Comprehensive School Counseling Program Overview
The K-12 Columbia Public Schools Comprehensive School Counseling Program (CSCP) is an integral part of each school’s total educational program. The CSCP is developmental by design and includes sequential activities organized and implemented by Masters-level certificated school counselors with the active support of teachers, administrators, students, parents, and the community. The program is designed to address the needs of all students by helping them acquire competencies that promote social, emotional, and academic development, as well as skills for career readiness. Working to strengthen student mental health, the CSCP also provides assistance to students as they work through issues that interfere with healthy development and educational progress. Moreover, the CSCP helps create positive and safe school learning climates and helps students feel connected to the school.
Counselors provide services in four areas:
- Responsive Services: Individual and group counseling, consultation, and referrals provide support for a student’s mental health and social/emotional well-being, personal circumstances, concerns, or problems interfering with a student’s educational progress and social and/or emotional health. School counselors are school-based mental health providers and use therapeutic techniques such as brief, solution-focused counseling, play therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy in their work with students. Parent/guardian involvement with the activities of this area is critical in helping students overcome barriers. Students facing issues that do not impact the school environment or issues that are significant and beyond what can be addressed in the school setting are referred to outside providers for additional support.
- Curriculum: Classroom lessons and activities from kindergarten through grade 12 help students learn about themselves and others and assist students with the development of coping skills to deal with life’s problems. Additionally, students develop skills to promote school and career success.
- Individual Student Planning: One-on-one consultation and group activities provide assistance with academic success and post-secondary and career readiness. Activities are designed to help students evaluate educational, career, and personal goals and develop personal plans of study.
- System Support: Program administration and management activities provide support for the school counseling program as well as other school programs. These activities include program management, professional development, staff and community relations, consultation, community outreach, and evaluation.
Implemented by school counselors in collaboration with parents/guardians, teachers, and administrators, the Columbia Public Schools CSCP is effective in assisting students to respond to the challenges of living and working in the 21st century. Empirical research conducted in the state of Missouri has shown that comprehensive school counseling programs positively impact student social/emotional, academic, and career development and contribute to productive and safe learning climates in schools.