With a job description that includes everything from providing academic advisement to helping prepare students for college and life after graduation, today's school counselors wear many hats and are an invaluable part of any school community. Increasingly, school counselors are asked to confront challenging situations like systemic bullying or providing support for students have experienced trauma. Along with these larger responsibilities come the documentation and communication requirements that exist for everyone who works in an educational system.
Here are five excellent books to help school counselors make the most of their ability to positively impact the lives of students.
The School Counselor's Book of Lists
Written by Dorothy J. Blum and Tamara E. Davis, The School Counselor's Book of Lists offers a unique and concise format that serves as a definitive go-to reference for a variety of topics affecting school counselors. The book includes detailed lists of requirements and best practices for creating student assessments, tips on setting budgets and running effective meetings, and exhaustive guidelines for preventing and handling crises in school. The book's second edition provides additional tools and resources via lists of websites and other publications for reference. This edition also tackles new topics such as how to support students who have one or more parents deployed with the military.
SOAR Study Skills
Helping students who struggle academically is one of the most important aspects of any school counselor's job. SOAR Study Skills by Susan Kruger is an excellent resource to help your students learn how to study the right way and how to get organized. As a student with learning disabilities herself, the author discovered and developed specific strategies that contributed to her ultimate success in school. She shares the four-step SOAR process for achieving better grades and deeper understanding: Set goals, Organize, Ask questions and Record your progress. Students all along the academic spectrum can benefit from applying these principles.
Schools Where Everyone Belongs
While bullying has been a problem in schools for decades, the millennial generation has seen a redoubling of efforts to prevent these behaviors and their often tragic consequences. School counselors play a pivotal role in implementing prevention plans and helping educate students on ways to effectively respond to bullying in a variety of situations. Schools Where Everyone Belongs by Stan Davis with Julia Davis is full of guidelines, strategies and specific interventions to identify and treat the underlying causes of bullying. Positive disciplinary tactics are introduced along with methods to identify the potential targets of bullying and engage their peers in support roles.
Getting Real: Helping Teens Find Their Future
Not every student is destined for college, and it can be too easy for these students to slip through the cracks after high school. Part of the school counselor's job is to ensure that all students have opportunities for a productive and successful future regardless of their chosen path. In Getting Real: Helping Teens Find Their Future, author Kenneth Gray acknowledges up front that some students have no desire to go to college. However, he reiterates that they still need guidance and a plan for life after graduation. Gray presents effective ways to talk about careers and the realities of the labor market. He also provides statistics to back up his premise that not everyone must earn a college degree to be successful.
College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step
While we've mentioned the number of students who pursue other interests and jobs after high school, the fact remains that many students want to attend college. One of the most thorough and comprehensive guides for the college-bound is College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step by Robin Mamlet and Christine VanDeVelde. The authors have compiled suggestions and insight from over seventy current deans of admission, including SAT and ACT test preparation, how to write compelling essays, and navigating the world of financial aid for tuition.
Along with teachers, school counselors are in a position to impact the lives and futures of their students. Fortunately, there are a number of excellent resources that will assist the committed counselor no matter what challenges and opportunities he or she faces. These five books are a great starting point, but be sure to check out the vast number of resources available at the American School Counseling Association website.