If students are the heart of education, then school counselors are undoubtedly the ears. Counselors listen to students and work to empower them. This means counselors are core to helping students understand their agency in life and in learning, as well as developing their social and emotional skills.
As schools plan for student-centered shifts in classroom practice, counselors must be an integral part of that shift. With a greater emphasis on college and career readiness, school communities can utilize a counselor’s deep expertise in the academic, personal and social development needs of all students, potentially leading to improved student success.
Together with counselors, Students at the Center developed our “School Counselor Advocacy Letter.” This open letter template addresses fellow staff members at schools to open a conversation about how counselors can be valuable team members in the changing 21st-century learning environment.
A letter like this can be especially useful in times of school community transition. Counselors can adapt this letter as they see fit:
As a school counselor, my work would not be possible without the tireless support of the teachers, school leaders, and students who work and learn in this building. I feel privileged to be a part of our school community. As we have been working to make our school more student-centered, I am excited to participate in what I know will be a positive shift for our school and our students. I am writing to let you know I am ready and able to be more involved in this evolution.
Counselors can play a crucial role in the successful implementation of student-centered approaches to learning. In my work, I strive to:
- Enable student to demonstrate that they are ready to drive their own futures;
- Help students develop their social/emotional competencies;
- Provide opportunities to learn outside of traditional classroom settings; and
- Empower students to have agency and ownership over their own learning.
- I want to share some of my strategies and be a resource, but in order to do that, I will need to deepen my understanding of student-centered approaches within the greater school community. Below, I’ve laid out some suggested actions to help me do this.
First, it would be helpful to spend more time in classrooms, and have more opportunities for:
- Cross-role collaboration
- Professional development
- Technological tools in learning
Please let me know if you have other ideas how I could get more involved. I am eager to be part of this exciting transition.
Here is a PDF Version, to share more easily with colleagues.