IJ - Guidance Program

Code: IJ
Adopted: Unknown
Re-adopted: 8/13/97, 10/11/17

The Board recognizes the need for a formalized guidance and counseling program in grades K-12. The Board further recognizes that the ideal guidance and counseling program is dependent upon the resources available to the District.

Guidance/Counseling Philosophy

The Board recognizes that all students are individuals with unique needs and strengths. The major objectives of the guidance and counseling program are:

  1. To help each student function in a manner satisfactory to self, family, school and community;
  2. To assist in focusing the entire educational process on the individual student.

Guidance/Counseling Program Goals

  1. To assist students in developing decision-making skills.
  2. To assist students in obtaining information about themselves.
  3. To assist and support students in crisis.
  4. To assist in making the educational process more personal, giving individual help to each student in accordance with needs.
  5. To assist students and their parents or guardians in being knowledgeable about careers in relation to their interest, aptitudes, abilities and corresponding educational requirements.
  6. To assist students in establishing career and educational goals.
  7. To assist students in accepting increasing responsibilities for their actions and welfare.
  8. To assist students in recognizing and meeting their moral and ethical responsibilities.
  9. To assist students in developing skills in interpersonal relations.
  10. To assist students and staff in the school’s behavior management program. 

Guidance/Counseling Responsibilities

Counselors (CDS) have a primary responsibility for individual and group counseling, student appraisal, interpretation of tests and records, educational and occupational planning, referral to agencies, research, follow-up and placement in accordance with District program goals and school guidance plans.


Responsibility to Students

1.  Supporting Student Development

School Counselors:

  1. Have a primary obligation to students, who are to be treated with dignity and respect as unique individuals.

  2. Support student academic, career and social/emotional needs and encourage each student’s maximum development.
  3. Provide effective, responsive interventions to address student needs.
  4. Provide counseling to students in crisis situations and support students and their families or guardians in obtaining outside services if the student needs long-term clinical counseling.
  5. Respect students’ and families’ values, beliefs, sexual orientation, gender, identification/expression and cultural background and exercise great care to avoid imposing personal beliefs or values rooted in one’s religion, culture or ethnicity.
  6. Consider the involvement of support networks, wraparound services and educational teams needed to best serve students.
  7. Are knowledgeable of laws, regulations and policies affecting students and families and strive to protect and inform students and families regarding their rights.

2.  Academic and Career Planning

School counselors:

  1. Collaborate with administration, teachers and families to create a culture of postsecondary readiness.
  2. Provide and advocate for individual student’s postsecondary college and career awareness, and postsecondary planning and decision making.
  3. Provide opportunities for all students to develop the mindsets and behaviors necessary to learn work related skills, resilience, perseverance, an understanding of lifelong learning as a part of long-term career success, a positive attitude toward learning and a strong work ethic.
  4. Collaborate with parents or guardians to promote and enhance the learning process for their student(s) and include them whenever possible or appropriate in their student’s post secondary planning and decision making.

3.  Evaluation, Assessment and Interpretation

School Counselors:

  1. Adhere to all professional standards when selecting, administering and interpreting assessment measures and only utilize assessment measures that are within the scope of practice for school counselors and for which they are licensed, certified and competent.  
  2. Are mindful of confidentiality guidelines when utilizing paper or electronic evaluative or assessment instruments and programs.
  3. Consider the student’s developmental age, language skills and level of competence when determining the appropriateness of an assessment.
  4. Provide interpretation of the nature, purposes, results and potential impact of assessment/evaluation measures in language the students and parent/guardians can understand.
  5. Monitor the use of assessment results and interpretations and take reasonable steps to prevent others from misusing the information.

4.  Appropriate Referrals and Advocacy

School Counselors:

  1. Collaborate with all relevant stakeholders, including students, educators and parents or guardians when student assistance is needed, including the identification of early warning signs of student distress.
  2. Provide a list of resources for outside agencies and resources in the community to student(s) and parents or guardians when students need or request additional support.
  3. Connect students with services provided through the District and community agencies and remain aware of state and federal laws and District policies related to students with special needs, including limits to confidentiality and notification to authorities as appropriate.
  4. Refrain from referring students based solely on the school counselor’s personal beliefs or values rooted in one’s religion, culture, ethnicity or personal worldview. School counselors maintain the highest respect for student diversity.  School counselors should pursue additional training and supervision in areas where they are at risk of imposing their values on students. School counselors do not impose their values on students and/or families when making referrals to outside resources for student and/or family support.
  5. Attempt to establish a collaborative relationship with outside service providers to best serve students.  Request a release of information signed by the parent or guardian before attempting to collaborate with a student’s external provider.
  6. Provide internal and external service providers with accurate, objective, meaningful data necessary to adequately evaluate, counsel and assist the student.
  7. Ensure there is not a conflict of interest in providing referral resources. School counselors do not refer or accept a referral to counsel a student from their school if they also work in a private counseling practice.

5.  Student Records

School Counselors:

  1. Abide by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which defines who has access to students’ educational records and allow parents or guardians the right to review and challenge perceived inaccuracies in their child’s records.
  2. Advocate for the ethical use of student data and records and inform administration of unauthorized attempts to access student records or other inappropriate or harmful practices with respect to student records.
  3. Recognize that working files and case notes are student educational records and can be examined by students, parents and guardians or subpoenaed.
  4. Recognize that electronic communications with school officials regarding individual students, even without using student names, are likely to create student records that must be addressed in accordance with FERPA and IDEA confidentiality regulations.

6.  At-Risk Populations

School Counselors:

  1. Strive to contribute to a safe, respectful, nondiscriminatory school environment in which all members of the school community demonstrate respect and civility.
  2. Advocate for and collaborate with students to ensure students remain safe at home and at school.
  3. Exercise a high standard of care in determining what information to share with parents or guardians and when the release of information to families could create an unsafe environment for students.
  4. Understand students have the right to be treated in a manner consistent with their gender identity and to be free from any form of discipline, harassment or discrimination based on their gender identity or gender expression.
  5. Advocate for a free, appropriate public education for all youth, in which students are not stigmatized or isolated based on their housing status, disability, foster care, special education status, mental health or any other exceptionality or special need.

7.  Serious and Foreseeable Harm to Self and Others

School Counselors:

  1. Support student and then inform parents or guardians and/or appropriate authorities when a student poses a serious and foreseeable risk of harm to self or others. When feasible, this is to be done after careful deliberation and consultation with administrative staff and other appropriate professionals.
  2. Use risk assessments with caution. If risk assessments are used by the school counselor to determine the possibility that a student may harm himself, herself or others, then an intervention plan should be developed in conjunction with the assessment. When reporting risk-assessment results to parents, guardians or authorities, school counselors should not negate the risk of harm even if the assessment reveals a low risk as students may minimize risk to avoid further scrutiny and/or parental notification. School counselors should report risk assessment results to parents to underscore the need to act on behalf of a child the school counselor believes is at risk for further harm to self or others. Risk assessments results should not be given to assure parents or guardians that their child is not at risk, which is something a school counselor cannot know with certainty.
  3. Do not release a student who, in the professional judgment of the school counselor, poses a danger to self or others until the student has proper and necessary support. If parents or guardians will not provide proper support, the school counselor should take necessary steps to underscore to parents or guardians the necessity to seek help and when appropriate report the situation to child to protective services.
  4. Report to parents or guardians and/or appropriate authorities when a student discloses a previously perpetrated act or a presently contemplated act that poses a current threat to their physical or mental well-being or that of others. This threat may include, but is not limited to, physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, dating violence, bullying or sexual harassment.

8.  Bullying, Harassment and Child Abuse

School Counselors:

  1. Are knowledgeable about current state laws and their school system’s procedures for reporting child abuse and neglect and methods to advocate for students’ physical and emotional safety following abuse/neglect reports.
  2. Develop and maintain the expertise to recognize the signs and indicators of abuse and neglect. Encourage training to enable students and staff to have the knowledge and skills needed to recognize the signs of abuse and neglect and to whom they should report suspected abuse or neglect.
  3. Recognize that they are mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse and report their suspicions to law enforcement or child protective services then follow up with reports to the administration.
  4. Take reasonable precautions to protect the privacy of the student for whom abuse or neglect is suspected when alerting the proper authorities.   
  5. Report to the administration reported or suspected incidents of bullying, dating violence and sexual harassment.
  6. Provide services to victims and perpetrators of physical or mental violence, as appropriate. Counselors should participate as an advocate for the victim in developing a safety plan and reasonable accommodations to avoid further exposure to the perpetrator.

Responsibilities to Parents or Guardians and the School  

1.  Responsibilities to Parents or Guardians

School Counselors:

  1. Recognize that providing services to minors in a school setting requires school counselors to collaborate with students’ parents or guardians as appropriate.
  2. Respect the rights and responsibilities of parents or guardians and, as appropriate, establish a collaborative relationship with parents or guardians to facilitate students’ maximum development. 
  3. Adhere to laws, local guidelines and ethical practice when assisting parents or guardians experiencing family difficulties that interfere with the student’s welfare or ability to learn.
  4. Are culturally competent and sensitive to diversity among families. Recognize that all parents, custodial and noncustodial, are vested with certain rights and responsibilities for their children’s education and well-being.
  5. Inform parents or guardians of the mission of the school counseling program and program standards in academic, career and social/emotional domains that promote and enhance the learning process for all students.
  6. Inform parents or guardians of the confidential nature of the school counseling relationship between the school counselor and students. 
  7. Respect the confidentiality of parents or guardians as appropriate and in accordance with the student’s best interests.
  8. Provide parents or guardians with accurate, comprehensive and relevant information in an objective and caring manner, as is appropriate and consistent with school counselor’s ethical and legal responsibilities to the student and parent or guardian.
  9. In cases of divorce or separation, follow the directions and stipulations of the legal documentation concerning the rights of the parents with respect to their children’s education. School counselors avoid supporting one parent over another.

2.  Responsibilities to the School

  1. Develop and maintain professional relationships and systems of communication with faculty, staff and administrators to support students.
  2. Assist in designing and delivering comprehensive school counseling program that is integral to the school’s academic mission; driven by student data; based on standards for student  academic, career and social/emotional development; and promote and enhance the learning process for all students.
  3. Collaborate with appropriate officials to remove barriers that may impede the effectiveness of the school counseling program.
  4. Provide support, consultation and mentoring to school staff in need of assistance with student issues.
  5. Inform appropriate administrators, in accordance with school board policy, of conditions that may be potentially disruptive or damaging to the school’s mission, personnel and property while honoring the confidentiality between the student and the school counselor to the extent feasible, consistent with applicable law and policy.
  6. Promote cultural competence among faculty, staff and administration to help create a safer more inclusive school environment.
  7. Adhere to educational/psychological research practices, confidentiality safeguards, security practices and school district policies when conducting research.
  8. Collaborate with other professionals such as special educators, school nurses, school social works, school psychologists, college counselors/admission officers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists and administrators to support student needs. 
  9. Work responsibly to remedy work environments that do not reflect the profession’s ethics.

Legal Reference(s)

ORS 40.245
ORS 326.565
ORS 326.575
ORS 336.187
OAR 481-022-1510
OAR 581-021-0046 (7)
OAR 581-022-0606
OAR 581-022-0610
OAR 581-022-1020

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. Section 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99 (2000).
Protection of Pupil Rights, 20 U.S.C. section 1232h; 34 CFR Part 98 (2000).

Cross Reference(s)

IJA – Confidentiality in Counseling