SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Sylacauga City Schools is honoring school counselors this month in appreciation of the comprehensive services they provide to students in every grade.
The school counseling team is an integral part of the district’s academic mission to prepare graduates who are ready for college, careers, and to be contributing members of the community. Student needs are varied and greater than ever before, and the work of the counselors adds breadth and depth to meeting those needs. The counselors coordinate a wide range of services and programs to support student achievement.
Because of the financial commitment of our local government, Sylacauga City Schools is able to provide six counselors, doubling the number funded by the state – Buffy Roberson (Indian Valley), Tyler Wright (Pinecrest), DeAsia McNeal and Abigail Whitfield (Nichols-Lawson Middle), and Kristin Elliff and Rachel Sherbert (Sylacauga High). Additionally, the district has Intervention Specialist, Wendy Arnold, a career coach, Whitney Murchison, and an in-school therapist partnership with Alta Pointe.
The learning process for students is centered around three domains: academic, career, and social/emotional development. School counselors meet these goals in a variety of ways. Each school has its own advisory program so that every student forms a positive relationship with an educator. The type of program differs from school to school; however, the goal is to provide a support system to remove barriers for equitable learning. The school counselors are the foundation of that support and their main responsibility is to form authentic relationships with students and their families.
Counselors provide personalized support throughout the system. Later this spring, Nichols-Lawson 8th grade parents will have a conference time to meet with the counselors and plan their child’s next four years in high school.
High school counselors work with parents and students to find opportunities for financial assistance for their children’s college education. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) program is an important way to help make a college education possible. In October, counselors provided a series of evening workshops to assist parents with this process, followed by Countdown to College workshops. Parents and students gain valuable assistance from school counselors in navigating these processes.
A new program implemented this year is Face-to-Face, a parent and community forum where tough social issues students face today are discussed. Face-to-Face is designed to help empower parents with information to have open and candid conversations with their children and teens.
The role of school counselors is as varied as the students they serve. The school counselor team at Sylacauga City Schools fulfills its role with great compassion and professionalism, building a foundation for student success.