Career-Readiness for Every Student

Professional Standards:

  • ASCA Ethical Standards for School Counselors
  • ASCA School Counselor Professional Standards & Competencies

To be delivered effectively, the school counseling program must be efficiently and effectively managed. The ASCA National Model provides school counselors with the following program focus and planning tools to guide the design and implementation of a school counseling program that gets results.

Program Focus

  • Beliefs
  • Vision Statement
  • Mission Statement

Program Planning

  • School Data Summary
  • Annual Student Outcome Goals
  • Action Plans:Classroom and Group
  • Closing the Gap
  • Lesson Plans
  • Annual Administrative Conference
  • Use of Time
  • Calendars
  • Advisory Council

No more than 20% of a school counselor’s time should be spent in program planning and school support activities.

School counselors deliver developmentally appropriate activities and services directly to students or indirectly for students as a result of the school counselor’s interaction with others. These activities and services help students develop the ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors for Student Success and improve his or her achievement, attendance and discipline.

Direct Student Services

  • Counseling Core Curriculum Instruction
  • Appraisal and Advisement
  • Counseling

Indirect Student Services

  • Consultation
  • Collaboration
  • Referrals

A minimum of 80% of a school counselor’s time should be spent in direct and indirect services.

To achieve the best results for students, school counselors regularly assess their program to:

  • determine its effectiveness
  • inform improvements to their school counseling program design and delivery
  • show how students are different as a result of the school counseling program

School counselors also self–assess their own mindsets and behaviors to inform their professional
development and annually participate in a school counselor performance appraisal with a qualified
administrator. The ASCA National Model provides the following tools to guide assessment and

Program Assessment

  • School Counseling Program Assessment
  • Annual Results Reports

School Counselor Assessment and Appraisal

  • ASCA School Counselor Professional Standards & Competencies Assessment
  • School Counselor Performance Appraisal

For more information about the ASCA National Model, go to