Sidwell Friends is seeking a PK-4th Grade Learning Counselor for the 2023-24 school year. The Lower School Counselor is a member of the Lower School administrative team and serves a crucial leadership role within the school, working closely with the LS principal, the LS Assistant Principal, and the Learning Specialist, to move the School forward in areas of social-emotional learning, wellness, and equity work. The Counselor provides guidance and support to families and faculty/staff about the social and emotional learning and growth of our children at each developmental level. The Lower School counselor is a highly visible and accessible individual who demonstrates an interest in the “pulse” of Lower School life-- in classrooms, on the recess field and across the division. The role spans both proactive (curriculum development, family programming, etc.) and responsive work (crisis support, short-term student intervention work, etc.), and requires a high level of responsiveness, organization, and communication skills.
The successful candidate should be attuned to equity issues, have a strong background in the social-emotional development of young children and be attuned to the challenges students might experience in these areas, including both the regular challenges of childhood (friendship issues, social skills, conflict resolution, identity development, etc.) as well developmental differences (particularly anxiety, ADHD, autism spectrum, etc.). The counselor should have deep knowledge of a range of testing/screening instruments, be able to read and interpret neuropsychological testing and have some diagnostic expertise. The counselor should also be collaborative and adept at working with families and teachers to support student’s social and emotional growth. They should be a strong communicator, adept at supporting families through difficult conversations. They should also be well versed in the Code of Ethics set forth by the ASCA and APA regarding confidentiality and mandatory reporting. The candidate should have a Master’s or Doctoral Degree in Counseling, Psychology or something comparable. Three to five years of experience counseling in an elementary school is preferred.
Key focus areas for the position include:
Student Work: The Counselor provides direct support for students, including short-term targeted small group work, individual instruction, and in-class observations and support. In consultation with the administration and based on their professional judgment, the counselor establishes a policy for in-house support before recommending referral to outside resources. In collaboration with the academic dean, the counselor also oversees the revision and implementation of the lower school social-emotional curriculum for students in PK-4th grades and leads developmental talks (relating to sexuality and wellness education) beginning in 4th grade.
In addition, the Counselor is closely involved in the student affinity groups, including running a New Student Affinity Group. They work to organize groups in response to dynamics that develop by age, grade level, identity or issue.
Outside Support and Crisis Management: The Counselor is a resource to families, faculty/staff and students who may need additional behavior or emotional support. This includes collaborating with outside therapists, psychiatrists and psychologists to support students and maintaining a comprehensive referral list of mental health resources for families. The counselor also takes the lead when issues of student safety/wellness are raised, including overseeing medical leaves and/or reporting to Child Protective Services. The Counselor keeps the faculty and administration informed about the proper responses to crisis situations as they arise and is trained in conflict resolution, anxiety reduction and parenting/teaching techniques that support the community during difficult times.
Family and Teacher Support and Education The counselor regularly collaborates with the LS Principal and Assistant Principal to offer meaningful parent education programming to families, and to provide ongoing professional development to faculty/staff about children’s development. This may include topics such as classroom management, restorative justice work, parenting challenges and how to effectively handle the emotional, social, psychological and moral issues that arise.
The LS Counselor serves as a resource for teachers to aid with classroom behavioral management, social skill development and emotion regulation skills. The counselor is available to conduct classroom observations, provide feedback and support. As available, the counselor may also work with individual teachers/teams on effective collaboration, problem-solving and communication in their professional lives.
This is a campus-based position and requires working with students and faculty/staff in person. This 11-month staff position begins July 1, 2023
Interested candidates should upload a resume, cover letter, graduate-level transcript, and contact information for three references via our online application.
Master's or Doctoral Degree in Counseling, Psychology or comparable role.
3 - 5 years of experience counseling in an elementary school preferred.
Sidwell Friends School (SFS) is a PK-12, co-educational Quaker day school with campuses in Washington, D.C., and Bethesda, Maryland. Founded in 1883, the School is a nonprofit, tax-exempt institution governed by an independent Board of Trustees.
A Sidwell Friends education aims to help students become the leaders of the future. To that end, the School seeks qualified individuals with the knowledge, skills, and ability to enhance the student experience and strengthen our community.
Sidwell Friends maintains a generous salary and benefits package that supports and rewards our employees while helping them to deepen their professional expertise and grow as individuals.
For teaching positions, a master’s degree and teaching experience in the field are preferred; a bachelor’s degree is required. For staff positions, we seek candidates with relevant experience, a commitment to excellence, and an enthusiasm for being a member of our vibrant and diverse community.