National School Counseling Week
February 1-5, 2016
Congratulations to Amber Shepherd-Thompson on being named High School Counselor of the Year for Pinellas County Schools!!!
School Counseling: The Recipe for Success
GUIDANCE COUNSELOR VS SCHOOL COUNSELOR
What is the difference? A Guidance Counselor is a term from the dark ages of school counseling. A Guidance Counselor is a person who had little training in the role of a counselor. Decades ago counselors were introduced into schools to assist students with occupation/vocational choices, college preparatory support, and high school course selection. They were teachers that simply took a few extra classes and were then called "Guidance Counselors". Much has changed over the decades in the field of counseling. The modern day School Counselor is certified/licensed educator with a minimum of a master's degree in school counseling making them uniquely qualified to address all students' academic, personal/social and career development needs by designing, implementing, evaluating and enhancing a comprehensive school counseling program that promotes and enhances student success. School Counselors teach, counsel, and advocate. School Counselors also have local, state (Florida School Counselor Association - FSCA), and national professional organizations (The American School Counselor Association - ASCA) that support us professionally and legislatively and standards we are required to follow. ASCA recommends a 250 student per counselor ratio but of course we have a much higher ratio of 500 or more per counselor. School Counselors follow ethical guidelines in all the work we do. One of the biggest ethical considerations School Counselors must abide by is confidentiality. School Counselors must respect the privacy of the students and families served, while sharing what others "need to know" in order to best help our students.
School Counselors must be able to handle a wide variety of counseling issues, from college and career counseling, suicide and ideation, grief and loss, LGBT, cutting, absenteeism, social skills, relational aggression, technology, academic, giftedness, special education, group dynamics, and family relationships. School Counselors also develop a comprehensive school counseling program that focuses on 3 domains set forth by ASCA. Those skill sets include Personal/Academic Development, Career and Decision-Making Skills and Interpersonal Skills. Professional School Counselors develop lesson plans aligned to the Florida School Counseling Association state standards and present on a wide range of topics. At the high school level, college planning and course selection, are a major focus of the job, but fall within these categories. School counselors are more than someone to change schedules or proctor tests we change lives, we impact students, teachers, the school culture, and if utilized correctly can hugely impact student learning and success as well as improving test scores.
via Carol Miller at http://www.themiddleschoolcounselor.com/
Your School Counseling Team
As a child, my friends were always coming to me to share their secrets and ask my advice. As a teen, I had the opportunity to take a college course my senior year of high school, and I chose an introductory Psychology course, which I loved. I attended The Pennsylvania State University where I majored in Psychology and minored in Human Development and Family Studies. My senior year, I applied to and was accepted to a counseling psychology graduate program at Monmouth University. I studied mental health counseling, and substance and alcohol abuse counseling, while working towards my Masters degree. I interned at two high schools during my graduate program, which is where I fell in love with school counseling. My original plan was to pursue a career as a Student Assistance Counselor in New Jersey, but the jobs are limited and I was not having much luck. I decided to get my guidance certification to open up more job opportunities. In August of 2013, I made a life changing decision to move to Florida to pursue a career as a school counselor. I was interviewed and hired shortly after, at Palm Harbor University High School. I love working with students and helping them to make and achieve their goals. I enjoy golfing, traveling, boating, and kayaking. I have a beagle named Eli and Theo and I will be getting married in May!
I graduated from Long Island University. I worked for 11 years as a middle school counselor in three different states, New York, California, and Georgia. I moved to Florida five years ago and started working at PHU at the high school level.
I have a diverse background spanning 16 years in residential treatment counseling, substance abuse counseling, and elementary, middle and high school counseling. I have worked in Florida, Virginia, and West Virginia. Working with students is my passion. My passion for counseling ignited when I was 18-years-old, sitting on my front porch with my 12-year-old neighbor who broke down crying when she told me she was pregnant. Since then, I strive to help students make positive decisions with their lives even through the most difficult times. I love helping students learn how to believe in themselves, how to make a goal, and work hard to reach their goals and potential. I enjoy building relationships with students and staff to help all students achieve academic and personal success. I am from West Virginia and received my BA in Psychology from West Virginia University and my MA in Counseling from Marshall University.
LETS GO MOUNTAINEERS!!!
After high school, I decided to become a teacher so I attended West Chester University in Pennsylvania where I earned my bachelor’s degree. While teaching elementary school in inner city Philadelphia, I decided to go back to college to become a school counselor. I always admired school counselors and especially always remembered visiting the counselor in Kindergarten. Since then I had always been interested in how they help people. I then attended Widener University in PA and earned a Master degree in School Counseling. Eventually, I moved to New Jersey and began working as a high school counselor. During my 13 year tenure there, I also earned an Educational Specialist degree in Marriage and Family therapy at The College of New Jersey. This degree helped to strengthen my work with families. With my degrees I was able to combine my interest in education with my love of helping people. All of my experiences created a path that led me to where I am today which goes along with my philosophy that people go through different experiences in life that lead them to where they ultimately belong and every experience is a learning opportunity. My advice to students is that although your teenage years can often times prove to be challenging, it’s important to remain determined, focused, flexible, humble, compassionate and positive. Set goals and work to attain them; this practice leads to success. Most of all, dream big - you can do anything that you set your mind to!