For students, counselors are a renewed lifeline

During the switch to learning online, many students have felt stressed and in need of extra guidance. However, the resources they need may be a click away. 

McNary High School, Claggett Creek Middle School and Whiteaker Middle School counselors are working hard to help students anyway they can.

The best way for students to get in touch with their counselors is by email, which they can find on all the school websites. They can also set up a call or Zoom conference during office hours.

Even if connection is relatively simple, knowing what to talk about can be harder.

Todd Bobeda, a counselor at McNary High School, encourages juniors and seniors, specifically, to reach out to their assigned guidance counselor about credits, graduation and college and career options. It is also a good idea for freshmen and sophomores to talk about their credits, gpa and social opportunities available.

Bobeda also suggests that students visit the College and Career website for helpful resources. It has scholarship information, career focused sites and Zoom events for students to get the help they need.

Pat Curran, a counselor at Whiteaker Middle School, wants students to consider the four main topics that students talk with counselors about (personal, social, academics and career and community resources).

Even though these are the primary topics, counselors at all three schools want students to know that they can talk about anything. 

“We are here to listen and help with any and all topics,” said Curran.

Renee Hanson, another counselor at Whiteaker Middle School, has recognized that the common theme in topics for students this year has been stress, missing friends and coping skills. The idea of doing school virtually is still fairly new for a lot of students and staff, which makes things difficult.

Although the switch to distance learning has not been easy, counselors are making it work. “I miss working with students in person but I am adapting my job to reach their needs remotely for now. I can’t wait to get back into school and talk to students face-to- face,” said Bobeda. 

Ashley Delarosa and Amy Aebi, counselors at Claggett Creek Middle School have also been adjusting to the change. 

“As school counselors we have learned really great lessons in how to be flexible, meeting new challenges and focusing on areas where we can have a positive impact,” they said.

Many students are learning how to make things work this year and they aren’t alone. “Our masters-level courses, and years of in-person experience did not prepare us to do our job virtually. We are learning as we go,” said Hanson.

Counselors at the other schools have been feeling similar to Hanson. 

“The world is constantly changing and we will get through this time and be together in person as soon as we are able,” Delarosa and Aebi said.

All school counselors in the Salem-Keizer area want students to know that they aren’t alone and there is always someone they can turn to if they need to. Students can reach out to a counselor, a teacher, any member of staff and ortrusted adult.