Parental Guidance Large
A high-school guidance counselor shares where her job ends and parents’ jobs begin.
It is not uncommon for parents to view guidance counselors as the main form of support and direction for helping their teen figure out life after high school. But according to Jerri Lynn Morrow, the 11th and 12th grade counselor at Pleasant Grove High School in Pleasant Grove, Ala., your teen still needs you to be a part of the process of getting them on the right path. Check out what a guidance counselor really does and what you should be doing too. “It takes a team to educate students,” Morrow said. Make sure you’re a part of that team.
HOW PARENTS CAN HELP
Watch the grades
According to Morrow, the most common question from parents is, “Where can I find scholarship money?” It is important to keep a close eye on your student’s academic progress if you want them to qualify for scholarships. Morrow encourages parents to check online at least once a week to track your student’s attendance and grades.
Talk to the counselor
With so many students, it’s important that you make an appointment, at least yearly, with your child’s counselor to discuss future plans and ensure that their schedule and activities are aligned. Chances are, your teen’s guidance counselor is also open to increased communication. Make the most of it.
Talk to your teen.
Morrow also recommends consistently asking your teen how school was that day to show them that you want to be involved. Regularly talk to them about their interests and what they want to study at college and do with their lives.
Be active at school
Don’t just talk to the counselor; communicate with your teen’s teachers, go to open houses, and do not be afraid to ask questions.
Morrow’s biggest piece of advice? “Start planning for college the day they are born.”
Jerri Lynn’s School Day
Arrive at school
By arriving early, Morrow allows time to talk to students while they are not in class, in hopes of valuing their academic class time. Many parents will come and talk to her while they are dropping their students off.
Daily duties, plus some
Throughout the day, Morrow will work on getting students’ classes scheduled, as well as setting up opportunities for ACT prep. She then meets with teachers, helping them learn about the students, their weaknesses, and how the students can be best assisted. Counselors also work closely with school administration to in order to find better ways to help the teachers and students alike.
It’s not unusual for Morrow to stay after school, continuing to meet with students and parents.
PARENTS BE INVOLVED
Counselors of seniors will occasionally have upset parents because a student did not take a class that was needed for college. One counselor compared this situation to a bank account: “If your bank account becomes overdrawn, you can’t blame the banker - the responsibility is ultimately the account owner.”