U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issued the following statement today, recognizing National School Counseling Week, Feb. 4-8, 2013.
Every day, caring and dedicated professionals across this country engage in the often unrecognized work of school counseling. This week in particular, I want to recognize these trained educators, who help millions of young people sidestep the roadblocks of life and circumstance to become successful students and, ultimately, reach their full potential.
The role of school counselors is growing increasingly demanding and it continues to change. Not only are counselors charged with finding innovative and effective ways to provide students with academic and career guidance, counselors also are called upon to help support students’ social and emotional wellbeing, which is essential for them to thrive. Particularly in light of recent traumatic events in schools, including the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, this role is more important than ever to create and maintain a healthy school climate and ensure that students feel safe and supported as they learn and grow.
Increasingly, counselors are working in new ways – embracing the importance of data on graduation rates, FAFSA completion, and college enrollment rates to better prepare students to access and persist in higher education. It is this type of work that will help our nation to reach the President’s goal of leading the world in college graduates by 2020.
Last week, I met with counselors who have been honored as finalists in the School Counselor of the Year Award program. These finalists remind us of the extraordinary work that is being led by counselors across the country to address the needs of the whole child.
By collaborating with students, staff, parents and the community, counselors are finding better ways to support children and help their families to access vital academic, mental health and social services. For these efforts, we salute them.