Roles and Qualifications

The role of the guidance counselor at Melrose High School is to be a strong advocate for each of his or her students. It is our responsibility to help students increase their knowledge about post-high school opportunities, and to help them make the important connection between their high school record and the specific options that will be available to them upon graduation from high school. It is the counselor’s responsibility to have high expectations for all students, and to challenge them accordingly by guiding them to take courses that are appropriate for their goals and interests. We also strongly encourage all students to become involved in extracurricular activities through which they can make important social and community connections and through which they can grow in ways that go beyond the classroom.

The guidance department actively works to make the guidance office a welcoming place where students can easily access information and where students can work closely with us as counselors. We work with students to guide them through the process of course selection and individual programming.

Professional school counselors (also known as guidance counselors) are certified/licensed educators with a minimum of a master’s degree in school counseling making them uniquely qualified to address all students’ academic, personal/social and career development needs by designing, implementing, evaluating and enhancing our comprehensive school counseling program that promotes and enhances student success.

Professional school counselors serve a vital role in maximizing student success. Through leadership, advocacy and collaboration, the professional school counselors at Melrose High School promote equity and access to rigorous educational experiences for all students. The professional school counselors at Melrose High School support a safe learning environment and work to safeguard the human rights of all members of the school community and address the needs of all students through culturally relevant prevention and intervention programs that are a part of a comprehensive school counseling program.

Professional school counselors have a minimum of a master’s degree in school counseling, meet the state certification/licensure standards, and abide by the laws of the states in which they are employed. They uphold the ethical and professional standards of the American School Counselors Association (ASCA) and other applicable professional counseling associations, and promote the development of the school counseling program based on the following areas of the ASCA National Model: Foundation, delivery, management and accountability.

Foundation

Professional school counselors at Melrose High School identify a philosophy based on school counseling theory and research/evidence-based practice that recognizes the need for all students to benefit from the school counseling program. Professional school counselors act on these philosophies to guide the development, implementation and evaluation of a culturally relevant and comprehensive school counseling programs. Professional school counselors create a mission statement supporting the school’s mission and collaborate with other individuals and organizations to promote all students’ academic, career and personal/social development.

Delivery

The professional school counselors at Melrose High School provide culturally competent services to students, parents/guardians, school staff and the community in the following areas:School Guidance Curriculum – This curriculum consists of structured lessons designed to help students achieve the desired competencies and to provide all students with the knowledge and skills appropriate for their developmental level. The school guidance curriculum is delivered  systematically by our school counselors in collaboration with other professional educators in K-12 classroom and group activities.

Individual Student Planning – The school counselors coordinate ongoing systemic activities designed to help students establish personal goals and develop future plans.

Responsive Services – Responsive services consist of prevention and/or intervention activities to meet students’ immediate and future needs. These needs can be necessitated by events and conditions in students’ lives and the school climate and culture, and may require any of the following:

  • individual or group counseling
  • consultation with parents, teachers and other educators
  • referrals to other school support services or community resources
  • peer helping
  • psycho-education
  • intervention and advocacy at the systemic level

The school counselors at Melrose High School develop confidential relationships with students to help them resolve and/or cope with problems and developmental concerns.System Support – System support consists of management activities establishing, maintaining, and enhancing the total school counseling program. These activities include professional development, consultation, collaboration, supervision, program management and operations. The MHS school counselors are committed to continual personal and professional development and are proactively involved in professional organizations promoting school counseling at the local, state and national levels.

Management

Professional school counselors incorporate organizational processes and tools that are concrete, clearly delineated, and reflective of the school’s needs. Processes and tools include:

  • advisory councils include: students, parents/guardians, teachers, counselors, administrators and community members to review school counseling program goals and results and to make recommendations
  • the use of student data to effect systemic change within the school system so every student receives the benefit of the school counseling program
  • action plans for prevention and intervention services defining the desired student competencies and achievement results
  • allotment of the professional school counselor’s time in direct service with students as recommended in the ASCA National Model

Accountability

Our school counselors are developing and implementing data/needs-driven, standards-based and research-supported programs, and are engaging in continuous program evaluation activities. They also create results reports that demonstrate immediate, intermediate, and long-range effectiveness of comprehensive school counseling programs. The performance of the our professional school counselors at MHS is evaluated using an instrument based on the School Counselor Performance Standards found in the ASCA National Model as well as the performance evaluation tool developed by the Massachusetts School Counselors Association in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. These standards of practice are expected of professional school counselors when implementing a school counseling program.

Summary

The professional school counselors at Melrose High School are certified/licensed educators with the minimum of a master’s degree in school counseling and are uniquely qualified to address the developmental needs of all students through a comprehensive school counseling program addressing the academic, career and personal/social development of all students.