When College of Education alumna Elesha Ellison (M.Ed., 2009) was named the statewide School Counselor of the Year by the Palmetto State School Counselor Association (PSSCA), it couldn’t have come at a better time of the year. This week is National School Counseling Week, held in conjunction with the American School Counselor Association (ASCA).
“Local school school counselors are needed more than ever now to support students’ social and emotional well-being,” said Dr. Margaux Brown, Assistant Professor of Counselor Education in the Augusta University College of Education. “Amidst the pandemic and heightened awareness to systemic racism, we recognize and celebrate their unique abilities to support individuals, schools, and communities.”
The week provides recognition for school counselors. These specially trained professionals “implement comprehensive school counseling programs, a vital part of the educational process for all students as they meet the challenges of the 21st century,” according to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who proclaimed the week to honor the impact school counselors have in schools across the state.
Governor Kemp cited school counselors for being actively engaged in helping students examine their abilities, strengths, interests and talents; for working in a partnership with parents as they encounter the challenges of raising children in today’s world; for focusing on positive ways to enhance students’ academic, postsecondary and social/emotional development; and working with teachers and other educators to provide an educational system where students can realize their potential and set healthy, realistic and optimistic aspirations for themselves. School counselors are certified, experienced educators with a master’s degree in school counseling. The combination of their training and experience makes them an integral part of the total educational program.
“School counselors work with all students to remove barriers to learning by addressing students’ academic concerns, postsecondary options and social/emotional skills,” said Jill Cook, ASCA executive director. “School counseling programs help to increase student achievement and provide a much-needed resource for students, parents, teachers and administrators. School counselors are integral to student success.”