Career education is an integral aspect of the school counseling program, but educating students on community helpers and their own career interests is just the beginning. Students have the capacity to be contributing community members right now, no matter their grade level. School counselors can walk alongside them as they discover ways they can engage in and contribute to the community. Building school-community engagement not only gives students a window to career options available to them but also leads to positive school outcomes. Schools that link classroom activities to community projects also see dividends in improved school behaviors, reduced suspension rates, improved academic achievement, higher graduation rates, and improved ability to work effectively in a team.
Community engagement can be a school-wide or grade level initiative integrated into the classroom guidance program or tackled on a smaller scale through a service club. This type of project affords counselors the opportunity to create an environment where students have a sense of belonging in the school environment, help students understand the importance of short- and long-term goal setting, take ownership of the project through self-motivation and self-direction, practice working cooperatively in a group, form relationships with adults who support success, and explore character traits such as conservationism, loyalty, leadership, and more. Read More »