Assessing Middle School Students Need for a School Counselor

Michele R. Schmalzel, Siena Heights University

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Abstract:School counselors provide a range of services to students and can be particularly beneficial to middle school students, who are in a period of adjustment and change (Maples et al., 2005). These students may deal with difficulties such as family and or social problems, depression, and bullying. Thirty-five middle school students in a private Catholic school were surveyed to determine their feelings about school counselors. (The school currently does not have a school counselor.) In this study I examined whether students would be interested in having a school counselor available to them and what benefits they believed a school counselor could provide. The students surveyed have little experience with, or knowledge of, school counselors. Results showed the students have an interest in a school counselor and would be willing to see a counselor. Students also demonstrate an awareness that fellow students could benefit from a school counselor. 

Introduction Middle school is a time of great growth and possible turmoil for adolescents, which is why it is important to investigate school systems and how they shape the experiences and learning for students (Maples et al., 2005). The Catholic schools located in a Midwestern town in Michigan recently underwent a restructuring that resulted in a new middle for students in grades 5-8. Previously, there were three separate Catholic elementary schools located within a mile of each other, with each school housing kindergarten through 8th grade. The structure is now closer to that of a traditional middle school, and unfortunately, like many middle schools in the United States, the new middle school does not have a school counselor. The last decade has seen a drop in the number of middle schools with counselors, with only approximately half offering on-site counselors (Slade, 2003). It seems that school counselors would be beneficial, especially in a middle school environment.

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