Guidance and counseling is an integral part of the Columbia Public Schools' education program. It is developmental by design and includes sequential activities, K-12, organized and implemented by certified school counselors with the support of teachers, administrators, students, and parents. The guidance program includes the guidance curriculum, individual planning, responsive services, and system support. The program is designed to address the needs of all students by helping them to acquire competencies in personal and social development, academic development, and career development.
The Columbia School District believes that the guidance program is an essential and integral part of the overall education process. Sine emotional, social, and intellectual development is an ongoing integrated process, the guidance program must address the issue of total development from preschool to young adulthood. Growth and learning are developmental with students' needs varying at progressive states; therefore, an effective guidance program must provide structured sequential activities to address those needs.
A developmental guidance 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 guidance program is preventative as well as remedial in nature.