As I met with the Commissioner’s Student Advisory Council March 20, I asked students about their experiences with their school counselors.
Some students discussed how they benefited greatly from the school counselor/student relationship. Others explained that while they appreciated having a school counselor, they felt like genuine relationships weren’t possible because of the many hats that school counselors wear. I spoke about one solution that was implemented last year at Seneca High School (Jefferson County).
Prior to last year, each school counselor at Seneca was asked to stand in one corner of the lunch room for safety purposes. Prior to the start of last school year, Seneca’s counseling team advocated for more lunch duty, but there was a catch. Instead of standing in one corner, the counselors wanted to have a full table that was accessible to every student, every day, in every lunch.
The benefits were immediate! The counselors’ visibility in that cafeteria daily made it predictable for students to know where they could find their school counselor and when. They also were able to see so many more students in every lunch than they used to in the past. As a result, when students looked down, the counselors noticed. When students were sitting by themselves, the counselors noticed. When kids were extraordinarily happy, the counselors noticed.
There is no doubt that the Seneca High School Counselor Corner has saved lives and helped many students. Steal the idea! The Commissioner’s Student Advisory Council genuinely wanted this at their schools.