February is a busy month in the MHS Guidance office. Underclassmen are starting the registration process for next year’s course load, and seniors are getting in their last college application requirements or starting to plan their transition into the workforce. Helping students navigate these tasks is just a fraction of a counselor’s workload.
“School counselors at the high school level were traditionally the people we went to when we wanted to add/drop a course, or they would help us with our college applications,” said MHS Principal Paula Callan. “Now they wear many hats and have to be able to adjust to whatever situation a student presents to them.”
This is true for school counselors at every age level, and each age group has different needs. At MMS the guidance team is on the front lines in the quest to meet students’ social and emotional needs during a particularly challenging time in their lives while helping them prepare for their transition to high school.
“I would say that our school counselors provide a bridge between mental health and academics,” said MMS Principal Mark Hatch. “This is of paramount importance due to where middle schoolers are at developmentally. Our school counselors help students develop skills that help them be successful in the classroom and in life.”
Elementary school counselors are no less indispensable to the students’ school experience and success. Counselors at this level teach classroom lessons on personal and social skills, academic preparation, career education and more. They work with students in small groups or individually, and provide many resources to students, parents, and staff. They must be creative, caring, friendly and observant to meet the needs of younger students.
“ The right person in a school counseling role is essential for establishing and maintaining a positive school environment,” said Belgrade Central Principal Gwen Bacon.
Across our district counselors provide guidance to students experiencing difficulties, facilitate communication between parents and teachers, connect families with outside resources for social service and mental health, and serve as mediators in a variety of situations. They soothe fears, suggest solutions, and help students overcome obstacles to their academic and personal success. Each student comes to them with their own unique set of needs, and these professionals work hard to deliver.
“Every year we have more kids coming to our schools with more serious needs than ever before,” said Superintendent Carl Gartley. “For many students, our district goal of meeting the needs of every student in every school on every day starts with our counselors. We are lucky to have them.”
Reach out to your child’s counselor this week to thank them for all that they do.