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School Counseling

School Counseling Programs

HCPS school counselors hold a master’s degree or higher in counseling and a license in school counseling (pre-K through 12) from the Virginia Department of Education. They are uniquely trained as school-based mental health providers to deliver school counseling programs and services to support the academic achievement, social and emotional development, and college- and career-readiness of every student. In addition, school counselors provide mental health awareness, early identification and short-term intervention, as well as crisis and referral services to students and their families.

HCPS’ school counseling program is an essential part of the school division’s total educational program. The primary role of an HCPS school counselor is to deliver key services to students, such as:

School Counseling Curriculum

(Whole-group counseling and activities)

  • Provide regularly scheduled data-informed lessons and activities to provide all students with the knowledge, attitudes and skills appropriate for their developmental level. School counseling curriculum topics are preventative, psychoeducational and driven by student need.
Appraisal and Advisement
  • Assist students in the exploration of their abilities, interests, skills and achievements, as well as their ability to make decisions and develop immediate and long-range goals and plans.

(Individual counseling, small-group counseling and crisis counseling)

  • Provide brief, developmentally appropriate, goal-focused counseling sessions to individual students that address issues related to:
    • Mental health and wellness.
    • Social and emotional development.
    • Achievement.
    • College- and career-readiness.
  • Provide ongoing small-group counseling sessions to students with similar developmental or situational challenges with the goal of improving achievement, attendance, mental health and wellness, and behavioral outcomes.
  • Provide counseling to help individual students navigate critical emergency or crisis situations.
Consultation, Collaboration and Referrals
  • Provide information, insight and recommendations to individuals or teams who can support a student’s needs, or seek information from an expert about a student’s needs.
  • Work with parents, teachers, administrators, school staff members and community stakeholders to:
    • Promote achievement for a specific student.
    • Promote systemic change to address the needs of groups of students, such as underachieving or underrepresented groups of students in the school.
  • Refer students to outside providers and resources as necessary.
The ASCA National Model diamond graphic is a registered trademark of the American School Counselor Association and is reprinted with permission.

HCPS school counseling programs align with the federal “Every Student Succeeds Act,” U.S Department of Education standards, the commonwealth of Virginia’s standards for school counseling programs, the ASCA National Model and the American School Counselor Association’s “Student Standards: Mindsets and Behaviors for Student Success.”

The following HCPS School Counseling Programs currently hold the RAMP (Recognized ASCA Model Programs) designation from the American School Counseling Association:

  • Cashell Donahoe Elementary School
  • Sandston Elementary School
  • Brookland Middle School
  • John Rolfe Middle School
  • Douglas S. Freeman High School

For more information about HCPS school counseling programs, contact Liz Parker, director of school counseling, student support and wellness at