Carroll County Public School Counselors facilitate the academic, career, and social/emotional development of all students. School Counselors are integral members of the instructional team. They directly impact student achievement by delivering comprehensive services that meet the needs of the 21st Century school community.
Professional School Counselors are uniquely trained leaders who promote success for all students. They collaborate with school stakeholders using data-driven decisions to facilitate the success of the 21st Century learner in an ever-changing society. As a result the student will:
- Achieve to his/her maximum potential
- Demonstrate academic, career and social/emotional problem-solving skills
- Recognize and appreciate individual and cultural differences
- Develop communication, citizenship and employability skills to make positive contributions to the community
- Access human and technological resources for support and information
Nicola Hildreth, serves as the Supervisor of School Counseling, a program that employs 82 School Counselors and Alternative Programs Intervention Specialists. Counselors are part of the staff in each of Carroll County's schools. They provide a variety of services to students, parents, and staff.
The Carroll County Public Schools have counseling services available to students in all elementary, middle, and high schools. The role of the counselor is to guide, advise, recommend, consult, and assist with the nearly limitless variety of concerns that students, parents, teachers, administrators, and the school community may have. School counselors are vital members of the education team.
The school counseling program in Carroll County is aligned with the ASCA (American School Counselor Association) national model. Each school counselor addresses the three domains of school counseling:
- Students will acquire the attitudes, knowledge, and skills that contribute to effective learning in school and across the life span.
- Students will complete school with the academic preparation essential to choose from a wide range of substantial post-secondary options, including college.
- Students will understand the relationship of academics to the world of work, and to life at home and in the community.
- Students will acquire the skills to investigate the world of work in relation to knowledge of self and to make informed decisions.
- Students will employ strategies to achieve future career goals with success and satisfaction.
- Students will understand the relationship between personal qualities, education, training, and the world of work.
Counselors address these goals through the delivery of school counseling components.
The components of the school counseling program are:
School Counseling Core Curriculum
Individual Student Planning
Counseling offers a means for the student to grow in knowledge of self and others, thus enabling the student to develop a sense of responsibility needed to live effectively in the 21st Century. The counselors' functions are varied, as they help students better understand themselves and the world around them and to be more receptive to learning in the classroom.
Although most counselors provide similar services, some counselors are given the responsibility for specific tasks such as coordinating the testing program, overseeing the peer facilitator program, or serving as the liaison to the Carroll County Career and Technology Center. A listing of specific counselor responsibilities are available from those schools where more than one counselor is employed.
In schools where there is more than one counselor, students are divided among the available counselors. However, if a student and/or parent(s) desires for the student to see a specific counselor, the change in counselor may be arranged by contacting the school counseling department chairperson or the principal. If a student is assigned to a different counselor, the originally designated counselor will continue to maintain the student's school record.
Students may choose to make an appointment with the counselor or the counselor may make an appointment with the student based upon a referral from a teacher, administrator, parent of other individual who makes a legitimate referral. Although students are encouraged to keep appointments, they may decline an appointment by notifying the school counselor or another professional in the school counseling office and stating the reason that the appointment is declined. Classroom lessons taught by school counselors are considered a part of the mandated guidance and counseling program as outlined in the Maryland Code of Regulations (COMAR); therefore, all students are expected to stay in the classroom during these lessons.
Parents and students are urged to contact the school counselor to discuss any area of concern. Questions, concerns, or comments regarding the school counseling program should be directed to the Supervisor of School Counseling or the building principal
National School Counseling Week is celebrated each year during the first full week of February. The goal is to focus public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors within school systems in the United States. National School Counseling Week, sponsored by ASCA (American School Counselor Association), highlights the tremendous impact that school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career.
The American School Counselor Association supports school counselors' efforts to help students focus on academic, social/emotional and career development, so they will achieve success in school and will be prepared to lead fulfilling lives as responsible members of society. Meeting the needs of all students is critical to school success. Ensuring a safe environment and being considerate of the mental well-being of students requires awareness and sensitivity from all staff members.
CCPS School Counselors provide support and education to students, staff and the community. Please take a look at some editions of our "Counselor Chronicles" to learn of initiatives that school counseling offices around the county are undertaking.
- If my child needs ongoing counseling, can the school counselor provide this service?
- Is the communication between a school counselor and my child confidential?
- Must my child see the counselor to whom he/she is assigned?
- Must my elementary aged child participate in classroom counseling lessons?
- How do I request a transcript for the college application process?
Although each school counselor has a Master's degree and is thoroughly trained in counseling theories, techniques and interventions, school counselors do not provide therapy or long term counseling. They provide short term and/or crisis counseling of not more than 6-8 sessions. Therapists in community and private agencies have case loads of approximately 25-40 clients compared to the case loads of school counselors that range from approximately 350 students to over 800. School counselors may assist students and families in locating a therapist in the community who can more adequately provide services when long term/intensive care is needed.
School counselors are not given "privileged communication" by law. This means that if information about the counseling session is requested by a school official, a parent, a court of law or other individual who has a need to know, the counselor may share the information. However, the code of ethics of the American School Counselor Association clearly states that information shall remain confidential unless a student intends to harm himself or someone else. Counselors, therefore, endeavor to keep information confidential whenever possible while at the same time providing appropriate information, upon request, to those who have a need to know. There is one exception. When a student comes to a school counselor requesting assistance in overcoming a drug or alcohol problem, that information is confidential and may not be shared with anyone other than the agency to which the student is referred. School counselors do not provide drug and alcohol counseling for students; rather, they refer students to appropriate agencies within the community.
In schools where there is more than one counselor, students are assigned to a counselor by an alphabetical breakdown or by grade. This is done in order to balance the caseloads of counselors and to focus on developmental needs of various grade levels. Although it is preferred that the student work with the assigned counselor, it is recognized that there are times when a different counselor can better meet the specific needs or better match the personality of the student. If this is the case, the student may request a different counselor. This request may be made directly to the counselor the student desires to see or through the principal or assistant principal.
Elementary counseling lessons are an important part of the school counseling program and are designed to assist students in developing a variety of skills. The Code of Maryland Regulations provides for school counseling programs in the same way it provides for curriculum areas like math or social studies. Classroom counseling lessons are an integral part of the student's education with no provision in the law for excluding students.
Your child may request this transcript by going to the school counseling office and filling out a transcript request form. If a form requiring information and the signature of the counselor was provided by the college, that form should be submitted at the same time. The transcript will be prepared and given to the counselor who will then complete the form and provide the necessary signatures. The transcript and form will be sent directly to the college. Colleges request that the transcript be "official." This means that the transcript is not given to the student; rather, it is mailed directly to the college. "Official" transcripts may not be given to students or parents. A student or parent may receive an "unofficial" transcript for use in college or job interviews; however, most schools and employers will want an "official" transcript for consideration of admission or employment.
School counselors are not provided confidentiality or privileged communication by law except for a case where a student is seeking help to overcome a drug and/or alcohol problem. However, confidentiality guidelines exist in a variety of professional and legal documents.
The American School Counselor's Association code of ethics and the code of ethics of the American Counseling Association direct counselors to consider information confidential unless the client indicates that he/she intends to harm himself/herself or another person or unless the client gives written permission for the disclosure of information to another person or agency.
The Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR 13A.08.02.04.B) provides for confidentiality of student records: "Individual student records maintained by teachers or other school personnel under the provision of this title are to be confidential in nature, and access to these records may be granted only for the purpose of serving legitimate and recognized educational ends." Although counselor notes are not considered a part of the student record, this same confidentiality is maintained with information only being shared with individuals who have a legitimate, recognized, educational need to have the information. (For example, the pending divorce of a student's parents would not be shared with a teacher if the student is continuing to meet educational expectations. If the student's educational performance has changed, the counselor may share the information regarding the pending divorce with the teacher in an effort to assist him/her in understanding a potential reason for the decline in performance.
Annotated Code of Maryland 7- 412 provides for counselors and others to keep information confidential related to a student pursuing help to overcome a drug and/or alcohol problem: "If a student seeks information to overcome any form of drug abuse...from a teacher, counselor, principal or other professional educator employed by an educational institution...a statement, whether oral or written, made by the student or an observation or conclusion derived from the statement is not admissible against the student in any proceeding. A rule, regulation, or order may not require the disclosure of any report, statement, observation, conclusion, or other information that has been assembled or obtained by an educator through this contact."
Although a broad definition of confidentiality is not provided to counselors by law, it is expected that counselors will handle information regarding students in an ethical manner. Counselors will not share information with others except when an individual has a legitimate, recognized, educational need to have the information; when a student intends to harm himself/herself or another individual; when a parent of a student or an emancipated student provides a written statement authorizing the release of information; or in other situations as provided by COMAR. Counselors will, by law, keep information confidential regarding a student who is pursuing help in overcoming a drug or alcohol problem.
Carroll County Public Schools, and therefore counselors, desire to link with parents whenever practical and appropriate in an effort to meet the needs of students. It is expected that counselors will use sound judgement in contacting parents whenever appropriate and necessary to assist in the resolution of student concerns. The counselor must be in contact with the parent in the case of a potential suicide. Information may be shared with parents within the limits stated by law.
School counselors employed by Carroll County Public Schools must have, at a minimum, a Masters' Degree in school guidance and counseling and be certified as a school counselor by the Maryland State Department of Education. Counselors provide individual and small group counseling as well as individual, small group and classroom guidance activities. They also conduct assessment activities; consult with parents, teachers and others as needed; provide an information management service to the school, provide referrals, and manage programs and services to benefit students.
All counselors have been trained in at least nine different counseling approaches. During counselors' training, they are given the opportunity to practice each of the individual theories and the specific techniques of each theory during role play activities in the classroom setting. Counselors further develop their skills in counseling through practicum courses and internships where they work with actual clients in a supervised setting.
There are several techniques that Carroll County Public Schools has determined to be inappropriate for use with students in the school setting. They are hypnosis, psychoanalytic interpretations, interpretive dream work, free association, and techniques that are designed to access the unconscious mind.
Information about individual counselors, including their training and their theoretical orientation, may be included in school prepared materials for distribution by print and/or electronic means