Guidance Department Overview
The guiding principle of the PCSST School Counseling Department is that all students have an innate ability to achieve in school and throughout their lives. Together with the school’s administration, teachers, parents, and community stake holders, it is our responsibility to encourage each student to discover his/her own personal and academic strengths and to help them work on areas of weakness. We believe treating each student with dignity, placing high expectations on student achievement, and encouraging personal accountability will result in better educational experiences, higher self-esteem, and a more enjoyable school atmosphere.
The mission statement of the PCSST School Counseling Department is to help all students reach their full potential through a comprehensive counseling program. By developing essential academic, personal/social, and career skills, the PCSST School Counseling Department will help prepare students for career and college success, to be responsible citizens, and to lead productive and prosperous lives.
Through the College Readiness Access and Success Program, the PCSST School Counseling Department aims to improve all students’ academic preparedness for college and provide systemic career information resulting in the graduation of all students from high school. The goal is to see all students enroll in and graduate from post-secondary education institutions, and to continue on successful career paths. Additionally, the PCSST School Counseling Department seeks to enhance the personal and social
experiences of the student body by being visible, accessible, and approachable at all times.
As recommended by ASCA (2012), PCSST counselors organize developmental workshops, in-class presentations, and structure lessons that are designed to help students achieve the desired competencies, and to provide all students with the knowledge and skills required for college and career readiness. In order to deliver the K-12 school counseling curriculum, during the school year, the PCSST counselors conduct college and career readiness presentations systemically for each grade level. Classroom and group activities that are aligned with the ASCA National Model are infused throughout PCSST’s overall curriculum and are presented systematically throughout the K-12 classroom activities. The workshops and guidance lessons are categorized into four major domains which are (1) Character Education & Personal Wellness, (2) Knowledge and Life Skills Building, (3) Career Development, and (4) College Readiness, Access and Success.
Individual Learning Plan and Academic Advising:
Aligned with the new accountability standards, all public schools in New Jersey are strongly encouraged to use the Educational Proficiency Plan (EPP) to document student work required by 6A:8-4(c-d). Together, with our students, PCSST School Counselors create academic/career paths and individualized learning plans that incorporate student personal strengths, skills, abilities, values, and areas of interest with college and career options that best fit their long and short academic and career goals. As it is recommended by ASCA (2012) and NJDOE (2013) parents, teachers and counselors should work with students to set and manage goals that are necessary for career readiness and post-secondary success.
The New Jersey Administrative Code also defines a Personalized Student Learning Plan as a “formalized plan and process that involves students setting learning goals based on personal, academic and career interests beginning in the middle school grades and continuing throughout high school with the close support of adult mentors that include teachers, school counselors, and parents” (N.J.A.C. 6A:8). Parallel to the expectations of the New Jersey Administrative Codes, one of the areas that CRASP focuses on is continuous academic improvement of students from K-12. Therefore, to help all students academically improve, PCSST school counselors implement the individual learning plan that consists of the following components (1) student baseline academic data chart that includes students’ individual scores in standardized tests scores as well as their high and low achieving classes, (2) student survey to identify what does the student sees as his/her strengths in core subject or in general, (3) the results of comprehensive need assessment, (4) core subject diagnostic results, (5) teacher’s feedback chart that indicates students’ strengths challenges and specific areas to focus, (6) offering extra academic support through teacher tutoring, peer tutoring, online tools and Saturday schools, (7) individualized academic support program that includes students’ current academic standing, the description of the intervention for improvement plan, follow-up meeting notes, description of evidence that determines proficiency in the topic and targeted day for completion, (8) student weekly study schedule for personal educational plan, (9) communication chart that show how teachers, counselors, parents and students work collaboratively to prepare the individual learning plan, monitor and evaluate the progress made during the school year, and (10) sharing resources and helpful web-links.