An Invaluable Parent and Student Resource: The Middle School Guidance Counselor

Billings, MT (Grassroots Newswire) August 9, 2011 - You might vaguely remember them from your own school days, but since you were a young student, the role of the guidance counselor has evolved a great deal.

"Today’s guidance counselors are highly trained professionals that support students’ academic and personal development," says Jennifer Quinn of the Billings Huntington Learning Center. "At the middle-school level, counselors might assist with anything from scheduling to discipline to personal counseling. They truly are a partner to parents and teachers as they guide students toward one of the most important times in a child’s life: adolescence."

How can parents take advantage of their middle school student’s school guidance counselor? Quinn suggests parents reach out to the guidance counselor in any of the following situations:

Your child needs special education services. Perhaps your child has a learning disability or other learning difficulty, or you are concerned that your child’s problems in school are indicators of such an issue. Talk with the guidance counselor early in the school year - and regularly as the year goes on - to ensure your child receives the help, support, and if necessary, the supplemental education he or she needs.

You have questions about classes. Academic planning is an important part of a guidance counselor’s role, as is getting students ready to enter high school. If you have questions about your child’s classes, course sequence or other related questions, the guidance counselor can help.

Your child’s grades are suffering. If your child’s grades dip, your first phone call should be his or her teacher, but you should also contact the guidance counselor. He or she may be able to get to the root of any friend or personal problems that may be the source of your child’s academic difficulties, and he or she also can collaborate with your child’s teacher to develop a plan of improvement for your child.

You need a referral to a community resource. Guidance counselors typically provide individual and group counseling services for students struggling with personal and family difficulties, peer problems and a wide variety of other issues. However, if needed, they may refer students to a specific type of professional or resource outside of school.

Your child seems unhappy. If your child is having behavioral problems or seems depressed or angry, talk to his or her guidance counselor. He or she can help your child identify and work through many different difficult situations. Your child’s happiness and self-esteem are crucial components to his or her overall school success.

You need help communicating with your child. Guidance counselors work with students day in, day out and have numerous strategies to facilitate better parent-child communication. If you and your child are struggling to get along or experiencing other problems, the guidance counselor can help and can also work to ensure your child’s school performance is not affected by problems at home.

"Middle school is a time of change for young teens, often accompanied with anxiety and stress about many different issues," says Quinn. "Don’t overlook your child’s school guidance counselor, as he or she is a valuable resource with a lot of experience. Together, you and your child’s guidance counselor can support your child through the middle school years and help make his or her experience the best it can be."

To learn more about SAT/ACT prep, contact Jennifer Quinn of Huntington Learning Center of Billings at 406-651-5884 or billingsmt@hlcmail.com.

About Huntington Learning Center

Founded in 1977, Huntington Learning Center is the nation’s longest-running supplemental education services provider.  Today they continue to be an industry leader providing instruction in reading, writing, spelling, phonics, mathematics and study skills as well as SAT and ACT preparation to tens of thousands of students from kindergarten through 12th grade. Huntington prides itself on its unparalleled programs that help parents, caregivers and educators identify the gaps in skills and knowledge that can limit learning potential. Huntington’s personalized programs of instruction enable children to excel. To learn more or to locate a center near you, call 1-800 CAN LEARN.