School counseling programs are collaborative efforts benefiting students, parents, teachers, administrators and the overall community. School counseling programs are an integral part of students’ daily educational environment, and school counselors should be partners in student achievement.

As educators who are specially trained in childhood and adolescent development, school counselors can take a leadership role in effecting systemic change in a school. However, this can not be done without the successful collaboration of parents, students, school counselors, administrators, teachers, student services personnel and support staff working together for the benefit of every student.

Counseling Services

  • Large and small group learning units on subjects of benefits to the students at each level.

  • Individual and small group counseling along with personal and crisis counseling.

  • Consult with students, parents, and school personnel concerning interpretation and utilization of available data on student interest, abilities and achievement.

  • Referrals to other professionals in the school district or to agencies and institutions outside of the district as required or requested.

  • Management and research activities, committee work, community outreach, business and industry, visitation, and working with the media to explain the school-counseling program to the community.

  • Assisting the classroom teacher with integrating guidance and character education by providing materials and resources, giving suggestions for integration with other curriculum areas, and presenting model activities to classes.

  • Complying with local, state, and federal legislation and guidelines relative to the collection, dissemination and confidentiality of assessment data and student records.

  • Assisting with the implementation of the school’s testing program.

  • Providing information and guidance to students as they seek information on post-secondary education programs, financial aid opportunities, and how to best prepare for the world of work.

  • Participating in orientation activities for new students and informing all students about the counseling program and opportunities available.

  • Managing time effectively and providing services on schedule.

School Based Mental Health

Buncombe County Schools recognizes the importance of our students’ behavior and emotional wellbeing and the critical role it plays in their academic and social success.  We are pleased to partner with four local mental health agencies who provide, with the permission of the parent or guardian, school based outpatient therapy.  Therapists can meet with students individually or in groups during the school day to address a variety of concerns including anxiety, anger management, grief support, social skills needs, as well as other issues as they arise.  Through our agreements, every school in BCS has access to these services.  Each of our partner agencies accepts Medicaid, NC Health Choice, and a variety of private insurances.  For the uninsured, agencies will work to seek state funding.   Agencies serve schools by district as outlined below:

Enka and Erwin: RHA Health Services, Inc.

Reynolds and North Buncombe: Mahec

Owen District and Roberson: Access Family Services

Additionally, students throughout the school system who need therapy services in Spanish are served by staff from Access Family Services. 

Students for whom school-based therapy or other mental health services have not met their more complex mental health needs may be appropriate for our day treatment program operated in partnership with A Caring Alternative.  This short-term program serves students grades K-5, 6-8, 9-12 with acute behavioral/emotional needs in three classrooms housed within traditional BCS schools.  Students receive both intensive mental health services and academic instruction during the school day.  After completing the program, A Caring Alternative also provides school-based outpatient therapy to assist in the student’s return to his or her base school.

Families interested in accessing any of these services for their student should first contact their school counselor or school social worker.  The school social worker or counselor can provide more information and assist the parent in the referral process to the appropriate services.  Parents and guardians should feel free to also contact the school counselor or social worker for other resources to support their student’s behavioral and emotional health.

For general questions about school based mental health services please contact Dr. Shane Cassida, Director of Student Services, at 828-255-5918 or Shanon Martin, Assistant Director/ Title IX Coordinator, at 828-776-1505.

If specific concerns or complaints arise about services offered or if significant gaps in services occur, please contact Dr. Shane Cassida for assistance.