Sunday, February 5, 2017

National School Counseling Week: Appreciation or Advocacy?

It makes me very sad to hear some of the comments from School Counselors around our country regarding National School Counseling Week.  There is much being said and written about not being appreciated and asking why are we doing things for others in our school and  "Isn’t it about us?"  Well, yes it is about us, but not in the way some School Counselors may think.

First it is National School Counseling week not National School Counselor Week or National School Counselor Appreciation Week.  Maybe a change of title would clear things up a bit for many of our colleagues around the country who misunderstand its purpose.  What if it were called School Counseling Advocacy Week?  Would that make more sense?

This week is not about having the faculty, administration, or families of the students we work with appreciate us.  It is about educating those same folks who still call us Guidance Counselors and speaking out for those who  are still Testing Coordinators, RtI Facilitators, and 504 Case Managers.  It is for those who are acting as the Registrar, Lunchroom Hostess, Substitute Teacher, and Disciplinarian. It is for those School Counselors with more students than can be reasonably served, those who are split between multiple schools, and for those students who have NO School Counselor.
 You see, I am afraid if we DON'T talk about how students are different because of what School Counselors do, we will see these situations full of non-counselor duties continue for many of our colleagues and our students.

Personally, I have a fabulous school situation with an administrator who gets me and my job and allows me the freedom to do what I was trained to do.  But, that is not the case for every one of you reading this and even for some of my colleagues in my district.  For this reason I will advocate, for you, for me, and for the profession.  What I do for National School Counseling Week at my school doesn’t just impact me and my situation, but everyone with whom I have contact.  All of the stakeholders currently at my school will not always be there. At some point teachers, administrators, and families move or transfer to other schools, maybe in other cities or states.  I want to know that what I said and did during this week of advocacy helped shaped their thoughts, opinions and attitudes about the value of the School Counselors they will encounter in the future.

So if you don’t want to do cute, cheesy little “stuff” for your school staff, I get that, it’s fine. But don’t ignore an opportunity to advocate for our profession, because that is what this week is all about.   Instead take the time to write your legislators about the state of School Counseling in your district or state.  Or do a Coffee with the Counselor to talk to parents about their experience with their “guidance” or school counselor when they were in school. Take the time to talk about how School Counseling is different today. Share your programming highlights in a newsletter with School Board members or the School Superintendent.  Plan a presentation for your faculty, PTA, or School Board to show data validating the benefit you and your School Counselor colleagues bring to students every single day. 

These are just a few of the things each of us can do to advocate for our profession, but it takes all of us.   And not just during National School Counseling Week but every single day.
United. Together.


  1. Spot on! Such a good post!

    And it gave me some ideas on how I can do over here. We have a similar problem in Sweden... And just have one day to talk about career counselling.

    I have just worked as a career counselor for two years now, but feel so frustrated when I'm titled wrong. We changed our work-title in the 70's!

    So I get you all, and you do a wonderful job! Keep up the good work!

  2. Thank you for your kind words. Good luck with changing the perceptions of your job role in Sweden!