The school counselor: advocate; coach; guide; problem-solver; schedule-builder. Each school counselor in Washington State is a professional educator with a school counselor certificate and, in many cases, a graduate degree. These valued professionals are celebrated each day but National School Counselor Appreciation Week gives a special opportunity to say “thank you.” In 2019, we celebrate National School Counselor Appreciation Week February 4th – 8th.
The Ferndale School District invites the community to join in sending gratitude to our school counselors during this special week.
In Ferndale, school counselors can be found in every school building as the district has invested in counselors as part of increased emphasis on social and emotional learning.
“We needed to double down in this area,” says Superintendent Dr. Linda Quinn. “This year we have gone from six school counselors to eleven. We now have counselors at each of our schools and a brand new Social & Emotional Learning Coordinator who does the work of coordinating efforts across the District.”
Dr. Quinn goes on to explain why that increase is important. “A growing body of research confirms what we already know. We need to pay attention to the whole child. Kids can’t master academics effectively if they don’t have a set of foundational skills in self-management, decision-making, and relationship-building. All of us need those things to function in an increasingly complex world.”
That complex world requires students display multiple social emotional skills in addition to traditional academic skillsets. Ferndale School District counselors make it a practice every day to notice kids showing positive and respectful skills both to themselves and each other and give them feedback on how to grow their relationships happier and healthier.
In addition to recognizing positive behavior, school counselors are also pivotal in preventing damaging behaviors such as bullying. This year, every student and family was provided a Bullying Resource guide that outlines the district’s prevention and response to bullying incidents at the elementary level. School counselors emphasize no-tolerance for bullying each school day.
Part of that emphasis is done as a regular part of the elementary classroom curriculum. School counselors work with classroom teachers to teach the Second Step curriculum which is aimed at promoting skills for learning, empathy, emotion management and problem-solving skills.
Problem-solving skills are increasingly important as students become more independent and begin making decisions related to their futures. Counselors at Ferndale High School are the next link in counseling chain.
Lead FHS Counselor Aurora Davis says, “Our high school counselors’ work with students to make sure schedules accomplish credit requirements for graduation and future goals. In addition to our work on student schedules, some may not know that all of our Ferndale High School counselors are available for short-term problem solving sessions with students around social, emotional AND academic struggles.”
Social & Emotional Learning Coordinator Patti Hoelzle is the common thread running throughout. “Our school counselors are an amazing group of professionals. We are so fortunate to have this team on board here in Ferndale. They are leading the way in creating safe and healthy school experiences for all students and in helping students to reach the very best version of their future. I am grateful and I want to send special thanks during this week – National School Counselor Appreciation Week.”
National School Counseling Week 2019, "School Counselors: Providing Lessons for Life," will be celebrated from Feb. 4-8, 2019, to focus public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors within U.S. school systems. National School Counseling Week, sponsored by ASCA, highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career. National School Counseling Week is always celebrated the first full week in February. For more information: https://www.schoolcounselor.org/school-counselors-members/about-asca-(1)/national-school-counseling-week
Monday Photo Feature
Did you know that all of our schools have Positive Behavior programs set up so your students learn in a safe and positive
Our school counselors love to be a part of recognizing all of the amazing behaviors that most of our students are showing on a daily basis.
(Pictured: Horizon counselor Martha Dearstyne showing off their “student store” that students can buy goodies from with their earned tickets for positive behavior)
Tuesday Photo Feature
A big priority in the Ferndale School District this year is on Social-Emotional Learning. The counselors and classroom teachers at every elementary school teach a curriculum called Second Step, aimed at promoting skills for learning, empathy, emotion management and problem-solving skills.
Teaching these skills starting in Kindergarten, students can layer their academic learning and relationships on a solid foundation that will lead to emotional, physical and mental health in the future.
(Pictured: Cascadia counselor Nancy Dale teaching a lesson on perseverance)
Wednesday Photo Feature
The high school counselors do so much more than scheduling.
All of the counselors are available for short-term problem solving sessions with students related to social, emotional and academic assistance.
They are specially trained to show empathy, compassion and empower students in taking steps toward success and overall wellness as high school students….finding that balance can be hard and the counselors are here to help in whatever way they can.
(Pictured: High school counselors Bobby Jones, Aurora Davis, Aimee Bachmeier, and North Moench)
Thursday Photo Feature
All elementary school counselors have been diving deep into bullying prevention at their buildings.
Every student and family was provided a Bullying Resource guide that outlines the district’s prevention and response to bullying incidents within the elementary schools. We want school to be a safe and healthy place for all students to learn and thrive and the school counselors are teaching classroom lessons, responding to incident reports and creating small groups based on data they are collecting from students, families and teachers.
(Pictured: Custer/Central school counselor Caitlin Jacoby)
Friday Photo Feature
School counselors want to be an essential part of the school community by knowing every student personally and being committed to providing prevention and interventions for ALL students.
This means they don’t stay in their offices for very long….you can find them on the playground promoting safety and social skills, in the lunchroom working on conversation and listening skills, and in classrooms promoting grit and growth mindset in academics.
(Pictured: Eagleridge counselor Stephen Wallinger at recess)