GREENVILLE — Next week is National School Counseling Week (NSCW) 2020, which highlights the multiple contributions of school counselors across the United States.
On a local level, while schools celebrate collectively during Teacher Appreciation Week in May, Greenville Schools Superintendent Doug Fries gave a special salute to “all counselors for the jobs they do and the integral part they play in the lives at school.”
Currently, the Greenville School District has five counselors, two at the high school, and three at the K-8 building. Over the past few years, four counselors served area students. However, an additional counselor was added recently, thanks to the support of the Board of Education.
“We really felt like we needed an additional counselor,” said Fries, “to assist kids with a variety of different issues.”
Those issues include not only testing and college preparation but personal concerns and much more.
It is the “more” that NSCW highlights as the unique impact school counselors have in helping students achieve success beyond academics and career plans.
For many, the benefit of counselors is the ability to talk to someone they can trust and who, in turn, can provide assistance where needed. School counselors are available for students struggling with any problem, whether it is mental health, drugs, alcohol, or family-related issues.
The Greenville School District not only has counselors available but contracts with Darke County Recovery and Wellness, in part thanks to House Bill 166, which passed in July 2019. The passage gave Ohio schools $675 million to invest in mental health counseling and after-school programs.
While the district has contracted with Recovery and Wellness in the past, to work with students that are on Individualized Education Programs or IEPs, explained Fries, HB 166 has allowed for continued services to any student. For example, support groups at the high school, which may aid students in any recovery issue.
“Our theory is to provide more services to help people with these issues,” said Fries. He noted the addition of a part-time social worker from Council on Rural Services, thanks to a two-year grant from the Ohio Department of Education, and with some additional funding from United Way.
“We think it is important to work with people that have concerns,” continued Fries and that, “If there is an issue out there, there’s a lot of ways to get help.”
Another area of assistance, one many may overlook, is the district’s school resource officers or SROs.
“That in and of itself, can be another avenue for people to talk,” explained Fries with SROs providing more than just security but crime prevention and education while building a rapport with students.
Overall, National School Counseling Week highlights that all kinds of individuals fill the role of counseling students and that any individual can benefit from counseling.
NSCW is sponsored by the American School Counselor Association with more information available at schoolcounselor.org or on Facebook @AmericanSchoolCounselorAssociation.