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Types of Public School Educational Support

What types of educational support are available in a typical public school outside of classroom instruction?  Here is an overview of some other school services.

The benefits of school do not end with the attention, information, interaction, and training that students receive in the classroom.

School Counselors

Most schools have a counseling or guidance office with staff that perform several functions, depending on whether they are in an elementary, middle, or high school.

  • Counseling/Guidance All levels of schools, both elementary and secondary, offer guidance: counseling for personal and social issues that affect students. Whether the student has a question that directly relates to the school experience,  such as a question about making friends, or is going through a tough personal     situation, such as an illness, or a difficult family situation, such as divorce,     guidance counselors can offer understanding and advice. Guidance counselors may meet with students individually, but they may also create small groups of students who share a common situation (for example, having lost a parent) so that students have an opportunity to interact with peers in a similar situation to their own. Orientation to new school situation (high school for graduating middle schoolers, for example) is also the realm of the school counselor.
  • Academic Advising By the time students get to 8th grade, they face the greater usually face the greater degree of choice that comes with high school, and need to make course decisions that reflect not only their interests and talents and their desire to explore, but the high school's requirements and particular courses that will help them in their next stage after high school—whether it is to be college or career. School counselors can help students plan their high school courses and encourage them to broaden their horizons or limit their appetite, as necessary.
  • College/Career Counseling Whichever direction a student is going in, school counselors can help with the application process. Hints for timing and approaches, suggestions for places that would be a good fit, guidance for tests, and providing transcripts and recommendations are all tasks that counselors do.
Special Education Services

Special education services includes the work of a wide array of professionals whose services are drawn upon as necessary for each particular child's situation and in keeping with the child's Individual Education Program (IEP). The range of support includes:

-special education teachers
-school psychologists
-speech language pathologists
-behavior strategists
-physical therapists
-occupational therapists
-deaf educators and interpreters
-vision specialists
-orientation and mobility specialists
-social services caseworkers
-resource room personnel
-instructional assistants

School Health Services

School nurses identify and treat health issues that arise among students and refer them to appropriate external resources (e.g., their pediatrician) as necessary. School nurses administer medication, provide instruction in general health and disease prevention, and keep school health records for students up to date.

The school's athletic department may employ a trainer, who is certified in sports medicine and can immediately assist students with the types of injuries that may be incurred when practicing or competing.


Schools often offer tutoring services, sometimes in a peer-to-peer situation. There may be subject-specific tutors, or tutors who generally help with a skill across subjects, for instance, a writing tutor.

English as a Second Language/Bilingual Education

Specifically trained personnel are available to assist students whose native language is not English. There are several different approaches to help students gain competency in English in order to pursue their academic goals, the most prominent of which are English as a Second Language (ESL) and Bilingual Education.

Library and Media Services

Librarians care for the school's collection of books, microfiche, periodicals, reference sources, and other media such as filmstrips, movies, recordings, etc. They also assist students in gathering materials to fulfill assignments and direct them to appropriate sources, both among the school's own resources, in the local public library, and in other locations, such as university libraries or state regional libraries.

Source Used for This Article Special Education Dictionary