Guidance counselors provide CCA students with support, life skills

CCA guidance counselors provide support services to our students. Learn how our PA cyber school provides these services through our online program.

Learn how cyber schools, like CCA, provide support services to our students.

Guidance counselors wear a multitude of hats. They provide social, academic and emotional support, as well as prepare students for life after graduation.

At traditional brick-and-mortar schools, guidance counselors have in-person conversations with students. However, guidance counselors at cyber schools work with students virtually to provide flexibility that families value.

At each level – elementary, middle and high school – the guidance process looks different, but the goal is the same: focus on academic achievement, social development and, now, career readiness. 

A few years ago, guidance counselors at CCA primarily handled enrollment and scheduling for all students. Today, they have more time to work directly with students and parents in other areas of counseling.  

The change occurred when administration wanted the CCA guidance counselors to be just that – counselors for students. Since the shift, guidance counselors spend more time engaging in one-on-one conversations with students and further develop career- and college-readiness lessons implemented into coursework. 

Starting in elementary school, students are exposed to the endless real-world possibilities. They have the opportunity to hear professionals discuss career opportunities by attending field trips or listening to guest speakers, such as a college admissions counselor, in virtual lessons. 

These opportunities allow students to discover their interests and develop soft skills, such as being polite or learning proper etiquette. 

When Jodie Zangaro, an elementary guidance counselor, joined CCA three years ago, the position did not exist. She created the job based on the needs of the community and tailored it to align with CCA’s standards. 

“I think virtual counseling is very new, and we are on the cutting-edge of designing virtual counseling standards,” Zangaro said. 

How virtual counseling works at CCA 

Elementary career-readiness courses scratch the surface of career exploration. If a student enjoys helping others or using their hands, the goal is to show them how it applies to different careers. This course is supposed to be fun and engaging for the students, even though it is still educational. 

Middle school counselors continue to build off the foundation and delve into the careers available for a student’s interests. Monthly online sessions are offered for students of all ages to speak with their counselor.

High school students heavily consider what they would like to do once they graduate. They are encouraged to explore several options such as: joining the workforce, military or attending a college or trade school. 

Guidance counselors assist with the challenging parts of preparing for students’ futures: interest profilers, informational interviews, resume and cover letter building, and goal setting. Counselors want students to catch a glimpse of what life after graduation will look like. 

Students can try hands-on activities for a particular field they are interested in. Starting in the 2017-18 school year, CCA added career exploration field trips where students saw first-hand what a professional in their desired field does. For those interested in the medical field, an event was held with a group of EMTs where a helicopter was flown in and students were able to take part in a trauma simulation. Students in the Pittsburgh area also were able to observe an open-heart surgery at Allegheny General Hospital. 

While helping students find their interests remains a priority, guidance counselors want them to also carry themselves in a professional manner. 

“Professionalism is huge. That is how to talk on the phone, how to leave a voicemail, how to write an email with a greeting and a signature. I think those things carry a lot of weight in the real world. How to conduct yourself in that way is so important, and these are skills that we want them to have,” high school guidance counselor Kimberly Rogusky said. 

When students graduate from CCA, they will be equipped with everything they need to move on to the next stage of life thanks to our virtual counseling services. 

Author

Commonwealth Charter Academy

Published

March 21, 2018

Category

Cyber Community

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