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Let's hope new 'Super' brings needed improvements

August 7, 2015
Shepherdstown Chronicle

As the new Superintendent of Schools, Bondy Shay Gibson, is settling in and working to finalize some things before school starts in Aug. 16, we strongly encourage her to take a hard look at the role of the guidance counselors in our schools.

As a mother of two high schoolers (and two who have already gone through the system), I know I have made my opinion known previously about the lack of "guidance" our students receive. While I can only factually speak from personal experience, I do spend a lot of time conversing with other parents who agree with my perception that at least the high school guidance counselors leave a bit lacking in their "guidance" of our children.

I have spoken with parents who are frustrated, as well as with students who don't even know who their guidance counselor might be.

Schedules for the upcoming year are available to be picked up next week at Jefferson High. These are handed out by a few support staff folks who are given a stack of alphabetized schedules. Any student who has a question or, heaven help them, needs a change in schedule are told they must report to the class the first day and then try to find time to get to guidance after that.

With this practice, students lose valuable time missing a class they should be enrolled in. They are counted absent from that class. In addition, they must miss lunch to try to get in to someone in guidance.

Once students are enrolled in classes that they had to select the previous year, without any help in their selection other than parents who might be consulted by their child, the hope is that they have managed to select classes they actually need to graduate. Too many times it gets to senior year and students find out then they are missing something. They find out at college application time that things they should have taken, they did not.

All of these issues can be avoided by simply having the counselors actually counsel. Rather than devoting a huge portion of their time to standardized testing (although I know much is state or federal mandate), they should spend the time actually interacting with the students they are there to assist.

We encourage Ms. Gibson to look into the issue of guidance counselors, especially on the high school level, because many students simply slip through the cracks when it comes to things like class scheduling, scholarship availability, etc. Heaven forbid a student actually have a problem they need help with other than those routine topics-our system fails them by not allowing the counselors to guide. In many cases, the counselors never even know the names of the students who come under their alphabetical categories-an unacceptable truth.

 
 
 

 

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