The School Counselor

The Role of Today's School Counselor

At the beginning of the 20th century, "guidance counselors" were teachers who were concerned about the welfare of children.  They helped students by providing vocational assessments and assistance in finding appropriate employment after school.  For a select few, the discussion was about college.  Then, starting around 1940's that role began to change due to the work of Carl Rogers, a leading psychologist of the time.  It was his view that everyone had the potential to succeed.  By way of a person-centered counseling approach, counselors could help people recognize their abilities and find ways to reach their potential.  Thanks to his wise influence, the focus of the counselor has shifted toward the whole child.

From the 1950's to the 1970's there was a national movement by educators, through the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), to define the role of the school counselor and the need for national standards.  It was realized that school counselors offered much more than just guidance.  During this time, the name of the position was changed to the more appropriate "School Counselor".  Students, teachers, parents and administrators began using the term in 1999.  New York’s certification now reads “School Counselor.”  “Guidance counselor” is no longer used.  Counseling, consulting, and coordinating are processes commonly used by today’s school counselor.

Rondout Valley High School has four members on staff certified as School Counselors.  The Middle School has three school counselors and each of the elementary schools has a school counselor on staff.  They are trained to help students and families during all phases of the problem solving process.  They help people recognize their issues, clarify their values, and make developmentally appropriate decisions by creating a safe and caring environment, school counselors assist students in learning about themselves.  This can include helping students define their areas of strength and weakness, building their coping skills, and enhancing their decision-making abilities.  School counselors also provide general information, vocational and college information, and referral information.  Many people see high school counselors primarily as college counselors.  The fact of the matter is that school counselors can, and do, much more, including academic advisement and providing support regarding social and personal issues.  During the college search, the counselor's role is to help students and their families navigate the college decision-making process.  Counselors provide support throughout the entire college application procedure helping students to find good college matches. 

The school counseling staff is here to help in any way, from general questions and referrals to personal concerns and specific planning.  Our entire staff welcomes any and all questions or concerns.