Active parental involvement is found to boost the emotional development and improve the academic performance of the children.
3) What role and responsibilities to you see a school counselor having as an advocate for students facing institutional, systemic and/or interpersonal barriers to learning?
Adolescence is a transitional phase where children pick up social skills and learn how to interact with the society independently. This is also a vulnerable phase in that children begin to make their own choices. Under the demands of the situation it is not uncommon for young students to give in to peer pressure and entertain bad habits. Young children become easy prey to bad elements of the society and hence it is imperative that the counselor has to mould these young minds in a positive manner and in as much as possible strive to eradicate evil habits from entering the learning environment. As human resource personnel, school counselors have immense responsibility in organizing counseling sessions and in implementing new programs that are developed in cooperation with community based agencies. They constitute the main link between teachers, students, therapists and social service agencies for implementing collaborative programs. Counselors have to evaluate each student and as and when required direct the parents and students to the appropriate services.
Reducing truancy is important for success in academics. Given the inter-relatedness of negative indicators such as drug abuse, alcohol consumption, truancy and decline in academic performance counselors have the important task of identifying such evil habits among the students and initiating corrective measures. In the case that such destructive habits are identified in students the counselor must immediately take corrective measures. The counselor holds the responsibility of notifying the concerned parents and referring the affected students to rehabilitation centers.
It is the counselor's responsibility to advise the students on health promoting and prosocial behaviors. Drug awareness programs led by students themselves would be the best way to create awareness about the evils of substance abuse. Results have indicated a huge success for student run programs such as 'Friendly Persuasion', 'Life skills Training', 'Midwestern Prevention Project' etc. . These programs have proved to have reduced drug abuse and delayed the onset of alcohol consumption among school children. [155-158]. Since student managed programs are a proven success formula counselors should implement more programs which involve students in the leadership role. This can be achieved if counselors work closely with teachers, social workers, health care professionals and other community-based groups.
4) Describe the skills necessary for a school counselor to be effective in the collaboration among school staff, parents, students and agencies.
Since availability of resources is limited, for many schools collaboration holds the key to successful project implementation. The school counselor should be an enthusiastic and proactive person who is willing to initiate positive developmental programs. Also, students look towards the Counselor for support and advice and so he/she should possess excellent integrity and good character and should lead by example. An effective counselor is one in whom the students can confide, trust and 'perceive as an ally'.  In other words it is necessary for the counselor to gain the confidence of the students. The counselor should always look for opportunity to involve the students actively in 'environmental programs', 'cultural enrichment programs' and other 'community-based programs' that would focus their energy in a productive way. .
School counselor must be capable of understanding the needs of students at an individual level and also establish good communication with parents. Asides excellent interpersonal skills, which are indispensable, the counselor must also be very cooperative. Cooperative skills are very important as relations with public and private sector agencies are crucial in development as well as implementation of programs sponsored by corporate and community bodies. Willingness to take responsibility and excellent organizational skills are vital qualities in a school counselor. Organizing health initiative programs in collaboration with therapists and health care organizations is part of the counselor's duty. Creating awareness about the ill effects of drug abuse, alcohol consumption and the dangers of unsafe sex are very important and student led campaigns offer the best and effective method of information dissemination. Counselors must be capable of interacting closely with students, parents and other community members to understand the needs of the young people and design programs accordingly .