School Counseling Services

Children’s needs change as they grow. Polk County Public Schools employs school counselors who provide students with the support they need at each stage of their development.

Elementary School Counselors

During the elementary years, children are developing the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to become healthy, competent and confident learners. Students at this stage of development are beginning to develop their academic self-concept and their feelings of competence and confidence as learners. They are beginning to develop decision-making, communication and life skills, as well as their personal values.

School counselors work as a team with school staff, parents and the broader community to create a caring atmosphere to nurture our youngest learners. By providing education, prevention, early identification and intervention services, school counselors remove barriers to learning and help elementary school students reach their full academic potential, setting the tone for later school years.

Elementary school counselors hold master’s degrees and required state certifications in school counseling. Maintaining certification requires ongoing professional development. Professional association membership enhances the school counselor’s knowledge and effectiveness.

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Middle School Counselors

The middle-school years are characterized by rapid physical growth, curiosity about the world and the emergence of self-identity. School counselors work as a team with school staff, parents and the broader community to create a supportive climate in which adolescents can grow and learn.

Middle school counselors enhance the learning process and promote academic achievement, helping students to acquire positive social skills and values, set appropriate career goals, and realize their full academic potential to become productive, contributing members of society.

Middle school counselors hold master’s degrees and required state certifications in school counseling. Maintaining certification requires ongoing professional development. Professional association membership enhances the school counselor’s knowledge and effectiveness.

High School Counselors

High school counselors provide services similar to their elementary and middle counterparts, but there is an increased emphasis on college and career readiness.

High school represents the final transition into adulthood and the world of work. Students begin separating from their parents and exploring and defining their independence. Students are deciding who they are, what they do well, and what they want to do when they graduate.

During these years, students are evaluating their strengths, skills, and abilities. The biggest influence is their peer group. They are searching for a place to belong and rely on peer acceptance and feedback. They face increased pressure to engage in risky behaviors involving sex, drugs, and alcohol, and are exploring the boundaries of more acceptable behavior and mature, meaningful relationships. During this time, students need guidance in making decisions.

High school students are also dealing with academic pressures as they face high-stakes testing and the challenges of applying to college, including navigating the scholarship and financial aid application processes and entering the workforce.

High school counselors enhance the learning process and promote academic achievement. School counselors are essential for students to achieve optimal personal growth, acquire positive social skills and values, set appropriate career goals and realize their full academic potential to become productive, contributing members of society.

High school counselors hold master’s degrees and required state certification in school counseling. Maintaining certification requires ongoing professional development to stay current with educational reform and challenges facing today’s students. Professional association membership is encouraged as it enhances the school counselor’s knowledge and effectiveness.