arrive to school, many are carrying burdens from home life. These issues range
from dealing with divorce, drug addiction, teen pregnancy, abuse, and neglect.
Parents worry about rising health care costs and how to send their children to
college. This makes the job of school counselors essential in the success of
though, there is uncertainty from community members, administrators and parents
about the role school counselors play in education. This is not only a local
issue, but also one that is playing out nationally as well – a sort of
professional identity crisis. It is crucial to keep in mind that schools can
have the most rigorous curriculum, but if the student is not coming to school
or coming to school with their basic needs not being met, they will not achieve
to their highest potential.
take an active and important role in helping students cope with difficult
situations, and teach them strategies to deal with the conflicts that confront
them. Counselors work behind the scenes as they support their school faculty
and teach students character education, violence prevention, career planning,
and much more.
2016-2017 school year, Hawaii had 611 counselors in public schools across the
state, serving approximately 179,000 public school students. School counselors
are educators with a mental health perspective who provide services through a counseling
program that is comprehensive in scope, preventative in design, and
developmental in nature. Counseling services may be provided through the
guidance program, individually, or in small groups, and may focus on family issues
It is essential
for us to understand and recognize the hard work of our school counselors and
the critical role they play in student success.
The AmericanSchool Counselor Association (ASCA) is the professional organization that represents
school counselors. ASCA believes in “one vision and one voice” and works to
ensure that it meets the needs of all school counselors, regardless of setting
or experience level.
has created the ASCA National Model, which is a framework for a comprehensive,
data-driven school-counseling program. This model helps to answer the question,
“how are students different as a result of what school counselors do?” Hawaii boasts
several schools and programs that have received national recognition as being
ASCA model schools including Nanaikapono Elementary, Nanakuli Elementary,
Nanakuli High and Intermediate, and Waianae Intermediate. This type of
recognition shows that Hawaii continues to move in the right direction when it
comes to supporting our school counselors.
We must continue
to work together to uplift those who enrich our students and ensure that they
are ready to learn. The community can support school counselors by valuing
their role in the school, and their efforts to assist all students to be
academically successful. In turn, our students will gain valuable social
emotional skills from these counselors that will serve as the foundation for