Dear Empire Union School District families,
We want you to know that we, along with all of the Empire teachers and staff, miss you and your children very much. We look forward to that time when we can all reunite as a school community. As you know, we have launched a Distance Learning plan for the 2020-2021 school year. Preparing to shift from a traditional classroom environment to a new remote and distance learning environment has been an enormous shift for all of us. We are excited to still be available to help you with any specific social/emotional concerns that your child may be having.
All counselors are available at our individual school sites by phone, email, or Parent Square. We will be checking these messages daily during regular school hours and get back to you within 24-48 hours, depending on the volume of messages that we receive. You can find contact information for the counselor at your school site under the meet the counselors tab.
For additional resources on COVID-19 click here.
If you or a family member are having a mental health crisis and are in need of immediate assistance please go to an emergency room, call 911 or check the following websites for additional assistance:
The Empire Union Counseling Team
Empire Union School District Counselors are here to help our students focus on academic achievement, personal/social development, and career exploration to ensure they become productive members of society. Our counseling program supports and promotes classroom instruction, student achievement and overall student success. Our approach is proactive, preventative and utilizes strategies to enhance academic accomplishments, career awareness, conflict resolution, goal setting, resiliency, and positive interpersonal skills. It is our mission to connect students to their learning by assisting them in discovering who they are, what they need to be successful and what skills will assist them in becoming responsible young adults.
The School Counseling Program strives to provide opportunities so that every student will acquire the social-emotional, academic, and career skills to reach their fullest educational potential and successfully manage their lives as healthy, responsible, competent and productive citizens who respect themselves and others.
What are some reasons you would contact a school counselor?
When your student is having difficulty achieving academically.
When family changes interfere with academic progress.
When you want to become more involved in your student's educational and career choices.
When you want to arrange a meeting with several teachers or with both teachers and a counselor.
When you need assistance connecting to resources that would benefit your student.
Will my child miss academic time when they see the school counselor?
While the school counselor makes every effort to protect academic time, it may occur that a student briefly misses academic time to meet with the counselor. School counselors do their very best to prevent the counseling session from being a burden on the student academically.
Will my child be in trouble if he/she visits the school counselor?
No. School Counselors are not disciplinarians. We may meet with a student if they have received a discipline consequence to help create effective behavior change focused on positive, healthy behaviors.
School counselors have specialized training and skills in promoting appropriate student behavior and preventing disruptive student behavior. School counselors maintain nonthreatening relationships with students to best promote student achievement and development and serve as a resource for school personnel in developing individual and school-wide discipline procedures. School counselors should be, by policy, designated as neutral and resourceful consultants, mediators and student advocates. It is not the school counselor’s role to serve as an enforcement agent for the school but rather be a significant contributor to the development of the prevention and intervention programs through which problem behaviors are managed and positive behaviors are nurtured.
Will others know that my child is being seen by the counselor?
School counselors take every precaution to protect the confidentiality of each child that we work with. When it comes to their children meeting with a school counselor, some parents are reluctant to support such a decision. They may fear the child will share “family secrets,” which will then be spread throughout the school. Or they worry that all the teachers in the school will learn of their child’s specific problems and hold it against the student. A student’s right to privacy and confidentiality is the basis for an effective counseling relationship. Confidentiality ensures that school counselors will not share students’ disclosures with others except when the student authorizes it or when there is a clear and present danger to the student and/or to other persons.
If the counselor sees my child, is this on the student's permanent record?
No. No information shared with the counselor is included in the permanent record. Again, information is only shared with others when there is a clear and present danger to the student or other persons.
If my child sees the school counselor, will I be contacted?
Many times parents initiate the referral process and may speak to the counselor before counseling sessions take place with the students. However, parents are not called every time a counselor meets with a child. And, should parents be called in to meet with the school counselor as well, in a collaborative effort to help the student, parents must also realize that confidentiality is the hallmark of a school counselors’ work. When students enter into a counseling relationship with their school counselor, the school counselor will educate the student about the purposes, goals, techniques and rules of procedure under which they may receive counseling.
As counseling with a student progresses, it may become beneficial or necessary for the school counselor to consult and collaborate with parents. Either the parent or the professional school counselor may initiate the collaboration process. It’s the school counselor’s responsibility to reach an agreement with the student about what information to share with the parents unless, of course, there is a clear and imminent danger to the student or others.
While respecting the rights and responsibilities of parents/guardians for their children, the school counselor works to establish a mutual relationship with parents/guardians to maximize a student’s development. In addition, school counselors respect students’ values and beliefs without imposing their own personal values on the situation.
What are the limitations to confidentiality that parents should know about?
The counseling relationship is confidential except as limited by law. A counselor is obligated by law to report any suspected abuse, neglect, or situation in which my child may present a danger to self or others. Although details of your child’s counseling sessions may not be revealed, you are invited to call or make an appointment to discuss other questions or concerns you may have.
Can the school counselor provide therapy?
While school counselors have specific training in regards to mental health issues, they are not intended to function as therapists. The role of school counselors is to assist students in their social-emotional learning and with academic concerns that may interfere with their academic success. School counselors are equipped to serve as liaisons with outside agencies and can consult with families about the steps to take to link to outside therapeutic services.