AHS Family SEL Newsletter

Let's Get to Know Your Student's School Counselors!

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National School Counseling Week: What Is It?

When I began my role as Director of Counseling and Social Emotional Learning for the district almost 3 years ago, I left behind a 15-year career as a School Psychologist and a School Adjustment Counselor. It was a very bittersweet goodbye as there is honestly nothing that I love more than working directly with students and seeing their social and emotional growth firsthand. I still keep in touch with many of my students and their families and I cannot believe that many of them who I worked with when they were in kindergarten are now in high school.

I am sharing this with you now because this month we celebrate National School Counseling Week and I want to take this opportunity to share with you a little bit about the amazing and truly dedicated School Counselors and School Adjustment Counselor that we are lucky to have at Ashland High School.

What is a School Counselor?

  • School Counselors, previously known as Guidance Counselors, hold a master's degree in school counseling, are certified as school counselors by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education, and uphold the ethical and professional standards of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA).
  • School Counselors help ALL students to apply academic achievement strategies, manage emotions and apply interpersonal skills, and plan for postsecondary options (higher education, military, work force).

Watch this great video to learn about the high school counseling department!

Get to Know Mr. McGann

Mr. McGann became a School Counselor because he wanted to help kids in a variety of aspects in their lives and found that he could connect with them in a powerful way in this role. He has been a School Counselor for 12 years and has worked in Ashland for 9 years. Mr. McGann's favorite part of the job is being a problem solver and the variety of things that he gets to do. Mr. McGann loves to take college tours and he took one in Fairbanks, Alaska in November; he says it was really, really cold!

Get to Know Mrs. McMahon

Mrs. McMahon became a School Counselor because she was had a passion for working with adolescents and helping them to navigate the 21st century. She has worked as a School Counselor for 18 years and has spent 15 years at AHS. Her favorite part of the role is developing relationships with students and helping them set goals and work through challenges. Mrs. McMahon is also a best-selling author of Young Adult fiction. Her students inspire her writing and help her to keep it modern. She is currently working on her 19th novel set in a supernatural academy.

Get to Know Mrs. Chase

Mrs. Chase became a School Counselor because she wanted to help kids. She has been in the role for 20 years. Her favorite part of being a School Counselor is the energy of interacting with students. She is the mom to two amazing sons, loves animals and her favorite place is the beach.

Get to Know Ms. Hamilton

Ms. Hamilton has always loved the idea of being a School Counselor. She genuinely enjoys working with students and helping them address their social, emotional, academic and career needs. She believes that all students deserve to have a trusting and accepting adult in the school who they feel comfortable confiding in, and hopes to be that person for many of them. This is Ms. Hamilton's first year as a School Counselor! Ms. Hamilton loves the beach and spends most of her summer on the Cape.

What is a School Adjustment Counselor?

  • School Adjustment Counselors are trained mental health professionals with a master's degree in social work who provide services related to a person's social, emotional and life adjustment to school.
  • School Adjustment Counselors provide direct as well as indirect services to students, families, and school personnel to promote and support students' academic and social success.

Get to Know Mrs. Shiels

Mrs. Shiels became a School Adjustment Counselor because she loved working with kids and wanted to work in a field that allowed her to build relationships and support students as a result. Mrs. Shiels has been a School Adjustment Counselor for 10 years, all of which she has worked at Ashland High School. Her favorite part of this role is being a resource to help students navigate the challenging times but also be by their side as they achieve their own success and realize their strengths they had not seen before. Mrs. Shiels is obsessed with all things Disney and hopes to be a greeter at Disney World when she retires so that she can say, "Welcome to the happiest place on Earth!" all day long.