All About School Counseling Mission Statements and How To Write Them
Mission statements are just as important for your school as they are for any other business—and this is true for your school counseling program as well.
A school counseling mission statement defines the program’s purpose, values, and goal for the future. In short, it is a written statement that determines why your school counseling program exists and how it is different from others in your area.
Your program’s mission statement also fosters a unique belief in your institution as a whole in the staff, students, and parents alike. It makes them proud to be involved in it and inspires them to contribute to what your school counseling program stands for.
Especially today, when school communities are incredibly diverse, it’s paramount to nurture an inclusive and safe school environment, which your school counseling mission statement should reflect.
School Counseling Program Vision Statement—Is It the Same as Mission?
Credit: Matt Hoffman
While a vision statement can be a part of an elaborative mission statement, it’s always the best idea to keep the two separate and write individual statements.
There are significant differences between your mission and vision, and defining each one will make your statements more effective. Here’s a quick overview of what mission and vision statements are and how they are distinct:
|Mission Statement:||Vision Statement:|
|Establishes the purpose of the school counseling program||Emphasizes the goal your school counseling program has for the future|
|Explains how the program helps the school community||Determines how your program will bring about the desired outcome|
|Defines your school’s core values and practices||Gives your students and school staff a promise for a better tomorrow|
Another significant aspect of both mission and vision statements is to showcase that your school program offers more opportunities than those of the other schools in your area—which is crucial for the success of your school.
School Counseling Mission Statement Examples
If you’re new to writing school counseling mission statements, you could benefit from looking at a few examples.
Here’s how Campbell County High School designed its counseling program mission statement:
“The mission of the Campbell County High School Counseling Program is to lead all students to achieve college and/or career readiness standards. The comprehensive school counseling program collaborates with stakeholders to meet students’ developmental needs as identified through needs assessments to deliver interventions using [the] evidence-based program and evolves through data analysis and outcomes. Through the school counseling program, all students will be challenged to explore their passions, interests, and talents leading to increased engagement and continued growth. As a result, all students will be able to identify personal strengths that can be applied to achieve their academic, career, and personal/social goals.”
The Blanche Ely High School example shows mission and visions statements combined into one:
“The Mission of the School Counseling Department at Blanche Ely High School is to provide comprehensive school counseling services to all students within a positive, supportive environment. Our programs are designed to help all students develop and enhance their academic, social/personal, and career abilities in order to become responsible and productive members of society. Counselors are committed to maintaining the individual uniqueness of each student and skillfully use strategic, timely, and personal interventions to maximize educational experiences, enhance the development [of] the human potential, close achievement gaps among high and low performing groups, and support positive life choices.”
The two examples demonstrate that school counseling mission statements:
- Include the school’s name and the program for which they are written
- Consist of approximately 100 words
- State the purpose of the program
- Underline how the program does what it does
School Counseling Mission and Vision Statement Examples
Here, you can find more examples of school counseling mission and vision statements:
Start With a School Counseling Program Vision Statement
Credit: You X Ventures
To create an excellent school counseling mission statement, you first need to have a strong vision for your school or the specific school program—such as a counseling program. Mission statements are all about how you will achieve the goals you share with your school community. You can’t work on those goals or define how you’ll accomplish them if you don’t set them first.
Writing vision statements should also come first because they are shorter and are usually no longer than one sentence. Only after you have defined what you want your school to accomplish with its counseling program can you write a mission statement for it.
Here are some tips for how to create a school counseling vision statement:
- Determine what makes your school unique
- Meet with your school staff and faculty
- Ask your students
What Makes Your School Unique Will Make Your Program Unique
Your school counseling vision statement should reflect the larger goal you have for your school, i.e., your school vision statement itself. To that end, you should first consider how your school differs from others in the state or the neighborhood where it is located.
For example, perhaps you have a multicultural community of staff and students. If so, you will want your counseling program to be open to the challenges the students of other cultures face, and you’ll work consistently to help them feel included. If this is the case, you must emphasize it in your school counseling vision statement.
Another example might be that you want your school culture to be working actively towards fostering gender inclusiveness. Your counseling program will probably play the most important role in that, so your counseling mission statement must embody those core beliefs.
Whatever is unique to your school must find its way into its vision statement and, by extension, into your school counseling program vision statement.
What Do Your Stakeholders Think?
Perhaps you’re starting a new school or are in charge of creating a vision statement for the counseling program of the educational institution you work in. Whichever the case, schools impact all members of their community, so you should not rely on your goals and beliefs only when creating something as important as your vision statement.
In terms of schools, stakeholders can be students, faculty, and other staff members. You should approach all of them with the idea of forming a vision statement together. School counselors will be an integral part of this scenario since they are the ones who will work in your school counseling program.
Arrange a meeting with your school’s teachers and counselors, and ask them:
- What goals they think your school should work towards
- Whether any areas in teaching or administration need to be changed
- What the purpose of your school counseling program should be
If necessary, do a presentation on vision and mission statements for your stakeholders. Go over your school data and relevant literature that exists on the topic of vision statements.
Don’t Exclude Your Students
Students are an integral part of your school’s community. Because of this, make sure you involve them in coming up with your school counseling vision statement.
You will probably never have a school at which everyone has the same vision for it. Still, if you make an effort to include as many people as possible to work on projects like creating a vision statement, it will be that much easier to arrive at a common goal.
You can show your students all of the ideas that the staff and faculty members have already come up with. Ask them what they think about the results, what points they like, and whether they feel something could be improved.
How To Outline a School Counseling Mission Statement
Credit: Georgie Cobbs
When you have a clear and shared vision for the future you want your school counseling program to bring about, you can start working on your mission statement. Mission statements are all about determining how you are going to make something happen. They should also remind everyone in the school community that they have a common goal and care about each other’s well-being, which is crucial for your counseling program.
Don’t rush the process and keep working together with your stakeholders—all of them! Like any other type of serious writing, the work you put into creating your mission statement should begin with thorough planning and outlining.
Here are some tips to have for drafting your school counseling mission statement:
- Put yourself in your readers’ shoes
- Determine what your program brings to the table
- Brainstorm ideas with your colleagues
- Think long-term
What Are Mission Statements For?
Putting yourself into your readers’ perspective is a writing strategy you always need to employ if you want your text to make an impact. A school counseling mission statement should guide you and your school staff in the direction of a shared goal. The additional purpose of mission statements is to draw parents towards enrolling their children in your school.
Think about what parents or teenagers that are just about to enroll in your school would appreciate about your school counseling program, and have in mind to include it into your statement. Primarily, they will want answers to these questions:
- What this school program is about
- Who you envisioned it for
- What it aims to accomplish
- How it works
You’ll want to answer all the listed questions clearly, so make sure to state the name of your program and your school in the first sentence of your statement. Mission statements are usually longer than vision declarations, but that doesn’t mean you should go overboard—be succinct and make your writing to the point.
What Does Your School Counseling Program Bring to the Table?
Just as you wanted to make sure your vision statement emphasized how your school is unique, you’ll want to do the same for the program mission statement. With mission statements, in particular, you have more room to expand on how your school counseling program is different from the ones other schools in the vicinity have.
Perhaps the people who work as school counselors are the ones that make realizing the established vision possible. If so, make sure you include the stakeholders in the mission statement. Emphasize how you value your school staff by showcasing why they are the right people to work with your students on their personal and professional growth.
Brainstorming Is the Way To Go
You’ve already seen how including your school community in creating vision statements matters. You should not stop there! Build on the vision statement you formed with your stakeholders and include them in creating your mission statement.
You can form teams among both teachers and students to come up with ideas for mission statements. You can collect their drafts and share them among the teams to see how many of the ideas match and what are some of the points that might be missing.
Another idea is to collect examples of other school counseling mission statements and compare them. You can also have everyone study the mission statements of successful businesses. Even though companies usually have one mission that dominates all others—making a profit—there are many creative statements you can find. Use them to find the inspiration for your school counseling program.
Here are more examples of school and business mission statements worth checking out:
|School Mission Statements||Business Mission Statements|
|Byron Nelson High School||The Walt Disney Company|
|Berkeley Public Schools||The Coca-Cola Company|
|Thornwood High School||The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)|
Long-Term Solution Is a Better Solution
Mission statements are critical because they determine the long-term goal of your school counseling program. When writing them, you should look at the big picture and include the key values, philosophies, and principles.
You want your mission statement to guide your students and your school faculty in their learning and teaching practices. If you constantly change your goals or the mission statement, that is unlikely to be the case.
That said, you should revisit your school counseling mission statement and update it when there is a genuine need for change. The end of the academic year is a good time to reflect on the progress your school community has made based on the vision statement you had previously set.
How To Write a School Counselor Mission Statement
Credit: You X Ventures
When you know exactly what you are going to include in your school counseling mission statement, you need to get down to work and write it. This part will be much easier if you’ve gone through the strategic planning and brainstorming suggested in the previous entry.
Here are the tips for writing your school counseling mission statement:
- Be as specific as possible
- Watch out for clichéd phrases
- Get as much feedback as you can
- Don’t neglect the visual aspect of your school’s website
Cut All Unnecessary Details Out
Since mission statements should encompass your school counseling program’s core practices and principles, you will undoubtedly want to include them all. Besides, you have certainly come up with a multitude of ideas during your outlining and brainstorming sessions.
Keeping your statement brief will make it memorable and easy to follow.
You can put all your thoughts into your first draft when creating mission statements, but remember to remove unnecessary details during the revision.
Avoid Clichés at All Cost
Mission statements are a perfect place for clichés to creep their way into your writing. While some phrases are unavoidable, you should always build on overused phrases by providing concrete examples for them.
Perhaps you want to include your program’s belief in fostering cultural diversity in your school, which is essential and should be in your mission statement if you plan to execute it. You can add examples of some specific culture projects your school employs to work on this goal.
Get Feedback More Than Once
Once you finish your zero or first draft, have your mission statement team provide feedback on it. Maybe there are some key points that you missed, or you made punctuation errors that escaped your notice. Plus, if you enlisted your stakeholders’ help in planning your statement’s design, you should also include them in the writing process.
It isn’t a bad idea to get feedback twice or even three times before you get to the mission statement you want to upload on your school website or hang in your office.
Your School’s Website Design
Speaking of the website that will be the primary spot people can read your statement on, you should make it stand out. If you’re not savvy about web design, maybe you can hire professional help.
School Counselor Mission Statement—Your Examples
If you have your ideas on approaching the writing of a school counseling mission statement, send them to us. We’ll gladly share your opinions with our readers.
Clearly defined vision and mission are instrumental for shaping a positive school culture, which is why more focus should be devoted to writing your school statements in a way that will honor what they say in practice, not merely on paper.