The Elementary School Counselor is responsible for providing a comprehensive school counseling program that is preventative in design, developmental in implementation, and supports DCPS students in the areas of academic achievement, individual student planning, and personal and social development. The incumbent also serves as a consultant to educators, families and community partners.
Incumbent reports to the school principal, while receiving technical assistance, guidance and instruction while working in coordination with the Director of Counseling/Supervisor of School Counseling Program. Additionally, incumbent works closely with faculty and staff of local school, DCPS central administration, various social services agencies (i.e., D.C. Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA)), the Superior Court, personnel from other public school systems and parents.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
Development and Management
- Uses data to develop and inform the school counseling program and evaluates the program’s impact on the school’s instructional goals.
- Collaborates on the development and management of the comprehensive school counseling program with the school administrator or instructional leader.
- Communicates and shares the goals of the comprehensive school counseling program to stakeholders including students, families and community partners.
- Develops and maintains a written plan for effective delivery of the school counseling programs based on the DCPS annual student achievement goals and aligned with the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) National Standards for School Counseling Programs.
- Uses the majority of the time (80%) to provide direct services to students through preventive and responsive services, including individual student planning, and uses the remaining time in development and management, system support and accountability.
Preventative and Responsive Services
- Designs, implements and assesses the guidance curriculum.
- Utilizes responsive counseling, initiating individual and group sessions for students’ personal, social and academic concerns.
- Consults with families and staff to appraise student needs and interests and to discuss appropriate recommendations for educational options.
- Plans, coordinates and provides classroom group guidance sessions to meet the identified guidance and counseling competencies in the areas of academic achievement, career and educational development, and personal and social development.
- Assesses student needs and makes referrals to appropriate school resource personnel, social agencies, community agencies and alternative programs.
- Intervenes during crisis situations and participates on school crisis team.
Individual Student Planning
- Prepares students for the transition to the next level: middle school, activities and options.
- Plans and coordinates programs such as career fairs, test preparation, improved/perfect attendance celebrations and other extensions of the counseling program.
- Uses individual student planning activities and classroom guidance to assist students in navigating educational and community experiences that support their needs and develop their potential.
- Collaborates with parents/guardians and educators to assist students with educational and career planning.
- Uses responsive counseling strategies to establish relationships and collaborate with educators, students, families and community partners; these strategies should reflect recognition of and respect for each individual and promote an understanding and appreciation of diverse population and cultures.
- Assists families in obtaining services for their children through an appropriate referral and follow-up process.
- Serves as liaison between the social services agencies (i.e., D.C. Child and Family Services Agency) and personnel from the various school systems where wards of the District of Columbia are attending school.
- Assists teachers in understanding their students, including providing and interpreting student data.
- Provides in-service training on topics related to the school counseling program and supporting student achievement.
- Conducts at minimum a yearly program audit to review the extent and quality of program implementation.
- Prepares and submits a variety of reports and data, to ensure fulfillment of established program requirements.
- Uses all available data, including academic grades, discipline referrals and attendance data, to identify students in need and to deliver services.
- Interprets tests, student data and other assessment results appropriately within the counseling environment for the purpose of developing and implementing academic plans for individual students.
- Commitment to Equity: Passionate about closing the achievement gap and ensuring that every child, regardless of background or circumstance, receives an excellent education.
- Leadership: Coaches, mentors, and challenges others to excel despite obstacles and challenging situations.
- Focus on Data-Driven Results: Relentlessly pursues the improvement of central office performance and school leadership, instruction, and operations, and is driven by a desire to produce quantifiable student achievement gains.
- Innovative Problem-Solving: Approaches work with a sense of possibility and sees challenges as opportunities for creative problem solving; takes initiative to explore issues and find potential innovative solutions.
- Adaptability: Excels in constantly changing environments and adapts flexibly in shifting projects or priorities to meet the needs of a dynamic transformation effort; comfortable with ambiguity and non-routine situations.
- Teamwork: Increases the effectiveness of surrounding teams through collaboration, constant learning and supporting others; sensitive to diversity in all its forms; respects and is committed to learning from others
- Dependability: Does whatever it takes to consistently deliver with high quality under tight deadlines; successfully manages own projects through strong organization, detailed workplans, and balancing of multiple priorities.
- Communication and Customer Service Skills: Communicates clearly and compellingly with diverse stakeholders in both oral and written forms; anticipates and responds to customer needs in a high-quality and courteous manner.
- Master’s Degree from an accredited college or university in school guidance and counseling.
- Meets the District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) certification requirements for school guidance and counseling and retains a current and valid certification as a professional school counselor.
- Ability to learn the student information system (DC STARS).
- Familiarity with District of Columbia Municipal Regulations, Title 5 Education, The ASCA National Model: A Framework for School Counseling Programs, ASCA National Standards, ASCA School Counselor Competencies, ASCA School Counselor Performance Standards, Carl Perkins Act of 2006. Ability to learn and follow Directives of the Chancellor, internal operating procedures and other guidelines established by the Office of the Chief Academic Officer.
- Ability to analyze data to inform work and decision making, analyze and evaluate available data, assess student needs and develop and implement procedures and policies to support student achievement.