Counseling Support Programs

 Counseling Support Portal Menu



Office of Counseling Support Programs

The Office of Counseling Support Programs (OCSP) builds the capacity of school counselors, school social workers, and SAPIS counselors in New York City to positively impact students' social-emotional development, academic success, and post-secondary outcomes.  Guided by the standards of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA),the National Association of Social Workers (NASW)New York State Learning Standards, and Common Core Learning Standards, student support services professionals deliver a comprehensive program, which helps all students to be effective learners and contributing members of the school community.

Professional resources for school counselors, school social workers, and SAPIS counselors are available at the Counseling Support Portal.



As of July 1, 2016, the Office of Guidance and School Counseling will be called the Office of Counseling Support Programs. This name better reflects the varied work our office embodies from our SAPIS counselors, social workers, school counselors, LGBT initiatives, the STH and attendance counseling programs, Single Shepherd, and a host of other initiatives we will spearhead. The work of our office is expanding to support more professionals and to reach more students.

For Families - Partnering with the School Counselor

School counselors facilitate comprehensive guidance conferences for students and families to ensure their students' success in school, as well as in their future endeavors. 

Know what to ask for.

Academic supports:

  • Sign up for a NYC Schools Account at your child's school for online access to your child's recent test scores, attendance records, and grades.
  • Ask the school counselor to set up a "contract" or individual learning plan for your child, with goals for academic achievement, rewards and consequences.
  • The contract may include Daily Progress Report forms for each teacher to complete.
  • Ask for a schedule of upcoming Parent Association meetings and parent-teacher conferences.
  • Ask for a report card distribution schedule.
  • Ask for a review of your child's report card, transcript/graduation requirements (high schools only), daily attendance record, and period attendance record (high schools only).
  • Ask for additional advisement with your child's middle school and high school applications. 
  • Ask about setting up a weekly time to connect with your child's school counselor to discuss feedback from teachers, or to review your child's daily and period attendance for the prior week.
  • Ask the school counselor about the possibility of adjustments or supplements to your child's academic program in order to accommodate the needs of your children and family.
  • Ask about receiving missed assignments from teachers, and help your child to complete them.
  • Ask about tutoring programs, and have your child scheduled for tutoring.
  • Inquire about teacher assessments and school evaluations (i.e., initial reviews for special education if appropriate).
  • For students 17 years old and up, please ask for the Know Your Rights-Student Information packet, as well as the Additional Ways to Graduate Directory.

Social Emotional Supports for Academic Success:

  • Ask about providing your child with at-risk school counseling services or a faculty mentor.
  • Find out about available mental health services or click here for the Citywide Mental Health Youth Resource Flyer.
  • Ask your children about their interests. Ask the school counselor about related after-school activities.
  • Ask about youth leadership at the school. 
  • Ask about the school's Respect for All program to address bullying.
  • Ask about guidance strategies to support your child with any behavioral concerns related to the discipline code.  
  • Discuss any concerns that your family may have including pupil transportation, caring for younger siblings, housing, as well as teen pregnancy and parenting.

Career and Post-Secondary Development:

  • Ask how post-secondary planning and career development is facilitated across the grades at your child's school.
  • Ask for your child to take a career interest inventory (i.e., for middle schools and high schools)
  • Ask how college advisement is managed at the school, as well as the timeline for the college application process.
  • Ask how scholarship and other college opportunities are communicated to families.
  • Ask about college visits, college fairs, service learning opportunities, as well as financial aid workshops.
  • Ask the school counselor about any questions you may have related to the military recruitment opt-out or the FAFSA completion project/National Student Clearinghouse opt-out.
  • Ask about teen employment opportunities including the Summer Youth Employment Program, available through the Department of Youth and Community Development.
  • Ask how to obtain working papers.

Role of the School Counselor

School counselors work in collaboration with the entire school community and are committed to the education and whole development of all students. The school counselor is a key "go to" student and staff support services professional.  Services provided by school counselors address the three domains of the ASCA model:

1.  Academic planning --  School counselors work closely with students to plan their course of studies, to support their school performance, to review progress, to set academic goals, as well as to implement academic interventions.  School counselors communicate with families on an on-going basis to provide updates on student achievement and attendance, as well as to recognize successes.

2.  Personal/social development --  School counselors focus on the whole development of students, facilitate social/emotional learning opportunities, connect students to activities and electives based on their interest, build home-school-community alliances, and provide on-going individualized attention to ensure student success.  School counselors facilitate individual and group counseling, as well as crisis intervention counseling as needed. 

3.  Career and post-secondary development--  School counselors help students understand their strengths and talents, and how these abilities can be utilized in various college majors and careers.  School counselors facilitate school-wide activities and guidance lessons related to post-secondary planning.  School counselors aid students in the college admissions process, and all next steps to their secondary education. 

As part of the school's guidance plan, school counselors also facilitate guidance lessons covering each of these domains.  For more information, please see the School Counselor in NYC brochure or visit the Counseling Support Portal.  For specific questions about the guidance program in your child's school, contact the principal, school counselor, or parent coordinator.

Role of the Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention Specialist (SAPIS) Counselor

Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention Specialist (SAPIS) Counselors facilitiate a range of prevention and intervention services in grades K-12. The goals of the program are to:

  • Reduce the prevalence of substance abuse among youth, delay the initiation of substance abuse behavior among youth, decrease the negative health, social, and educational consequences associated with substance abuse.
  • Prevent the escalation of substance abuse behaviors to levels requiring treatment.

Further information is available (here).

Key DOE Links:

Key DOE Partnerships include:

 Important areas of focus for school counselors include: