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DPSCD’s School Counselors’ Skills and Experiences Shine During National School Counseling Week

Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD), along with school districts across the country, are recognizing the vital work of school counselors as part of National School Counseling Week (February 6,-February 10, 2023). One of the foundations of DPSCD’s reform work has been to expand our school counseling program beyond the old model of a high school guidance counselor, who often focused their work on academic monitoring and career and college planning. Instead, DPSCD’s school counselors  encompass K-12th grades with a focus on three areas: academic, social-emotional support  and college/career readiness. Let’s explore some of the key tenants of  the work that our DPSCD school counselors do in these areas to help our students to rise. 

Academic: School counseling cuts across all curricular areas, school counselors are often the only adults that have a holistic picture of the students; therefore, school counselors need to advocate for their students to become successful. -The ASCA National Model: A Framework for School Counseling Programs, Fourth Edition, Alexandria, VA: Author. Conneely, N., Fitzgerald, A., Cook, J., & Vrbka, D. (2009). “School counselors work with teachers to identify behaviors and interventions that can lead to academic success,” said Nicole Carter, Senior Director of DPSCD’s Office of School Counseling (for high schools). “Our number one responsibility is to advocate for our students,” said Carter. 

Social-Emotional: In this critical area, DPSCD school counselors are mental health providers who create programming for character building, self-esteem, and teamwork, as well as support for problem areas such as bullying, anxiety, depression, and grief/loss. Should those difficulties require deeper intervention, DPSCD school counselors can provide small group and individual counseling when needed.  

College/Career Readiness: DPSCD school counselors raise awareness of and provide exposure to post-secondary (after high school) college and career options. Educational Development Plans, also known as EDP’s, are a lynchpin of the work that DPSCD school counselors do for all grade levels. This approach is particularly valuable for 7th-12th graders, who are beginning to identify their aptitudes, needs, abilities and interests. Our school counselors use tools such as visits from expert speakers, field trips as well as classroom guidance lessons that include the use of Xello (pronounced Zello), a platform that not only houses the student’s EDP’s but also has lessons on career and college readiness. Said Donyelle Powell, DPSCD’s Director of School Counseling (K-8), “Our school counselors are the safe space for our students to go with any concern, whether it is with another student, teacher or even at home,” she said. “Our school counselors are the heartbeat of the school building.”  

You can learn more about the history of school counseling by clicking here as well as the roles of today’s school counselors by visiting