Skip To Main Content

Supporting All Students: How school counselors help with academics

When it comes to a student’s academics and post-secondary journey, licensed school counselors help students stay on track in many ways. Some of those include: learning organizational skills, being mentally and physically ready to learn, and lessons around college and career readiness. 

Learning Organizational Skills

At each level, students learn different ways to keep their academics and school work organized. At the elementary level, they focus on developing organizational skills and academic planning. Starting in grade four, all students receive a daily planner. Teachers work with students on writing all of their daily work in the planner and keeping their lessons organized. This helps students know what is expected of them when they go home each day. The organizational skills they work on go hand-in-hand with lessons they do on goal-setting. Teaching students the fundamentals of setting a goal and completing it before moving on to the next.

The middle school recently introduced electronic planners to all students to help them stay focused, on track, and continuing to practice goal-setting. Electronic planners are helpful in alleviating problems like leaving your planner at home or losing it. At the high school level, students practice the skills introduced to them in elementary and middle school and learn accountability. This better prepares them for life after high school in their career or college journeys.

Being Mentally and Physically Ready to Learn

Being mentally and physically ready to learn is the biggest support school counselors give at the elementary level. Knowing how to regulate their minds and bodies better prepares them to be attentive and ready to learn in the classroom. Learning these skills at a young age will help students throughout their academic journey. Along with mindfulness and self-regulation, the elementary school counselors also work with students on their listening skills. They learn how paying attention and listening includes using your eyes, ears, body, and mind to help you focus. The elementary counselors say when you set that foundation, it's the building block for all the other lessons.

They also work with students on knowing where they are academically and advocating for themselves on what they need to be successful. Both elementary schools have strong intervention teams that use data to catch the kids falling behind, but the counselors help catch the kids in the middle.

In middle and high school, students continue to practice the foundations learned in elementary school. They work one-on-one with students who may be struggling by helping them stay on top of school work. The counselors use positive reinforcement when students do well, such as good news phone calls home. They’ll continue to check in with the students to monitor grades and help them set goals.

Career and College Readiness

Most people may not realize career and college readiness begins in elementary school. Teachers and staff expose students to career and college vocabulary at a young age by talking about where they went to college and their experiences. The school counselors work with students on making links between their likes, dislikes, and what they’re good at, then explore what type of jobs and careers match those.The counselors say starting the thought process of what you’re good at and what you can do helps students develop their dreams as they get older.

Middle and high school is where more of the career and college focus comes into play. The school counselors use a program called Xello to help students begin their journey. With Xello, students learn to make informed decisions about their post-secondary education options. They can take a matchmaker inventory that helps them see what career choices fit their personality and interests. They can then explore the many careers by learning about the job details, hear stories from people who work in that field, and explore what education is required and where that education is offered.

In high school, the school counselors also help students make their post-secondary plans. On top of career exploration they focus on post-secondary education options, which include everything from 3 month certifications to doctorate programs. They help students navigate all of the nuances that go along with their post-secondary journey such as the financial and time aspects. Both high school counselors say their goal is to help students feel as prepared as possible for their next steps in life.

Receiving Academic Support

Students can receive help in a number of ways. Families can ask the school to have their student sit down with a counselor to discuss their academic performance. The student can advocate for themselves to receive help with their academics. The school can also suggest students visit a counselor if they believe the counselor can help them. Sometimes this includes helping a student with test taking, or more detailed organizational and goal-setting work. If you think your student would benefit from working with a school counselor on their academic performance, reach out to your student’s teacher.