Elementary Resource Counseling Specialist (ERC)

Our schools supports the social-emotional development of your child through our school-based developmental counseling program provided by our Elementary Resource Counseling Specialist (ERC). This program is designed to provide opportunities for students to participate in individual and small group counseling experiences that provide support and skill-building for coping with family stressors, academic struggles, and personal issues.

 

It is not unusual for students to need focused help to strengthen their social-emotional skills in order to be more learning-ready during different times in their childhood. Many children struggle from time to time with a range of family and life circumstances (divorce, loss, moves, stress) that make school more difficult and we are here to offer tools and support. Small group and individual counseling can be an excellent way for students to learn new skills, develop self-confidence, adjust behaviors, and learn to deal with challenges in healthy ways.

Program Overview

The Elementary Resource Counseling Specialist Program provides school based social-emotional and mental health & wellness support at each of our elementary schools. Elementary Resource Counseling Specialists have a post graduate level degree in the area of Social Work, Psychology or Counseling plus extensive training and professional experience in counseling. In addition to providing counseling services for students they also offer a continuum of parent supports.

Counseling services provided

Short-term school based individual and small group counseling for students, crisis response, parent education, resource linkage for families and professional learning for school staff. If students are in need of longer term or more intensive counseling services the Elementary Resource Counseling Specialist can provide parents resources for local counseling agencies or assist them with finding service providers through their medical insurance.

accessing a counseling specialist

Students can be referred to the counselor by their classroom teacher, school nurse, administrator, or other school support staff. They can also be referred by a parent, peer or they can self-refer. Typically school staff will complete a student support referral form and submit it to the counselor. Parents are welcome to refer their child by calling or emailing the school Elementary Resource Counseling Specialist directly. If a student has an immediate concern or is visibly upset at school the classroom teacher or administrator will contact the school counselor to ensure that the student receives immediate support.

assessment process

The Counseling Specialist assesses the needs of students referred to them through a brief assessment process that includes: the opportunity for the student’s classroom teacher and other select staff to provide information around the student’s strengths, background and any concerns, an observation of the student in the classroom and/or at recess and an introductory meeting with the student. The Counseling Specialist then determines what type of support would best meet the needs of the student.

consent for services

To participate in individual counseling or group counseling a consent form must be signed by the parent and submitted to the counselor. Counseling services will not be provided to students without parent consent. Counseling Specialists can attend to a student in need once without consent but ongoing counseling services would require a signed consent form.

CONFIDENTIAL counseling services 

Yes, information shared during counseling is confidential and will not be shared with other school staff. The only exception is if a student shares information regarding their safety or the safety of others. All school staff are mandated reporters and must report anything that falls under “harm to the child or a child wishing to harm themselves or someone else”. Counseling services will never be listed on a student’s transcript or permanent record.

art & play in counseling

Art activities and games are standard practice in the field of elementary counseling and highly encouraged as they help young children to express their thoughts and feelings, as well as, assists with building rapport with the Counseling Specialist.