School counselors design and deliver comprehensive school counseling programs that promote student achievement. These programs are comprehensive in scope, preventive in design and developmental in nature. School counselors are accountable for assuring that every student has the opportunity to learn, achieve and graduate college and career ready.
For these reasons, the NC Guidance Essential Standards are intended for the following purposes and audiences:
- Individual Counseling (e.g., the school counselor and individual student engaged in counseling about that one student’s personal problems and/or academic issues)
- Group Counseling (e.g., the school counselor and a group of students who are meeting in a group session as they deal with habitual attendance issues or with forming healthier friendships or with the need for more effective coping skills as they deal with a loss)
- Classroom Instruction by the school counselor and/or classroom teacher (e.g., a special class discussion led by the school counselor who provides instructional input on a timely issue, such as cyber bullying, driving while texting, character education and positive behavior in general, and the undergraduate admissions process)
- Professional Development (e.g., use of these standards by school counselors for Professional Learning Community (PLC) sessions and for whole school staff informational presentations)
It is expected and intended that all school staff will be informed about and ready to implement these guidance standards as they relate to the classroom, under the leadership of school counselor staff. These guidance standards are student centered. They are intended to be viewed as developmentally appropriate levels that are based on student readiness, not on grade level placement. The school counselor is expected to apply these standards in an integrated, overlapping approach to each student’s needs and maturity level at the time the student is presenting himself or herself to the school counselor for assistance. These standards should not be limited to discrete levels of understanding and application that isolate each standard and level of student development into unrelated areas of understanding and implementation. The goal is to see each student as a composite of personal traits and needs that transcends a singular classification and that expands each student’s potential for growth and development.
Students are holistic human beings who develop in both expected and unexpected ways. That is why these standards should not be implemented as chunks of unrelated information. The guiding question is: “What do students need to know, understand, and be able to do to ensure their success in the future, whether it be the next class, post-secondary study, the military, or the world of work?” The ultimate goal for 21st century students is the College and Career Readiness (CCR) initiative, which requires students to be informed about the knowledge and skills that prepare students to be lifelong learners in a global context.