Redcliff Middle School is embarking on a Comprehensive Guidance and Counselling Program for all students in grades five, six and seven. This is a Department of Education initiative and currently over 100 schools in Nova Scotia are participating in the program.
What is the Comprehensive Guidance and Counselling Program?
This is a program designed to assist the personal, social, educational and career development of students. One goal of Comprehensive Guidance & Counselling is to redefine the purpose of Guidance. Under this initiative it should be viewed as a “program” not simply a “service”. This change in focus should encourage the school, as a whole, to meet the needs of more students. It is a total school program that requires a professionally qualified guidance counsellor for full implementation. The program is advised by a committee consisting of a guidance counsellor, parents, students, teachers, administrators and community members. A Comprehensive Guidance & Counselling Program has defined benefits and outcomes for all students and is developed locally through needs assessments within provincial guidelines.
The Four Main Components of the Comprehensive Guidance and Counselling Program are:
- Guidance Curriculum – Structured experiences presented systematically through classroom and group activities. Examples: the teaching of the Health/PDR curriculum, a special presentation on making wise decisions about drug use.
- Professional Services – Counselling, consulting and coordination of various activities to meet the immediate needs of students. Example: individual or group counselling on various academic, career, social and personal issues.
- Life/Career Planning – Activities which assist students to monitor and manage their own learning and make plans for life and career development. Example: completing an interest inventory.
- Program Management and System Support – Activities which establish, manage and enhance the program. Example: organization of monthly meetings for the advisory committee.
What is a Needs Assessment?
An important component to establishing this program is the design and distribution of a needs assessment. The results of the needs assessment will help the committee establish the Programs goals for the next three years. Parents, students and staff were asked to complete this needs assessment during the 2002-2003 school year. Many needs were identified as important through the needs assessment. The committee realizes that the results of the needs assessment are to only act as a guide and at times the focus of the Program will need to be flexible as the students’ needs vary. So, some examples of identified needs that the Program may focus on are providing more information on establishing healthy relationships, making wise decisions about drug use, preparing for tests, discovering one’s strengths and needs; to name but a few. However, the results of the 2002-2003 needs assessment indicates that parents, students and staff identified three areas of need as top priority. These three areas included helping students to 1) accept responsibility for their actions, with emphasis on learning to ask for help, 2) deal with feelings, particularly stress and anxiety, 3) handle conflict. These are the three identified needs that the Comprehensive Guidance & Counselling Committee will use as a focal point over the next three years as they do their part to help meet student needs. The next step will be to determine the resources required and available to meet these needs. Also, the Program will be evaluated on a regular basis. The Committee is excited about this school-wide Program that can help fulfill the needs of our school community.