School Counselors: A very important part of supporting student success in Metro Schools
Metro Schools counselors have a hand in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career. As part of National School Counseling Week, sponsored by the American School Counseling Association, we're celebrating their contribution to helping every Metro Schools student succeed.
A cornerstone of all MNPS school counseling programs is connecting students with college and career resources to increase their readiness for life beyond their K-12 education.
School Counselor Katrinna Collins does this even at the elementary school level, exposing Haywood Elementary's fourth grade students to career options.
Collins taught a career unit that ensured students knew the difference between a career and a job, that they were able to align their interests with a future career, and each student had a clear understanding of the pathways to reach their dream job.
In the end, the data-driven program showed this fourth grade cohort grew tremendously in their knowledge. Nearly 20 percent more students were able to identify future career goals and 12 percent of students amended their career goals after exposure to a variety of career options presented during the unit, according to Nicole Cobb, executive director of School Counseling for Metro Schools.
"It was very rewarding to see students reach beyond their prior knowledge and exposure, to become excited about setting future career goals. Our goal is to start early igniting the passion for higher education at the Elementary tier,” Collins said.
Ashley and Amanda Schneider, school counselors from Apollo Middle School, implemented a unique career unit for their students that took college and career readiness to the next level. This school counselor driven experience simulated a real-life existence and a glimpse into what each student’s future could look like: a critical piece in creating life-long learners.
After a series of morning meeting activities, (all resources provided by the school counselors), students narrowed down careers they were interested in and honed in on one specific career choice. Then, students documented the education needed to attain those positions and created a monthly budget based on the salary their career would earn them.
In the end, there was an average of 42 percent growth in student’s knowledge of career interests, how to write a check, to balance a check book, to keep a monthly budget, important terms like ‘net’ vs. ‘gross’ pay that they will come across in the real world, and more, according to Cobb.
“I decided to do this activity with my students because college and career readiness is not only an important initiative in our school, but in our district,” Amanda Schneider said. “A huge component of that is financial literacy which this activity directly ties to. We also know that real world-like experiences help our students connect what they’re learning in the classroom to what is important to them personally.”
School counselors often find creative ways to connect with students. This was the case for Cara Stone and the Stratford High school counseling department. With daily updates on crucial information for scholarship and college opportunities, they needed a way to communicate with students, thus the Counselor Corner Cart was born.
Stone and her team created this resource cart to put in the lunchroom at Stratford High. Each day, a different counselor mans the cart so that every student, every day, can access their transcripts, new college information, ACT updates, the latest scholarship opportunities, and more.
“We wanted a way to bring college access opportunities to them on a daily basis, but we needed to find a way to reach our students and not interrupt their critical academic time," Stone said. "Our cart is not only a great way to get them information, but allows us a unique avenue to connect to children every day; a connection that is imperative for their academic success as well.”
With the addition of the Counselor Cart, the number of students asking for more college and academic information has increased dramatically.
Let's celebrate our school counselors for all that they do for Metro Schools!