As we celebrate National School Counseling Week, I would like to thank the thousands of counselors at high schools who help our children manage all the aspects of day-to-day life. You all wear many hats, are mostly under-resourced and in some cases under-appreciated. You are there for them in many capacities. You advocate for your students’ well-being and are a valuable resource for their educational advancement. You listen to students’ concerns, whether is be about academic, emotional or social problems. Thank you.
Today’s Counselors Wear Many Hats
I recently spoke to the Director of School Counseling at a large urban school district with over 4,000 high school students to counsel. I gained a good appreciation for all the challenges faced by students, their families, and counselors – whose role is overwhelming. The reality is that counselors often lack the resources, support and new technology to prepare students for life after high school.
Today’s school counselors are vital members of the education team. You are tasked, as part of the education team to help adolescents navigate the unique educational, social and behavioral obstacles related to attending and finishing high school. We count on you to help students become the productive, well-adjusted adults of tomorrow.
As counselors you provide educational guidance and assistance for students by planning schedules, recommending courses and determining appropriate education solutions for different types of students. In my work with high schools it is apparent the tasks counselors and counseling teams perform are simply overwhelming. As counselors you are managing dozens of student related issues well beyond the scope of what we all may think a school counselor is responsible. Counselors are part psychologist, friend, mentor, and often lastly- educator.
Giving Students the Tools Needed to Succeed Beyond High School
What should a public education look should like and include? Is K-12 education’s primary purpose to teach our children the “basics” around reading, writing, math, science, history and a second language? Or, as many educators believe, and are doing, is public education much more than that? Many will argue that public education isn’t intended to provide guidance on things that should be happening in the home or outside of the school environment. Yet, I have met and see many educators planning and providing a more integrated “end-to-end” approach. Building a curriculum to teach the “life and soft” skills that people need to succeed in their independent life in college, in the work force, managing a household, purchasing a home or a car, and making a positive impact on their peers and society can make such a positive impact.
Education is about giving students the training and tools they need to succeed. When it comes to college, many students are simply not equipped to navigate all the options available to them or the challenges. That includes how to prepare for educational expenses, career choices, and even educational choices that are not on the standard list of options provided by their counselors.
Technology Needs to Expand Beyond the Classroom
There has been a recent explosion of technology in the classroom with eLearning platforms that are dramatically changing and improving the way students learn. The focus of these tools is on teaching the core curriculums: math, science, reading, arts, writing, and language. Several years ago, I asked myself, “Why aren’t there tech tools to help students and counselors collaborate better? Tools to help counselors succeed in educating their students on careers, financial literacy, and educational opportunities?”
It’s evident that technology is lagging when it comes to tools to help students learn the important life skills and soft skills. Colleges have begun to leverage online eAdvising to assist students with academic questions and concerns. With a national 382:1 average student to counselor ratio, resource strapped counselors could benefit from similar technology to improve career, financial and educational literacy students need to succeed as independent adults. It doesn’t mean more work for counselors. It simply means a shift in mindset to leverage technology the same way teachers do with eLearning starting in kindergarten!
A New Tool for High School eAdvising
That’s why we created CiCompass, a no cost solution to empower counselors to more easily manage the college advising process leveraging mobile technology. Through a comprehensive and unified mobile app experience, counselors can educate students on the education options available to them, set college prep goals for them, communicate more effectively, and monitor progress of individuals and entire caseloads with easy to understand dashboards and built-in checklists. Your high school gets the added benefit of their very own mobile eAdvising app – all at NO COST to students, families or school districts.
The student app also offers a built-in college search feature that directly connects students to educational opportunities based on their preferences and allows them to contact colleges from the app. It also allows colleges to find quality candidates and drive their recruiting process.
Technology has improved and modernized many aspects of education. CiCompass allows high schools to extend the benefits to college prep with an eAdvising platform that streamline the counseling process and improves student outcomes. Learn More.