State Honors HSE Junior High counseling program
The Indiana Gold Star School Counseling Program recently named Hamilton Southeastern Junior High as one of 16 Indiana schools to receive the Indiana Gold Star School Award in 2007. The program, an initiative of the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) with the support of the Indiana Student Achievement Institute (ISAI), aims to raise student performance by improving school counseling. The official award presentation will be at the Indiana School Counselor Association (ISCA) fall conference in Indianapolis on November 2, 2007.
“ Indiana ’s Gold Star Schools demonstrate the intensive work local communities are doing in collaboration with school counselors to remove the barriers to learning so that all students can find success in school,” IDOE School Counselor Consultant Matt Fleck said. “We praise HSE Junior High for understanding the tremendous impact that professional school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for college and a career.”
HSEJH joins a total of 90 Indiana elementary, middle and high schools that have received the Gold Star Award since its inception in 1997. Six years later, IDOE began offering professional development opportunities for schools interested in aligning their counseling program with the Gold Star model. Principal Shari Switzer, Assistant Principal Courtney Scott, Director of Guidance Mary Conway and Counselor Lois Valasek participated in eight video training sessions during the 2006-07 school year to learn how to implement the model.
To ensure that the school counseling initiatives reflect perspectives of the entire school and community, Conway said they created a School Counseling Advisory Council representative of the school community including counselors, teachers, parents, school staff, business representatives, community members, local government officials and administrators. Members included Switzer, Scott, Conway, Valasek, Matt Mayhew, Andy Kremer, Natalie Stoner, Keri Brown, Leah Desserich, Rashell Sink, David Flynn, Art Levine, Steve Bray, Heidi Hollings, Michelle Koppin, Ann MacLaren, Jenny Banks and Natalie Deitsch.
According to Conway , the group met eight times throughout the year to establish a vision, collect student data to determine program priorities, gather school counseling program resource data, establish goals to increase resources, develop student goals and strategies for meeting them and prepare to implement plans in the 2007-2008 school. In addition, they put together a 53-document portfolio of their activities to apply for the Gold Star Award.
“It promotes student success!” said Conway about the process and program. “It allows our school counselors to work SMARTER, thereby allowing us to serve more students and meet more student needs.” It aligns HSEJH’s school counseling program with the Indiana Student Standards for Guidance, America School Counseling Association (ASCA) National Standards, the ASCA National Model and our local school improvement plan for PL 221 and No Child Left Behind.
“The Gold Star School Counseling transformation process has allowed us to build a vision-based and data-driven program for ALL students we serve and makes the individuals providing school counseling services accountable for impacting student achievement,” said Conway. “In addition, it addresses social and personal situations that interfere with student learning and removes barriers to academic achievement. This is probably the most important and exciting thing!”
One example of initiatives to come out of the 2007-2008 goals is the creation of HSEJH’s Student Assistance Program (SAP) team, fondly called the PIT (Panther Intervention Team) Crew. Conway said it focuses on prevention, assessment, intervention and referral for students whose needs aren’t being met by the general education setting. “The PIT Crew is a volunteer group of committed, positive and energized people, who love students and want to make sure no student slips through the cracks. Our SAP program also aligns with Gold Star and PL221,” she said.
For more information, contact Switzer or Conway at (317) 594-4120 or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org