School Counselors Making a Big Impact in Students’ Lives
Across the nation, National School Counseling Week is celebrated February 4-8 to highlight the tremendous impact they have in helping students achieve success in school and in life. Tempe Elementary is proud of our 22 school counselors.
School counselors actively help students examine their abilities, strengths, interests and talents; work in partnership with parents as they encounter the challenges of raising children in today's world; focus on positive ways to enhance students' social/personal, educational and career development; and work with teachers and other educators to provide an educational system where students are safe and can realize their potential and set healthy, realistic, and optimistic aspirations for themselves.
The “Relationships Matter” theme is at the heart of the work that school counselors do.
From developing trust in the important student-to-counselor relationship, to having positive relationships with students’ teachers and students’ parents, counselors believe that having strong relationships and keeping the kids at the center are foundational for helping students be successful.
Get to know a few of our Tempe Elementary counselors, and the role they play in supporting our students.
Vickie Scheufler - School Counselor at Nevitt Elementary
Tell us about what you do.
I teach lessons to classes on topics like empathy, anger, friendship, bullying, and things like that. I have friendship groups in my room, and bring kids in to talk about things going on in their lives. If kids are having certain behavioral issues, I pull them out and try to figure out what’s going on, and try to talk about their life and what’s happening. I help them make a plan to deal with everything. Also, I do intervention teams and I meet with parents to help them with their child.
What do you love best about being a school counselor?
My favorite part is forming a relationship and getting to know all these kids.
I try to make my room fun, so kids can come in and feel comfortable here. Kids come and eat lunch, and they share good things and hard things going on in their lives. Through these lunches and hearing their stories, it has made me realize I need to be seeing them! There is probably so much more out there that’s going on in our kids’ lives that I’m not catching and I'm not helping them cope with. That's why forming relationships with our kids is so important.
Why did you choose counseling?
My first year of teaching, I had kids that would tell me stories about things going on in their lives. And I realized I wanted to have time to talk to them and help them with those kind of things, because kids are dealing with a lot. You hear the stories and I think of their little lives and how much they have to deal with every day, and they have to come to school every day, and many of them are just happy and doing their work.
I want the kids to have skills to be successful, and to know that life does give us lots of bumps along the road. If they can learn to cope with that, and to do well in school and make good choices in their life, they will accomplish their goals. Hard things are going to happen, but if they can learn to cope and carry on and do what they want to do, I think that is the role of the school counselor, and supporting what’s happening in the classroom.
Ann Piedra - School Counselor at Carminati Elementary
What do you do as a school counselor?
School counselors wear lots of hats! We are service providers for students who have counseling as a related service through their IEPs. We provide small group counseling to general students that encompasses various areas of need. We support our teaching staff in facilitating Second Step, our social/emotional education program. We create and support accommodation plans for students who need those plans. We coach students in their classrooms. We teach whole group lessons when teachers request our assistance (variety of topics related to social/emotional growth). We act as LEAs, as directed by our administrators. Many of us are members of the Crisis Response Team that provides service in crisis response to our schools, as needed. This is a snapshot of some of our roles!
Why did you choose this field?
In 1993, I started working with the staff at Holdeman to provide a lunch time "reflection" room. After a few months, I knew I was interested in learning counseling theory and within a few years, I completed my degree.
What do you like best about your job?
There is probably not any one specific thing I like best about my work. I find great fulfillment in watching students discover their passions and helping them to work toward becoming the best versions of themselves. I am working with my second generation of students in TD3. When my former, now grown, students come back to visit, I know I made the right choice for my life, my vocation. I am the luckiest person I know.
Randi Mytro - School Counselor at Meyer Montessori, Tempe Academy of International Studies, Ward Traditional Academy
Tell us about what you do as a school counselor.
My role is unique because I work at Meyer Montessori, Ward Traditional Academy, and Tempe Academy. Middle school issues are different - they can range from anxiety, depression, and grades. In preschool, it’s completely different. What we focus on is friendship, being nice, and using words instead of biting and hitting. It’s a variety, but it keeps my days different. I do social skills groups and check-ins on specific students that teachers recommend need someone to talk to. Kids come to me for relief.
What do you love best about being a school counselor?
The kids make me love my job. The littlest things like photos from kids make my day. Some days can be rough in the issues we deal with, but at the end of the hard day, it’s not a bad day because of the kids.
Why did you choose to become a school counselor?
I got my undergraduate degree in early childhood. Doing student teaching opened my eyes to everything that kids go through. That made me realize that counseling was what I wanted to focus on. As a teacher you can only do so much when you have so many other kids in the classroom with you.