West Ada School District Counseling Services
School counselors are vital members of the education team found in each West Ada school building. Through the implementation of a comprehensive school counseling program, school counselors assist all students in the areas of academic achievement, personal/social development, and career development, to ensure that today's students become the productive, well-adjusted adults of tomorrow. School counselors provide short-term individual counseling, group counseling, and guidance curriculum. School counselors also help connect students and their families to a variety of community resources. Each school counselor or school social worker has a Pupil Personnel Certificate from the Idaho State Department of Education. The minimum education requirement for this certificate is a master’s degree in school counseling or social work.
School Counseling at Mary McPherson Elementary School
The School Counselor:
- Promotes a safe, caring, climate and positive school experience for all students
- Guides and supports students with personal, social, and academic goals
- Encourages students to have healthy perceptions of themselves
- Inspires students to show kindness, respect, and empathy toward others
- Advocates for students, and empowers students to make positive choices, by using appropriate tools for problem-solving and decision making
The Role of the School Counselor:
- Offers short-term, solution-focused, individual and group counseling (group counseling is based on availability).
- Teaches whole group class lessons with district approved curriculum
- Observes students in various settings
- Consults and collaborates with parents, staff, students, and community agencies
- Provides community referrals and resources for families
- 504 Accommodation Plan Coordinator
- Provides support during a crisis.
The School Counselor's Referral Process:
- Referrals typically come from parents, staff, and students
- Students can stop by the counselor’s office (with teacher permission), and fill out a request slip, or bring their own note, and place it in the counselor’s confidential mailbox. Or, students can ask their teacher to contact the school counselor for them.
- Staff and parents may contact the counselor at any time via phone or email
Note: For issues beyond the scope of a school counselor, and/or when more intensive, long-term services may be needed, parents may request referrals for outside counseling services
Parents have the option of completing an Authorization for Exchange Of Confidential Student Information Form, in order for information to be gathered and/or released to outside agencies (Example: Community Counselor, Psychologist, Physician, etc...)
Typical reasons for a visit with the School Counselor:
- Handling feelings
- A school-related problem
- A family issue
- Friendship assistance
- Reporting a concern
- New to the school
Counseling and Confidentiality:
Information students share with the counselor is confidential. The student's right to privacy is guarded as much as permitted by law, ethics, and school rules. As required by law, there are limits to confidentiality. A school counselor is obligated to release confidential information when:
- The child is in imminent danger
- The child is threatening to harm himself/herself or someone else
- The child reports an incident of abuse and/or neglect
- The child gives permission to disclose
- The student has broken the law
- There is a court order to provide testimony or student records
When necessary, a report is made to appropriate agencies, support staff and/or parents depending on the situation. Additionally, information may be shared with a school administrator if student behavior is a violation of school policy.