Within each school, the counselor works cooperatively with parents, teachers, administrators and other specialists to provide needed support for students. Our shared goal is to insure a successful school experience for students, one in which they develop a positive sense of self, the skills to interact productively and the maturity to make wise decisions. Through this cooperative effort, we hope that students will be able to utilize their potential in constructive, responsible and satisfying ways.
Just as issues and objectives for counseling vary, so do the methods used to attain those goals. While some sessions might be oriented toward discussion or problem solving, still others might utilize group games and activities, role playing or play therapy techniques. Regardless of the objectives or techniques involved, the counselor creates an atmosphere which focuses on the strengths of individual students. We feel that growth and change are achieved through empowering children, helping them to draw from their strengths in order to realize their potential.
Consultation with parents, teachers, specialists and administrators is valuable in assessing a student's needs and planning an appropriate course of action. Each counselor consults regularly with staff in his/her building to coordinate services provided to students. In addition to regularly scheduled planning meetings, the counselor consults with parents, teachers and administrators on an "as needed" basis. When appropriate, the counselors may observe children in the school setting to provide information to teachers and/or parents regarding the child's school behavior and attitude.
Similarly, the counselors are available to serve as a resource to teachers by providing ideas for developmental classroom units, activities or discussions in the area of affective development. Some activities may serve as part of the regular classroom curriculum which help children to build self-esteem, problem solving skills, friendships, and social/emotional skills. Others may be developed in response to a particular need or situation in a particular classroom group.
Parents are encouraged to discuss concerns with the counselor in order to gain perspective concerning behaviors and developmental issues. The counselor has extensive experience with the therapeutic community in and around Acton and maintains a list of resources outside of the school setting for families to utilize, if they so choose.
The counselor is also involved in TEAM EVALUATIONS FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION and Section 504 eligibility. He/She participates in meetings of the Child Study Team (an interdisciplinary team which discusses and plans for the needs of individual students), administers individual tests of cognitive ability, conducts parent interviews, and collects data for attention/concentration issues. While counseling is a regular education service available to all students, it may be included as a part of the Individualized Educational Plan for students receiving special education services.
The counselor is a CHILD ADVOCATE and works within the school system to promote those policies and programs which will be most likely to help students grow personally, socially, and cognitively. Participation in a variety of individual school and systemwide meetings, committees and gatherings provides opportunities to promote the fundamental counseling philosophy within our district.
Maintaining communication between the schools and various community services and agencies is another important function of the counselor. Updated relevant community information can then be made available to parents by each school counselor