After the administration and counselor has been made aware of issues the parents are made aware of concerns with email updates regarding the child. The parents are shown the steps taken and if there is no improvement an evaluation is recommended (L. Smestad, personal communication, July 5, 2016). Rewards and Drawbacks to the Job Laura enjoys working at St. Pius, and says the most rewarding moments are hearing from parents and students regarding her role as a school counselor. Her goal when she began work as a professional school counselor was to help one student the way her counselor had aided her. The moment that impacted Laura was when a child she had seen since she began work at St. Pius changed her behavior and expressed how happy she was to be seeing Laura. Since Laura works in a school that begins for students at age three and continues until the seventh grade, Laura says one long term reward is watching the children grow up. Every day she sees her students and watches them grow into mature people. The one drawback Laura has had working in schools has been the time limit imposed upon her by class times and schedules. Teachers still do not fully understand Laura’s role and have attempted to keep students from leaving class to see the counselor. Laura believes that all teachers should have an alliance with the counselors as both
PROFESSIONAL SCHOOL COUNSELOR 7 are advocating for student success and the link between mental health and school performance is a real concern (ASCA, 2012; L. Smestad, personal communication, July 5, 2016). Laura’s role is fairly new to St. Pius, so she has been given much freedom. With her freedom Laura is not often held accountable by administrators, therefore she holds herself accountable by creating her annual data report (ASCA, 2012; L. Smestad, personal communication, July 5, 2016). While no one has asked for her data Laura provides administrators with the data she has collected to advocate for her job and show how she is effective in the counseling role. Training and Professional Development Throughout her graduate studies Laura heard stories about how stakeholders defined the roles and responsibilities of professional school counselors. Laura was surprised when she found her job at St. Pius to provide her with the freedom to implement new ideas. During training Laura had wanted to work with older children because she heard how difficult younger children could be in school counseling. Yet when Laura began working at St. Pius she realized how much more she enjoyed working with younger students instead of high schoolers. Laura’s advice for anyone considering become a professional school counselor was to “go for it” (L. Smestad, personal communication, July 5, 2016). School counseling takes organization and patience, but the rewards Laura says outweigh the small amount of hassle. As someone who struggled deciding between specializing in school counseling or clinical mental health, Laura is happy with her decision to complete the school counseling track with Holy Cross for multiple reasons including that her supervised hours were completed in slightly over two years.
- Spring '14