Whitefield Academy Counseling Mission Statement
The mission of the Whitefield Academy School Counseling Program is to collaborate with faculty, parents, and students in the development and implementation of a comprehensive program that teaches students to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit, emphasizes the importance of knowing and understanding God’s will for students’ lives as they make decisions, encourages students to exemplify Christian excellence, and models Agape love, putting others before self.
What is a School Counselor?
A school counselor is a certified/licensed professional with a Master’s degree or higher trained to address students’ personal/social, academic, and career development needs.
How does a School Counselor Serve?
Whitefield’s School Counseling program is modeled after the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National model for school counseling programs. Counselors use the four components below to facilitate each student’s academic development, personal/social development, and career development:
- School Counseling Curriculum
- Large group counseling lessons - Several times throughout the year, the school counselor will meet with Lower, Middle, and Upper school students in large group sessions. Students will be engaged in conversation about the topic of discussion and be taught strategies and skills that will help them be successful overall. Parent-child conversations reinforcing the topics discussed in school is encouraged! Large group discussions are scheduled during the school day and are scheduled through classroom teachers and grade level advisors. Each lesson will be surrounding a topic that focuses on either career development, personal/social development (conflict resolution, communication, self-control) or academic development (study skills, test-taking, time-management, organization).
- Parent Workshops - Throughout the year, the school counselor presents at parent workshops for parents at each level (lower, middle, upper). Topics that have been offered in the recent past include "the role of the school counselor", "helping your child transition into a new grade/new school", and "understanding why children misbehave". Parent book studies are also held to give parents a more intimate, up-close format for discussing child development and behavior with the school counselor.
- Small group counseling session s- During group sessions, the school counselor meets with a small number of students (typically 4-6 students) about one issue that all of the participants have in common. Groups meet for 30 minutes once a week for 4-6 weeks. Group participants will have opportunities to discuss the topic at hand, pray for one another, and encourage each other’s growth in the area of focus. Students are either referred for group participation by a teacher or parent, or refer themselves by responding to interest surveys. Parent permission is required for small group participation. Therefore, you will be notified and asked permission if your son or daughter is referred for group participation.
- Individual Student Planning
- Transitioning to a New School Level- The school counselor meets with students and/or parents entering PreK, Kindergarten, Sixth-Grade, and Ninth-Grade leading up to students’ transition to a new grade to help them get acquainted with the offerings of the upcoming school year and prepare for a smooth transition to a new school (elementary school, middle school, or high school). Students and parents also have opportunities at these meetings to ask questions of current students and/or faculty members to help them prepare for the next step in their educational career.
- New Student Check-Ins- Each year, new Whitefield students meet individually with the school counselor within the first month of school to assess how they are adjusting to our community and whether or not there are special concerns.
- Parent Sessions- Some of the parent workshops offered are designed to help parents work closely with their children in planning for college and life.
- Duke Talent Identification Program- Each year, talented seventh graders are selected by the school counselor to participate in the Duke TIP. This program gives students early exposure to the SAT or ACT, and follows them through the 10th grade, providing resources on summer enrichment programs, post-secondary options, and more. Participants are recognized at the end of the year awards chapel.
- Students Struggling Academically- Each quarter, the school counselor receives a list of students who are struggling academically. These students are encouraged to attend a Study Skills workshop where they will receive information that will help them set goals and plan for their own academic improvement. Individual follow-up sessions are held with the school counselor, the student, and the parent where appropriate to monitor the student’s academic improvement.
- Please see the College Counseling page for information about the activities and services offered by Whitefield's college guidance counselors as students in grades 9-12 prepare for college and careers!
- Responsive Services
- From time to time, we all experience discouragement, fear, sadness, disappointment, and stress/anxiety, among other challenging emotions. In these times, the school counselor is available to meet individual students’ needs either through individual counseling sessions, consultations with the student’s parents and/or teachers, crisis response, or referrals to outside sources that can provide more in-depth interventions for student issues that go beyond the scope of what can be handled at school.
- System Support
- The school counseling program is an integral part of student success at Whitefield. Therefore, the school counselor will collaborate with other teachers, support personnel, parents, and community workers to advocate for students. The school counselor also maintains active membership in professional organizations such as the American Counseling Association, the American School Counselor Association, and the Georgia School Counselor Association and attends professional development activities or professional conferences regularly throughout the year.