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School Counselors: Helping Students Dream Big

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

A familiar question that many have heard throughout their adolescent years. As a child, your answer may have been similar to that of Jennifer Reynolds, a Millennium Elementary counselor who wanted to be Spiderman swinging from webs throughout the city and fighting crime. Your response could have correlated to your passion, just as Merdian Middle School counselor Idrissa Binta wanted to own a sports store because of his love for the game. For some, you may not even have known what you wanted to be, just like Betsy Schelien, a Kent-Meridian counselor. Whether your dream was driven by imagination, passion, or yet to be realized, here at KSD, our amazing counselors are available to support our students every step of the way.

Beginning in elementary, the roles and responsibilities of counselors may vary from school to school; however, according to Jennifer, one thing is the same; connecting with students. The majority of Jennifer’s day is spent checking in on them. Requests for Jennifer to speak with students come from parents and staff, but mainly it is the students themselves. She is there to support her students by talking about their feelings, encouraging them, and also helping them to problem solve minor problems. As an elementary school counselor, Jennifer helps to create a strong foundation for students to build their confidence so that it is a smooth transition into middle school.

Students would continue to find social and emotional support from middle school counselors like Idrissa, but they would also be able to take the next step in making their dreams a reality. After asking his students what their goals are, he helps them to build and formulate a path to achieve them. Creating this path includes building a schedule that fits the students’ educational requirements and interests to the best of Idrissa’s ability. He also continues to expand his students’ perspectives by presenting them with opportunities that align with their passions. As a counselor, Idrissa never wants to discourage a student from following their dreams but rather wants them to know that one passion could develop into multiple career paths and for his students to be aware of the possibilities as they enter high school.

When selecting classes in high school, there are a lot to choose from. Thankfully, counselors like Betsy are available to guide and assist in this process. Like in middle school, part of Betsy’s responsibilities as a high school counselor is creating student schedules. Her biggest goal is to get students to graduation and across that stage, but for Betsy, it goes beyond that. For her, she also wants to make sure that students do more than dream. She wants them to know they have to take action, and she’s there to support them. Along with conducting credit checks and creating graduation pathways, Betsy also provides students with information regarding scholarships and job opportunities because she wants her students to succeed in school and life.

It is clear to see that counselors play a vital role within our schools, especially to our students. They are there every step of the way, from helping students to dream big to formulating a plan of action to seeing it come to fruition. The 2023 theme for National School Counseling Week is School Counselors: Helping Students Dream Big, and that is precisely what Jennifer, Idrissa, Betsy, and every single counselor within KSD do daily. So, no matter what students may want to be when they grow up, rest assured they are supported at every level.

Thank you, counselors, for your commitment, dedication, and passion for seeing students succeed.