School counselors have legal and ethical guidelines to follow regarding confidentiality. Generally, what we talk about with students is not shared with anyone else. However there are several situations that may require us to report information to someone else:
1. A student is harming or threatening to harm himself or herself
2. A student is harming or threatening to harm someone else
3. A student is being harmed or threatened by someone else (includes abuse/neglect)
4. By court order
In addition, we may need to share information with administrators if school policies are being violated. We may also consult with other school counselors for advice or to share necessary information. If it is in the student’s best interest, we may share information with administrators, teachers, or the student's parent. This will be done after notifying the student, and only when necessary and helpful.
We help students in three main areas:
Our main focus in the counseling office is helping all students achieve academic success. We help with scheduling and can answer questions about grades, credits, and standardized tests. We provide progress reports for students who need help tracking their assignments. We work with teachers, support staff, and administration to support students throughout their time at the middle school.
Students, particularly during the middle school years, need help with discovering who they are - what their strengths and talents are, and how to handle challenges that arise with family, teachers, and friends. Often students just need someone to listen to them. Other times, they need to learn some valuable skills regarding friendships, conflict resolution, dealing with anger, and other issues. We provide short-term one-on-one counseling for students; those who need more frequent or intensive counseling are referred to outside agencies. We also lead small groups to focus on topics such as anger management, friendship/self-esteem, grief and loss, and changing families. These groups typically meet once a week for 6-8 weeks, during the school day.
Part of academic success includes planning for the future and setting goals. At KMS, we encourage students to consider what their plans are during and beyond high school. Whether they want to attend a university, community college, or trade school, we help them explore options based on their interests and strengths. In addition to discussing plans in individual sessions or small groups, we organize a Career Day for the students once a year where they have the chance to learn about a variety of job options and talk to people who actually work in those careers.