National School Counseling Week is February 1-5, with this year’s theme being “School Counseling: The Recipe for Success”. The week is designed to help bring public awareness and focus to the unique contribution that Professional School Counselors make to children and youth in school systems all across America.

According to the American School Counselor Association, it is during this week that highlights “the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career”. This special week is set aside to honor those Professional School Counselors who have implemented comprehensive school counseling programs in their school districts. Professional School Counselors play such a vital role in assisting students to meet the challenges they face in our 21st century, that this is a small way to be able to give them thanks for their efforts and to pay tribute to the great work they are doing in our area’s school districts for all students.

Although the profession of School Counseling has been around for more than a hundred years, the role of the counselor in schools has changed tremendously throughout time. The old title that was used in years past was referred to as a “Guidance Counselor”, which was the title I proudly assumed when I first came into the profession in the early 80’s. In the 90’s, a shift began in the role of the work School Counselors did in the school setting; therefore, the American School Counselor Association recommended using “Professional School Counselor” instead. The guidance component is only one part of the role of the School Counselor today, thereby resulting in the broadened title to include all aspects of meeting students’ needs from social/emotional to academics to careers.

How many of you have been impacted by or have been the benefactor of the work that a Professional School Counselor had on your life? If you have been one of the fortunate ones who have experienced their impact first hand, you know how long lasting those effects can be. Please join me in celebrating one of our most important professions in school systems today—the Professional School Counselor. They truly do give new meaning to being the “recipe for success with our students."

— Dr. Becky Brannock is a professor and school counseling program director in the department of Psychology and Counseling at Pittsburg State University.