During National School Counseling Week on February 1-5, Cedar Rapids Community School District school counselors were asked to reflect on the impact they have on students, their school, and the system as a whole. Their unique training, expertise, and natural leadership are having an increasingly positive impact, so they have been encouraged to use this week to shine a light on the things they do every day to improve conditions for students, parents, and staff. Here are some of their responses:
"The best part of my job has always been building relationships with students. More than ever, I have been able to be a part of students discovering their strengths and passions through the challenges we have faced this year."
Katie Sorgenfrey, School Counselor, McKinley STEAM Academy
“We finally welcomed students back to Kennedy High School on January 19th, 2021. Because of the pandemic and massive damage to our school caused by the derecho, we had gone 312 days without students in our building. Needless to say, it has been a challenge to support families and connect with students while working from home. We have all had to learn new skills in order to get through this time. Most of us have made more phone calls than any other period of time in our careers. We have relied heavily on Google Meets and Google Hangouts to communicate with students and families. The Kennedy counseling department has continued our postsecondary planning sessions virtually with our juniors. We have pushed out college and career planning videos for students to access at home. We have advertised pertinent events on our webpage and in the announcements. In a time where we have all felt isolated and disconnected, my role as the KHS Black Student Union advisor has remained my most consistent form of student interaction. Their dedication and commitment to meaningful causes has often served to keep me optimistic these many months. The Kennedy BSU has been active throughout this entire ordeal. They were present this spring and summer, marching in the streets and participating in events for social justice. They have been meeting as a group all fall and winter, investing in work for systemic change. They are currently working on creating a video presentation for Black History Month. I often tell them how remarkable they are to continue to push through and come together as a group for the greater good, but they probably don't even know how their energy has kept me going through the last ten months."
Rachel Collins, School Counselor, Kennedy High School
"This school year social-emotional learning is heightened and we have been helping students become more resilient. Our role has included helping with trauma in families from the derecho, and the pandemic."
Patrick Winter, School Counselor, Arthur Elementary School
"I love watching my students grow and evolve into young adults who are ready to change the world!"
Jamie Cummins, School Counselor, Jefferson High School
“I never cease to be amazed by the work of CRCSD school counselors. Their tireless commitment to making sure students, parents, and staff are in a good place to learn and teach, all while caring for themselves during this non-traditional year, is a testament to their unique skills as professional school counselors. From making calls to students to engage them in their remote learning to doing home visits to deliver materials and ensure safety, school counselors in CRCSD, like everyone else, have had to be more innovative, creative, and responsive than ever before. The impact they have is evident in their continuing efforts to ensure the district vision, Every Learner: Future Ready, and the mission of ‘To ensure all learners experience a rigorous and personalized learning experience so they have a plan, a pathway, and a passion for their future becomes a reality for ALL students.’”
Paul Hayes, Future Ready Learning and School Counseling Lead