Celebrating school counselors: Four facts you may not know

One week a year is devoted to celebrating and recognizing a special group of uniquely-trained educators who have a big impact on student success and achievement in our local schools.

Celebrated annually during the first week in February, National School Counseling Week honors counselors’ contributions within schools across the country. Between helping students with academic plans, being there for them emotionally and socially, and supporting students’ college and career plans, school counselors have a unique role.

National School Counseling Week 2021

“It’s no secret that 2020 was a significantly challenging year for many educators, but school counselors did not falter in their call to support our communities,” said OCDE Coordinator of K-12 School Counseling Services Dr. Luz M. Arellano. “They were at the forefront, checking in with students and families by ensuring their physical and emotional needs were met while also providing resources such as food banks, mental health resources and support with accessing technology.”

We sat down with Dr. Arellano to gain a better understanding of the vital role school counselors play in the education system. Here are four things you may not know about school counselors.

School counselors are certified and licensed educators.

All school counselors in the state of California must earn a graduate degree specializing in school counseling along with their bachelor’s degree. As part of the master’s in counseling program, school counselors are required to complete six units of practicum and field study. In California, school counselors need to complete at least 900 hours of combined practicum and fieldwork.

School counselors are active school leaders.

As members of school leadership and student support teams, school counselors collaborate with family members, principals, teachers and other support staff to develop and implement school-wide programs, classroom and individual student activities to improve student outcomes.

School counselors are proactive and data-driven.

Supporting elementary, middle and high school students, counselors use data to create guidance programs that address students’ academic, social, and emotional development and future career plans.

School counselors advocate for equitable education for all students and work to remove systemic barriers.

As educational advocates, school counselors identify and evaluate developmental problems and external factors that affect student success. In this capacity, they help to promote a positive school environment that leads to positive student outcomes.

Stay tuned as we continue to honor, celebrate and highlight the work of school counselors across Orange County.