Tempe Elementary School District Celebrates Our Counselors During National School Counseling Week
National School Counseling Week was February 3–7. The week highlighted the unique contribution of school counselors within the school system, and the impact they can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career.
This school year, Tempe Elementary School District ensured a school counselor position is at each school, including two at the middle school level.
“It’s important to us as a district to ensure that all of our students are supported and have resources available to succeed in all areas of life. Our school counselors do an amazing job of addressing the social and emotional needs of students through school-wide positive behavior supports, individual and small group counseling, risk assessments, crisis response and so much more. We are proud of the work each counselor does to support our schools,” said Jennifer Ostrom, Behavior, Social & Health Coordinator.
Jaime Panzer, Frank Elementary School Counselor, shared that she loves her job because she enjoys seeing students succeed with the tools that she can provide them with.
“Nothing is better than a student coming back and telling me how much I helped them,” Panzer said.
For Panzer, it was seeing a friend struggle in middle school that motivated her to pursue counseling.
“My best friend was constantly getting picked on and having problems and I was there for her through it all,” said Panzer. “She was the one that told me that I should become a school counselor back then, and as I explored what I wanted to do, it was always the one career that I was drawn to. It combines all the things I love into one amazing and rewarding job!”
Tempe Elementary also added the role of Youth Mental Health First Aid Trainers (YMHFA) this school year. Panzer and fellow Hudson Elementary Counselor Erin Sinnema attended training to become an expert in the area, and now are trainers for the District.
“Just like we have first aid for cuts and bruises, we also have a youth mental health first aid to teach others how to respond if they suspect a mental health crisis,” said Panzer. “Often times teachers and other school staff will come to ask for help on what to do with a student, and this program gives them the tools on how they can help students first hand or anyone they suspect might be going through a crisis.”
Panzer hopes more teachers become trained in this area, as they are often the first to notice a change in students, and can make a big difference in getting that student help.
“Ms. Panzer keeps her finger on the pulse of the needs of every student and staff member at Frank Elementary,” said Frank Principal Martha Jacobo-Smith. “She makes frequent home visits to support students and families in need, and everyone knows they need only ask, and ‘Ms. Panzer will take care of it.’ She always has a kind word for everyone, and she works to make everyone feel at home at Frank!”
Panzer shared that there are so many little successes throughout the day, but the biggest success in her book is when her students no longer need her. Whether they are seeing her for behavior/peer problems, it always feels good to see them thrive in what they were taught and feel confident to fly on their own.
“My students inspire me to keep moving forward. I see and hear what they go through and still they persist. It reminds me to be grateful for every moment I have with the ones that I love.”
School counselors consistently go above and beyond to work with teachers and other educators to provide an educational system where students can realize their potential and set healthy aspirations for themselves. Thank you to each school counselor for their work and dedication to help all students succeed in school and in life!