They are experienced professionals with the knowledge and skills to help students deal with stress, plan for success, and handle everything in between. February 6-10 is National School Counseling Week, a time to celebrate the important work school counselors do and the positive impact they have on students in the Cherry Creek School District.
Counselors are on staff in every middle and high school in the district. They work with students throughout their middle and high school years, providing important support in three main areas:
• Academic planning – helping students plan their middle and high school coursework so they can graduate and meet the requirements for whatever they want to pursue first after high school; college, vocational training, the military or the workforce.
• Career exploration – helping students discover and develop the talents and interests that may lead to a challenging and rewarding career.
• Personal/Social support – working in tandem with mental health staff to help students who are struggling with personal or family issues and educating all students about healthy choices and suicide prevention.
“The scope of the work our counselors do on behalf of our students and families cannot be overstated,” said Superintendent Mary Chesley. “They help students transition to and through middle and high school, teach them how to make good choices, handle challenges, and sometimes deal with crisis or tragedy, all while making a plan for success in college or careers.”
Grandview’s Paul Eppard, who has been a counselor for 15 years, says the work is incredibly rewarding.
“I have the best job in the school,” said Eppard. “I get to teach, I get to work with kids individually, work with their families, and work with them for four years so I get to know them really well. That’s pretty awesome!”
In Cherry Creek, counseling programs are data-driven and results-oriented. Counselors use surveys, test scores, graduation rates, college acceptance and attendance rates, and other measures, to ensure students are getting the support they need.
In 2007, the Grandview Counseling Department was the first in the state of Colorado to earn the prestigious “Recognized American School Counselor Model Program” status from the American School Counselors Association.
Individual counselors have also been honored for excellence. Overland’s Chahnuh Fritz and Smoky Hill’s Craig Quintana were named “Counselors of the Month” in September and November respectively, by the Colorado Council on High School and College Relations.