John K. Snelgrove, CAGS
Department Head of Guidance, PreK-8
The Guidance Department is comprised of school psychologists, school adjustment counselors, guidance counselors and bi-lingual counselors. A consulting psychiatrist also provides services to students.
The mission of the Brockton Public Schools Guidance Services Department is to provide a comprehensive and developmental guidance and counseling program that promotes resilience and excellence in education. The program assists students to develop into confident, independent and productive members of our wider community.
Confidentiality is extremely important in the student-counselor relationship. It is vital that the student is informed that material shared in the counseling session remains confidential. It is the counselor's professional responsibility to limit access to personal information to those who have a "need and right to know". In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the confidentiality rights of a student under the age of eighteen reside with the parent or legal guardian.
The goals of our department are formulated to
- help students develop the ability to make carefully considered decisions in personal, social, career and educational matters.
- support parents in developing the understanding and skills necessary to help their children with educational and career choices.
- assist students and parents to widen their range of choices in career and educational alternatives.
- help students, parents, teachers and administrators to deal with problems within the classroom and the wider school environment.
- assist students to strengthen their self-perception so they may better recognize their need for appropriate counseling services, while in school or later in life.
- provide sound clinical practices to serve the mental health needs of the school community.
Another paramount duty of guidance staff is to make sure that students are safe and that their physical and emotional needs are being met. This often entails the filing of a 51A report when child abuse or neglect is suspected. All school personnel are mandated reporters of suspected child abuse under Massachusetts General Laws, C 119, 51A-G. www.doe.mass.edu/educators/51A.html
Guidance Services Department personnel are mandated by the Brockton School Committee to deal with attendance issues. Long-term attendance concerns involving truancy are addressed through the Attendance Office of the Brockton School Department.
The Guidance Services Department is responsible for the interpretation and explanation to parents of both citywide and statewide testing programs. The psychologists within the Guidance Services department are responsible for the administration of individual tests of cognitive ability. Other assessment devices are utilized when necessary to meet the needs of bilingual students. Testing is also conducted for students for whom there are concerns about language impairments. In addition to tests of cognitive ability, school psychologists may also evaluate visual motor skills and emotional and personality factors.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has developed a website entitles "Facts for Families." This is a resource that provides information on various issues that affect children and their families.