GMS Frequently Asked Questions

  • School Counselors

    What Does a School Counselor Do?

    Your children may mention their school counselors, or you may receive newsletters or other information from your children's school counselors, but just what does a school counselor do? Gone are the days of school counselors sitting in their offices handing out college applications or meeting with troublemakers. Today's school counselors are vital members of the education team and provide a wealth of services to help your children achieve academic success. (ASCA, 2013)

    Middle School Students' Developmental Needs

    Middle school is an exciting, yet challenging time for students, their parents and teachers. During this passage from childhood to adolescence, middle school students are characterized by a need to explore a variety of interests, connecting their learning in the classroom to its practical application in life and work; high levels of activity coupled with frequent fatigue due to rapid growth; a search for their own unique identity as they begin turning more frequently to peers rather than parents for ideas and affirmation; extreme sensitivity to the comments from others; and heavy reliance on friends to provide comfort, understanding and approval. (ASCA, 2013)

    Meeting the Challenge

    Middle school counselors are professional educators with a mental health perspective who understand and respond to the challenges presented by today’s diverse student population. Middle school counselors do not work in isolation; rather they are integral to the total educational program. They provide proactive leadership that engages all stakeholders in the delivery of programs and services to help students achieve success in school. Professional school counselors align with the school’s mission to support the academic achievement of all students as they prepare for the ever-changing world of the 21st century. This mission is accomplished through the design, development, implementation and evaluation of a comprehensive, developmental and systematic school counseling program. The ASCA National Standards in the academic, National Model: A Framework For School Counseling Programs, with it’s data driven and results-based focus serves as a guide for today’s school counselor who is uniquely trained to implement this program. (ASCA, 2013)

    Middle School Counselors Implement the Counseling Program by providing:

    School Guidance Curriculum

    • Academic skills support
    • Organizational, study and test-taking skills
    • Education in understanding self and others
    • Coping strategies
    • Peer relationships and effective social skills
    • Communication, problem-solving, decision-making and conflict resolution
    • Career awareness, exploration and planning
    • Substance abuse education
    • Multicultural/diversity awareness

    Individual Student Planning

    • Goal-setting/decision- making
    • Academic planning
    • Career planning
    • Education in understanding of self, including strengths and weaknesses
    • Transition planning

    Responsive Services

    • Individual and small group counseling
    • Individual/family/school crisis intervention
    • Peer facilitation
    • Consultation/collaboration
    • Referrals

    System Support

    • Professional development
    • Consultation, collaboration and teaming
    • Program management and operation

    Middle School Counselors Collaborate With:


    • Parent information night
    • Communication/networking
    • Academic planning programs
    • Parent and family education
    • One-on-one parent conferencing
    • Assessment results interpretation
    • Resource referrals
    • College/career exploration


    • Career portfolio development
    • Assistance with students’ academic plans
    • Classroom guidance activities on study skills, career development, etc.
    • Academic support, learning style assessment and education to help students succeed academically
    • Classroom career speakers
    • At-risk student identification and implementation of interventions to enhance success
    • Parent communication/education


    • School climate
    • Behavioral management plans
    • School-wide needs assessment
    • Student data and results
    • Student assistance team building
    • Leadership


    • Peer education
    • Peer support
    • Academic support
    • School climate
    • Leadership development


    • Job shadowing, service learning
    • Crisis interventions
    • Referrals
    • Parenting classes
    • Support groups
    • Career education

    When should I contact the School Counselor?

    Parents should contact the School Counselor to discuss academic, social/emotional concerns and behavioral issues. School Counselors are available to offer family support, discuss individual student needs and make appropriate referrals to community resources.

    How do I make an appointment with the School Counselor?

    Please call the counseling office at (315) 781-4139 if you would like to set up an appointment with your child's School Counselor.  Students can access the Counseling Office by stopping in during passing time, lunch or before school or by  asking their teacher for a pass. Often teachers will make referrals to the School Counselor and your child will be called out of class for an appointment. It is important to note that School Counselors do not provide discipline and your child will not be penalized for seeking out support.

    School Social Worker

    What does the School Social Worker do?

    The School Social Worker helps to identify and assess family and school situations as well as engages in counseling students whose social or emotional needs affect their academic learning on a consistent basis. For students/families that may need long-term, more intensive counseling services or additional services, the school social worker connects them with the appropriate community resource(s). The school social work role is a vital part of the educational team, working closely with school administrators, school counselors, school psychologists, teachers and pertinent staff to ensure a successful experience for all students. 

    When should I contact the School Social Worker?

    Parents can contact the school social worker with questions about community resources, mental health and substance abuse issues, legal issues and all school-based concerns. 

    What does the School Social Worker do? 

    School Social Workers help STUDENTS by working collaboratively with School Counselors/faculty to:

    • Identify problems and work to find help for them. These problems may include but are not limited to misbehavior in class, problematic peer relationships, alcohol / substance abuse, teen pregnancy or excessive absences
    • Develop effective coping strategies
    • Develop decision making skills
    • Understand themselves and others
    • Improve interpersonal relationships
    • Work through personal matters
    • Utilize school and community resources

    School Social Workers help PARENTS to:

    • Understand and meet their child’s social and emotional needs
    • Participate effectively in their child’s education
    • Utilize school and community resources

    School Social Workers help SCHOOLS to:

    • Understand factors (familial, societal, economic, etc.) that affect students’ abilities to make maximum use of their school experience
    • Utilize their resources to meet the educational, social, and emotional needs of students
    • Promote a safe school environment
    • Connect with resources within the community

    School Social Workers help COMMUNITIES to:

    • Understand school policies, programs, and practices
    • Develop and utilize resources to adequately meet the needs of students and families

    School Psychologist

    School psychologists help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. They collaborate with educators, parents, and other professionals to create safe, healthy, and supportive learning environments that strengthen connections between home, school, and the community for all students.

    What do School Psychologists do?

    School Psychologists Work With Students to:

    • Provide counseling, academic support, and mentoring for those struggling with social, emotional, and behavioral problems
    • Increase achievement by assessing barriers to learning and determining the best instructional strategies to improve learning
    • Promote wellness and resilience by reinforcing communication and social skills, problem solving, anger management, self-regulation, self-determination, and optimism
    • Enhance understanding and acceptance of diverse cultures and backgrounds

    School Psychologists Work With Students and Their Families to:

    • Identify and address learning and behavior problems that interfere with school success
    • Evaluate eligibility for special education services (within a multidisciplinary team)
    • Support students' social, emotional, and behavioral health
    • Work with parents to support the home-school collaboration

    School Psychologists Work With Teachers to:

    • Identify and resolve academic barriers to learning
    • Support progress monitoring systems
    • Research academic and behavioral interventions
    • Support teachers in identifying instructional strategies for student learning styles
    • Create positive classroom environments
    • Consult on mental health and behavioral concerns

    When to Contact the School Psychologist

    • You have concerns with your child’s academic achievement and would like to learn more about assessment testing and the special education process
    • Would like to discuss mental health concerns and tips on how to support your child at home and in the school setting
    • Have questions about Individualized Education Plans (IEP) or 504 Plans
    • Are concerned about your child’s behavior and would like information on Behavior Intervention Plans and Behavioral Contracts