Blog Spot: School Counselor Appreciation Week 2024 (2024)

We are truly fortunate to have an amazing school counselor team here in Port Jervis. We dedicate this blog to them and the work they do each day in our schools with our students and staff. A department of caring professionals from different backgrounds and with different skill sets, they support our students in schools in so many ways. Here are just nine in the acronym:

C.O.U.N.S.E.L.O.R.

Communicators:Our counselors help bridge the different groups here at school, communicating often with all parties: students, teachers, parents, coaches, support staff, and more. They are effective communicators in all the different avenues: in person, large group setting, email, letter writing, video conferencing, and more.

Open:They are open non-stop-their doors, their minds, their hearts. They are open to solutions and trying creative ways to reach kids; they explore new programs and help our teams be the best they can be. Their ears are open as they model what it really looks like to listen. They are open each day for academic scheduling, college planning, group counseling, hugs, or just a shoulder to cry on.

Understanding:One of the biggest parts of the job! They understand our kids, our staff, and see things from a variety of perspectives. There is no judging, but understanding. They understand the struggles, celebrate the achievements, and help our kids get from A to B by guiding, listening, motivating, and more.

Nurturing: This is the definition of nurture: to care for and encourage the growth or development of. If there was a one-line job description for our counselors, this would be it. From holding their hands as kindergartners to teaching about stranger danger as youngsters to that job placement or college acceptance fist bump, they are there each step of the way nurturing our young people.

Supportive:They support all members of our teams here: adults and kids. They are the bridge. They are the sounding board. They are the conduit. They help put many of the puzzle pieces together all the while supporting the child, the family, the staff, and the school.

Empathetic: If you combined all these attributes of our counselors and came up with just one, would this be it? Empathetic. They show and model empathy in all they do. Their ability to understand the feelings of others and not just their circ*mstances. The counselors have an in-depth knowledge of a child's circ*mstances, family dynamics, academic history, and many other factors impacting the child’s experience here at school. The empathy they model and provide helps the child along the journey. Certainly, some need it more than others, and knowing when to act and when to give space is all part of the job.

Learning: School counselors help in all aspects of the learning process, which is at the top of our job as educators. Some counselors teach, some counsel after reviewing a report card, some walk students to after-school help, and some provide the after-school help. Keeping and ensuring the learning for students is all of our jobs and the counselors are a big part of this.

On-going:All the work they do is ongoing. Their relationships with students and families are ongoing. From one day to the next, the situations they deal with and manage are ongoing. Their professional growth and learning are ongoing. The job is consistently ongoing, even post-graduation.

Responsive:Our last letter of COUNSELOR stands for responsive. Our counselors teach proactivity, yet many situations they deal with are responsive.

E+R=O
Event + Response = Outcome

So many events happen every day at school and after school, and we all want positive outcomes from these situations. It is the response that helps determine that outcome. Our counselors are great at helping students work through responses to the situations that happen all throughout the K-12 journey.

Thank you counselors for all you do for the Port Jervis School community. We appreciate you! #GoPort!

Dawn Jones, ASK School Counselor

Years as a counselor:22 years in Port Jervis Schools.

Most rewarding part of the job:Building relationships with our students and being a positive influence in their lives.

What does Port Pride mean to you?Port Pride is loving the Port Jervis community and being committed to serving it.

Favorite hobby:Spending time with my family and attending sporting events.

Jenn Scannell, HBE School Counselor

Years as a counselor:8 years as a school counselor in Port; 13 years total.

Most rewarding part of the job:The most rewarding part of my job are the connections I make with the students, families, community members, teachers, & staff. My greatest hope is that the connections I make today will have an impact forever.

What is your hope for our PJ students?My hope for our PJ students is for each and every one of them to always believe in themselves, their potential, their ability to dream big and achieve great things, and to always remember, “in a world where you can be anything, be kind.” - Unknown

Favorite hobby: Spending time with my family and friends, reading, writing, listening to podcasts, being active outdoors and all things Broadway!

Anthony Caporale, MS Counselor

Years as a counselor:20 years as a school counselor, all in Port.

Most rewarding part of the job:Helping our students transition to adulthood and getting them ready for HS.

What does Port Pride mean to you?It means being a productive member of Port Jervis Schools and the PJ community. It also means always positively representing my school and community.

Favorite hobby:Love all things fantasy football.

Bethany Harget, MS Counselor

Years as a counselor:16 years all in Port Jervis.

Most rewarding part of the job:Most rewarding part of the job is seeing my students grow and mature into healthy and happy young adults.

What does Port Pride mean to you?Having Pride in the Port Jervis community and working to make it a better place to live, work, and attend school!

Favorite hobby:I love to bake. I also love sports and enjoy watching them. Go Giants!

Julie Balogh, HS Counselor

Years as a counselor:17 years in Port Jervis, 25 years total.

Most rewarding part of the job:The most rewarding part of being a School Counselor for me is when students get inspired by planning their future, "beginning with the end in mind." When teenagers figure out their goals and their "why," sometimes everything else just falls into place.

What is your hope for our students?My hope for all students is that they are loyal to their values, have courage to learn new things, and maintain motivation to pursue their goals.

Favorite hobby:I love to be on the water. Paddleboarding is a favorite hobby of mine.

Laurie Kahmar, HS Counselor

Years as a counselor:17 years in Port.

Most rewarding part of the job:The best part about being a counselor is connecting with students and learning about their interests, passions, and dreams!

What does Port Pride mean to you? Always Work Hard* Be Kind* Have Fun*Give Back

Favorite hobby:I love spending time with family and friends, exercising, and hiking with my dogs.

Cathy Lane, HS Counselor

Years as a counselor:12 years in Port.

Most rewarding part of the job:The most rewarding part of my job is building connections with our students, families, school, and community.

What is your hope for our PJ students?My hope for our PJ students is that they feel supported and cared for at school. I want students to feel the best version of themselves, and to discover their unique abilities and contributions to our PJHS community.

Favorite hobby: I love spending time with family and friends - traveling, live sporting events, concerts, camping, festivals, or any opportunity to gather.

Kate Oldham, HS Counselor and Coordinator of Guidance

Years as a counselor:23 years, all at PJHS.

Most rewarding part of the job:The most rewarding part of being a school counselor is building positive relationships with students and their families and watching students grow and mature from HS freshmen into adulthood.

What is your hope for our PJ students?I hope that our students recognize that they should never doubt their ability to succeed and to also remember that everyone makes mistakes, try to use these opportunities to help you learn and grow!

Interesting fact about me: I am fascinated by astronomy and enjoy stargazing, watching meteor showers, and tracking planets and constellations. I own a telescope and even went to Space Camp and Space Academy!

Chris Stellato, HS Counselor and PJHS Football Offensive Coordinator

Years as a counselor:9 years in Port, 5 years in MA.

Most rewarding part of the job:Service to others.

What does Port Pride mean to you?Opportunity for all*Embrace Hard work*Hold yourself accountable*Maximize-Capitalize-Execute

Interesting fact about me:Believe it or not, I used to have hair!

Want to write a #PortPride blog spot? We want this blog to be written by a variety of people connected to Port Jervis: students, staff, alumni, BOE members, community leaders, and more. Have a recommendation for a person, program, place, or happening that should be written about? Reach out to Mr. Marotta at amarotta@pjschools.org or via phone 845-858-3100 x5534

Blog Spot: School Counselor Appreciation Week 2024 (2024)
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