Direct services are in-person interactions between school counselors and students. Through the direct services components of the school counseling core curriculum, individual student planning and responsive services, school counselors help students develop the knowledge, attitudes and skills identified from the school counseling core curriculum.
The school counseling core curriculum consists of a planned, written instructional program that is comprehensive in scope, preventative in nature and developmental in design. We are using the Second Step curriculum. Second Step unit goals:
- Unit 1: Skills for Learning—Build foundational skills necessary for successful learning, including listening effectively, focusing attention, using self-talk, and being assertive.
- Unit 2: Empathy—Build students’ ability to have empathy for others, including identifying and understanding their own and others’ feelings, perspective taking, and showing compassion.
- Unit 3: Emotion Management—Develop students’ ability to understand and recognize their own and others’ strong feelings and calm down strong feelings.
- Unit 4: Problem Solving—Develop students’ ability to solve problems safely and respectfully and make and keep friends.
The school counseling core curriculum is delivered through such strategies as:
- Instruction: School counselors provide direct instruction, teaching the school counseling core curriculum in classrooms. They may also provide follow-up to small groups of individual students as needed.
- Group activities: School counselors conduct planned activities outside the classroom to promote academic, career or personal/social development.
Individual student planning consists of ongoing systemic activities designed to help students establish personal goals and develop future plans, such as individual learning plans and graduation plans. Individual student planning is implemented through such strategies as:
- Appraisal: School counselors work with students to analyze and evaluate their abilities, interests, skills and achievement.
- Advisement: School counselors help students make decisions for future plans based on academic, career and personal/social data.
Responsive services consist of activities designed to meet students’ immediate needs and concerns. This component is available to all students and may be initiated by students, teachers or parents or by school counselors after a review of the data. Responsive services are designed to help students resolve academic, career and personal/social issues and are delivered through such strategies as:
- Counseling: School counselors provide counseling sessions in individual or small-group settings to help students overcome issues impeding achievement or success. Counseling is planned and goal-focused, and is short-term in nature. School counselors do not provide therapy or long-term counseling in schools to address psychological disorders. When students require long-term counseling or therapy, school counselors make referrals to appropriate community resources.
- Crisis response: School counselors provide support and assistance to students as they navigate critical and emergency situations. Crisis response includes intervention and follow-up to the immediate needs and is designed to prevent the situation from becoming more severe.
School counselors provide indirect student services as a means to support student achievement and to promote equity and access for all students. While students are the beneficiaries of indirect services, school counselors work with a variety of people to deliver these services. School counselors may interact with parents, teachers, administrators, school staff and community stakeholders in order to promote student achievement for a specific student of to promote a systemic change to address the needs of underachieving or underrepresented groups of students in the school. Indirect student services are delivered through such strategies as:
- Referrals: School counselors direct students and parents to school or community resources for additional assistance or information through referrals.
- Consultation: School counselors share strategies that support student achievement with parents, teachers, other educators and community organizations through consultation. School counselors also serve as student advocates to promote academic, career and personal/social development through this strategy. Finally, school counselors use consultation to receive information on student needs and to identify strategies that promote student achievement.
- Collaboration: School counselors work with other educators, parents and the community to support student achievement and advocate for equity and access for all student through collaboration.
This text is quoted, or modified from the American School Counseling Association (2003, revised 2009, 2012). ASCA National Standards for Students. Alexandria, VA: Author