In addition to teachers, schools have many staff who support students. In honor of National School Counseling Week, I’d like to share a bit more with you about school counselors.
School counselors work with students in the areas of academic, social and emotional, and college and career planning.
The San Francisco Unified School District’s Office of Counseling and Post-Secondary Success focuses on removing barriers that inhibit student academic success via policy and institutional practices with special attention to our most vulnerable student populations. They bring the work that our 140 school site counselors do every day to the forefront, and empower counselors to lead their work and become more visible in their school communities.
You may wonder what school counselors are up to these days. School counselors across the district are doing amazing things to stay connected with students and families while learning is remote and school buildings are being readied for the return to in-person learning.
Some of the adaptations to the traditional in-person counseling include virtual counseling bulletins, robust websites, Google appointments, counseling-based Google classrooms, classroom visits for virtual counseling lessons and virtual 1:1 sessions with students.
For example, at Galileo Academy of Science and Technology, the counseling team has a robust school counseling website for students. The team is using four digital platforms in an effort to engage and connect with students during distance learning. Check out the counseling virtual self care room and the counseling Google classroom where students are engaging in mindfulness activities.
At Buena Vista Horace Mann K-8, school counselors hosted a virtual high school workshop for families of special education students which helped demystify the application process for rising ninth graders. They also launched a fourth and fifth grade group supporting newcomer students to navigate school while in distance learning.
The Marina Middle School counseling team has been hard at work building an inclusive school community. They are organizing online assemblies and celebrations for a range of topics including LGBTQI+ history and understanding gender identity and pronouns.
These are just some of the many things SFUSD school counselors do every day in support of students and families. Please join me in appreciating their important work.
Vincent Matthews is the superintendent of schools for the San Francisco Unified School District. He is a guest columnist.