College and Career Readiness and Student Programming

  • Antoinette L. Rayburn, District Program Manager, arayburn@pths209.org 708-338-5907


    Today’s young people are living in an exciting time, with an increasingly diverse and mobile society, new technologies, and expanding opportunities. To help ensure that they are prepared to become the next generation of parents, workers, leaders, and citizen”, every student needs support, guidance, and opportunities during adolescence, a time of rapid growth and change. Adolescents face unique and diverse challenges, both personally and developmentally, that impact academic achievement.

    ASCA – American School Counseling Association


    Comprehensive School Counseling Program

    Mission

    The District 209 School Counselors advocate for and facilitate individual and systemic change to ensure every student has the knowledge and skills necessary for academic success and personal growth.  The counseling program is designed to foster the development of our students’ problem solving skills and self-exploration. As school counselors we are dedicated to empowering every student to achieve academic success, personal, emotional and social growth. Our department works to create a climate in the building that fosters post-secondary and career exploration by which every student is motivated to reach their fullest educational potential and successfully manage their lives as productive citizens.

    Vision

    As professional school counselors at District 209, we are dedicated to empowering every student to achieve academic success, personal, emotional and social growth, wellness and career exploration to reach their fullest educational potential and successfully manage their lives as healthy, responsible, competent and productive citizens who are ready for global success.


    School Counseling Curriculum Overview

    The School Counseling Curriculum consists of structured developmental experiences presented systematically through classroom and group activities 8-12.  The purpose is to facilitate student growth and development, to promote academic achievement and positive mental health and to assist students in acquiring and using life career skills.  The curriculum is organized around the three content standards. Essential Grade Level Expectations are identified in the department scope and sequence.  While counselors are responsible for organizing and implementing the curriculum, the support of the faculty and staff is important for successful implementation.  Curriculum is delivered through both classroom and group activities.  Examples of curriculum topics in each of the content standards are as follows: 

    • Social & Emotional Development:  Personal safety, respecting differences, empathy-building, problem-solving, personal strengths and talents, mindfulness, coping with stressful situations, emotional regulation, social skill building.
    • Academic Development:  Study skills, test-taking skills, goal-setting, grade-level transitions, four year planning and test interpretation
    • Career Readiness:  Career awareness and exploration, career paths, career resources, job skills, decision-making, post-secondary planning.

    ​School counselors work closely with teachers to organize where and when school counseling curriculum activities will be taught. Learning activities are cross-referenced to the state standards and provide effective ways to work closely with classroom teachers to achieve the educational goals of the district.  The school counseling curriculum is delivered through such strategies as:

    • Classroom activities: Counselors teach, team-teach, or assist in teaching guidance curriculum learning activities in the classroom, school counseling center, or other school facilities.
    • Group activities: Counselors conduct groups outside of the classroom to respond to student identified interests or needs.  Counselors plan and lead structured activities to develop skills and increase the knowledge of students concerning guidance standards and grade level expectations.

    Comprehensive School Counseling Program Philosophy

    Proviso Township School District 209, believes that our Comprehensive School Counseling Program (CSCP) is an essential and integral part of our district’s educational program and mission. It exists in order to promote every student’s abilities to live, learn, work, and contribute to their communities. We understand that the CSCP is developmentally appropriate and involves assisting all students with continuous growth and transitions. We believe that all students can become effective, responsible, productive, life-long learners. We acknowledge that our program should be assessed annually, be self-reflective, and continuously improve. We assert that the Comprehensive School Counseling Program should be linked to student achievement, be aligned with state and national standards, and encourage professional development. We maintain that our CSCP is coordinated across all school levels and works in collaboration with the community.

     District 209 CSCP, when fully implemented, will:

    • Address the diverse needs of each and every student;
    • Provide for self-reflective evaluation and annual program reviews based upon best practices, relevant research, and appropriate data;
    • Be coordinated by a team of school counselors and implemented by students, parents, teachers, administers, and staff support;
    • Include developmentally appropriate guidance curriculum, activities, and services based on the needs of the entire student population; and
    • Be an integral component of each school’s program and an essential link with the community.

    Student Advocacy

    All students can develop the skills necessary for academic success, personal growth, positive interpersonal relationships, career development and healthy choices. 

    • All students have a right to equitable treatment and access to opportunities and supports.
    • School counseling is integral to a school system’s efforts to enhance educational attainment for all students.
    • School counselors must work to design and implement programs that contribute to student success.

    Counselors meet with students in large groups, small groups and individually to implement the counseling program by providing:  

    • Academic planning
    • Organizational, study and test-taking skills
    • Academic support interventions
    • Transition planning
    • Post-secondary planning and the college application process
    • Career planning
    • Education in understanding self and others
    • Coping strategies
    • Peer relationships and effective social skills
    • Communication, problem-solving, decision-making, and conflict resolution
    • Substance abuse education
    • Multicultural/diversity awareness
    • Crisis Intervention

    Counselors collaborate and consult with parents to address:

    • Academic planning and support
    • Post-secondary planning
    • School-to-parent communications/concerns
    • Referral process

    Benefits for Students

    • Prepares students for the challenges of the 21st   century through academic, career, and personal/social development
    • Relates educational success to future success in life
    • Facilitates career exploration and development
    • Develops decision-making and problem solving skills
    • Assists in acquiring knowledge of self and others
    • Enhances personal development
    • Assists in developing effective interpersonal relationship skills
    • Broadens knowledge the options available to them for lifelong learning
    • Provides advocacy for students
    • Encourages facilitative, cooperative, peer interactions
    • Fosters resiliency factors for students
    • Assures equitable access to educational opportunities

     

    Benefits for Parents

    • Prepares children for the challenges of the 21st  century through academic, career, and personal/social development
    • Provides support for parents in advocating for their child’s academic, career, and personal/social development
    • Develops a system for their child’s short and long-range planning and learning
    • Increases opportunities for positive parent/school interaction
    • Enable parents to access school and community resources

     

    Benefits for Teachers

    • Provides an interdisciplinary team effort to address student needs and educational goals
    • Provides skill development for teachers in classroom management, teaching effectiveness and affective education
    • Provides consultation to assist teachers in addressing student needs and guiding them through the changes they experience throughout their school career

     

    Benefits for Administrators

    • Integrates school counseling with school improvement
    • Provides a program structure with standards based content and curriculum
    • Assists administration in using school counselors effectively to enhance learning and development for all students
    • Assists administration in enhancing school climate and creating a positive learning environment for students
    • Provides a means of evaluating school counseling programs

     

    Benefits for the Board of Education and State Department of Education

     

    • Provides a rationale for implementing a comprehensive developmental counseling program in the school system
    • Provides assurance that a quality counseling program is available to all students
    • Demonstrates the necessity of appropriate levels of funding for implementation
    • Supports appropriate credentialing and staffing
    • Provides a basis for determining funding allocations for school counseling programs
    • Furnishes program information to the community promoting better school and community relations
    • Gives ongoing information about student competencies and achievements attained through school counseling program efforts

     

    Benefits for School Counselors

    • Provides a clearly defined role and function
    • Eliminates non-counseling functions that do not impact student achievement or development
    • Provides direct service to all students
    • Provides a tool for program management and accountability
    • Enhances the role of the school counselor as a student advocate
    • Ensures the counselors role in school improvement


    A developmental school counseling program focuses on all students.  While the counselor continues to respond to the unique needs of the individual, all students benefit from experiential activities that enhance their knowledge and skills in career planning and exploration, in self-awareness and interpersonal relationships, and in educational/vocational development. Proficiency in these areas serves to improve students’ self-concept, fosters better peer and adult interactions, and lends students a sense of purpose and direction in more effectively planning and controlling their own lives.  Such enhanced competencies result in students who are prepared to cope with life’s decisions and to manage human relationships.  Thus, the comprehensive school counseling program is preventative as well as remedial in nature. 

     

    High School Student Planning

    During the high school years, individual learning plans and programs of study are reviewed and updated regularly in accordance with students’ post-secondary personal, educational, and occupational goals. The individual student planning component provides time for regular individual work with students as well as group sessions focusing on individual student planning. School counseling curriculum activities continue to support student planning by giving emphasis to the development and use of skills in decision making, goal setting, and planning. The importance and relevance of strong social/emotional, academic, and career development skills are stressed. The goal is for students’ personal plans of study to become pathways or guides through which they can use the past and present to anticipate and prepare for the future.

    • Appraisal:  School counselors coordinate efforts with teachers and administrators in order to interpret test results for parents/guardians and students, especially when assisting them with post-secondary planning. During high school, Individual Student Planning involves building on previous information contained in the resource file. This process helps student make wise choices when developing and revising their Personal Plans of Study.
    • Education and Career Planning:  Career Paths explored during middle school diverge into Career Clusters in high school. Through individual career planning, high school students apply what they have learned about themselves and career paths to understanding occupations within a primary Career Cluster. This focus helps students continue their explorations in a deliberate manner. Students are encouraged to gain work experience within their Career Clusters of interest. As they progress through high school, they review and modify their Personal Plans of Study based on new knowledge about themselves and the world of work. Individual Student Planning skills will enable students to adapt to life changes. High school career development lessons address the Comprehensive School Counseling Grade Level Expectations. Activities can be completed in Naviance. (Link to Naviance Moble, code below)
    • ​Transitions:  To help students and their parents/guardians make the transition from middle school to high school, school counselors coordinate transition activities with foundation schools. Orientation days for middle school students entering high school is offered at the end of the eighth grade.  High school is a time of transition, concluding with entry into post-secondary education or the workforce. As students adjust to the changing expectations of each grade level, school counselors and school staff address these transitions. The Personal Plan of Study is reviewed and updated at least annually to ensure that it continues to provide direction toward the student’s academic and career goals.