Worthington Direct would like to thank all of the hard-working student counselors during this National School Counseling Week. They know best how to handle class schedules, college planning and daily student issues. But if you have any questions about school furniture, give the school counselor a break and ask Worthington Direct to counsel. Visit www.worthingtondirect.com today!
National School Counseling Week, which is always the first full week of February, honors school guidance counselors for the importance they play in their students’ academic and personal lives. Each education level, whether it is elementary, middle or high school, requires a certain approach to meeting the needs of the students. Few people outside the school walls fully understand the many different roles and enormous responsibility school counselors shoulder.
Debbie Nerren, the school guidance counselor at G. R. Stuart Elementary, is one such individual. “At the elementary level, we do a variety of things, such as individual and group counseling with children, classroom guidance lessons and projects, character education, career days, behavioral and academic assessments and overseeing TCAP and other standardized testing,” said Nerren.
Students are told at the beginning of the school year they can come to Nerren with problems and she will work with them on an individual level. For group counseling, she addresses issues such as anger management and divorce for students experiencing these situations. With classroom guidance projects, Nerren said this year’s focus is on Second Step. Twice a year, Nerren teaches violence prevention curriculum. The character education covers “the whole gamut” by teaching friendship skills, conflict resolution and other character building lessons. Nerren stresses the most important role a school guidance counselor has is to serve as a liaison between the schools and outside professional agencies the families and students may need. “We have what’s called an S-Team, which is made up of the guidance counselor, the special services teacher, the speech pathologist, the school psychologist, the principal, teacher, literacy coach, parents and the student.
The S-Team basically makes a decision on what is best for the student with his or her particular problem. We come up with a solution based on a behavioral or academic plan. “Anytime a student is referred, we test to see if they qualify for special outside help. We sometimes set families up with learning supplement specialists who are professional counselors,” said Nerren. Nerren said between planning career days and being a part of the S-Team, counselors have a multitude of duties and a tremendous amount of responsibility as educators. “We wear many hats.
Counselors today are called on to help with many things. I believe a counselor does see his or her position as serving teachers, families and students. They are called upon to serve the entire school as best we can. Each one of us would say we love what we do because it is very rewarding,” said Nerren. Luz Lamneck and Tammy Guthrie, counselors at Cleveland Middle Schoo, echoed those sentiments. Lamneck is in her first year as a guidance counselor; she did teach for Hamilton County Schools.
“What I like about being a guidance counselor is the different type of relationship you can have with the kids versus being a teacher. I like to bond with kids. The counseling aspect to me is more personable and involved and not so much about discipline,” said Lamneck. Guthrie, who has worked at Cleveland Middle School since 2001, agrees school guidance counselors “wear many hats.” Continue reading