As Published by the Indiana Department of Education

Indiana Program Standards for School Counseling (Voluntary)

 Download Word Document

Standard 1

Program Foundations

The school counseling program is based on a foundation of beliefs that serve as the guiding principles for the design and management of the school counseling program.


1.1              A vision statement or statement of beliefs serves as the foundation for the school counseling program.

1.2              A mission statement describes the purpose of the school counseling program and supports the school mission statement.

1.3              A rationale statement describes the school counseling program’s benefits to students, parents, teachers, administrators, counselors and community members.

1.4              A school counseling advisory council enables representatives of all stakeholder groups to be involved in the design, evaluation, and improvement of the school counseling program.


Standard 2

Data-Based Accountability

The school counseling program employs a data-based system to provide accountability for a) student improvement in achievement (in conjunction with all other school programs), b) student improvement in targeted student choices, c) student mastery of targeted guidance indicators, and d) student improvement in targeted personal and social areas influencing learning.


2.1              School counselors and the school counseling advisory council analyze student achievement data on an annual basis, including aggregate ISTEP+ data for all students in the building and disaggregate data for groups of students as identified by No Child Left Behind.

2.2              School counselors and the school counseling advisory council set goals for student choices related to learning (e.g., course selection, completing homework on time, resolving conflicts peacefully) and analyze student choice data on an annual basis.

2.3              School counselors and the school counseling advisory council set goals for student mastery of guidance indicators and analyze mastery data on an annual basis.

2.4              School counselors and the school counseling advisory council set goals for student personal and social needs (e.g., drug and/or alcohol use, pregnancy rate, discipline referral rate for fighting) and analyze data on an annual basis.

Standard 3

Student Guidance

The school counseling program helps students master knowledge and skills in the areas of academic, career, and citizenship development to become successful learners, productive workers, and responsible citizens in a global society.


3.1              Student guidance activities are based on a set of age-appropriate and locally-developed guidance standards and indicators in the areas of academic, career, and citizenship development.

3.2              The guidance standards and indicators will help students a) meet the school’s academic goals as defined in the School Improvement Plan, b) make sound choices related to learning, c) make a smooth transition to the next educational level, and d) master content and skills as defined in Indiana rules and regulations related to student guidance.

3.3              Student guidance activities address all of the universal indicators as identified in Indiana Student Standards for Guidance.

3.4              Guidance lessons are facilitated by counselors and others to help students master the guidance indicators.

Standard 4

Student Counseling

The school counseling program helps students overcome personal and social challenges that interfere with learning.


4.1              Student counseling activities include individual and/or group counseling.

4.2              Student counseling activities include consultation with parents, school staff, community members, and agencies.

4.3              The student counseling activities include referrals to both school and community programs and individuals.

    1. School counselors have an understanding of the role they play in the school’s Crisis Response Plan.
    2. School counselors facilitate or participate in the school’s student assistance team.


Standard 5

Student Advocacy

School counselors and the school counseling advisory council advocate for policies, programs, procedures, and practices that support high achievement for all students.


5.1              School counselors advocate to change components of the local educational system that interfere with student learning.

5.2              School counselors participate on the school improvement team and/or provide continuous input and feedback to the School Improvement Team.

5.3              School counselors raise awareness of achievement gaps that exist within the student population.

5.4              School counselors advocate for individual students as appropriate.


Standard 6

Program Management

School counselors provide management activities that support the program’s guidance, counseling, and advocacy initiatives.


6.1              A program self study is conducted periodically to evaluate the design of the school counseling program.

6.2              A school counselor self study is conducted periodically to evaluate the effectiveness of the school counselors.

6.3             School counselors analyze their time-use data on an annual basis.

6.4             A school counseling master calendar exists.

6.5             School counselors network within the school with other counselors, teachers, administrators, and support staff.

6.6             School counselors network in the community by serving on community boards, scheduling information meetings with organizations interested in youth, and/or making presentations to local organizations.

6.7             School counselors follow local, state, and federal rules and regulations related to school counseling such as those found in the Federal Educational Right to Privacy Act.

6.8             School counselors conduct public relations activities through presentations, email, print publications, and/or electronic media.

Standard 7


School counselors maintain professionalism in their practice and disposition.


7.1             All those who have the role/responsibility for school counseling as described in the Indiana School Counselor Standards, regardless of title, hold a valid school counselor license.

7.2             The school counseling program is coordinated by a certified school counselor.

7.3             Job descriptions exist for the school counselor and school counseling coordinator.

7.4             School counselors are members of one or more professional associations.

7.5             School counselors participate in professional development activities annually.

7.6             School counselors use professional networks such as the Indiana Counselor Talk listserv or the Indiana School Counselor Association Online Discussion Board.

7.7             School counselors follow the American School Counselor Association Ethical Standards.

Standard 8


The school counseling program is supported by adequate resources.


8.1              The school counseling program is supported by a budget that is in line with the budgets provided for other departments in the school.  

8.2              School counselors have access to a private work space that promotes confidentiality.

8.3              School counselors and students have access to resources that support mastery of the student indicators in guidance such as print materials, computer hardware and software, and Internet access.

8.4              School counselors seek resources from the community such as grants, in-kind donations, and volunteers.

8.5              School counselors monitor their student to counselor ratio using the following formula:  Number of Students ÷ Total Counselor FTE (adjusted to reflect the percentage of time each counselor spends performing tasks related to school counseling) = Student to Counselor Ratio.

Standard 9

School Counseling Improvement Plan

The school counseling program is continuously improved.


9.1              An annual improvement plan (based on a review of student mastery of the guidance standards data, student choice data, and student achievement data) is created including updated goals, improvement activities, action steps, and professional development plans.