Celebrating Day 5 of Student Services Week!
We hope you are enjoying these Stories From the Field. Today we are featuring stories from Duval, Polk and Alachua County Schools.
Included is a special note from Dr. José Castillo, Director, Institute for School Reform, Principal Investigator, Student Support Services Project.
A Special Note...
Thank you to all of the student services professionals who support children, youth, and their families. For a number of reasons, our stakeholders in education and in the community are more aware of and sensitive to our students’ behavioral, social-emotional, and mental and physical health needs. This awareness has led to calls for and mandates to meet these needs, and I firmly believe that student services professionals are perfectly positioned to answer the call. We have a tremendous opportunity to shape the future of student services in Florida. I look forward to continuing to support the wonderful professionals in our state to make the vision of comprehensive student support services a reality. Thank you again for all that you do!
Dr. José Castillo, Director, Institute for School Reform, Principal Investigator, Student Support Services Project.
Stories From the Field...
Duval County Public Schools
A dedicated advocate for children
Submitted by: Andrew Jenks, MS/Ed.S., Supervisor of Psychological Services
Susan Hatcher has served in the capacity of school psychologist with Duval County Public Schools for approximately 15 years. During this time, Ms. Hatcher has consistently demonstrated that she is a passionate and dedicated advocate for children. In addition to positively influencing students and staff throughout the district, Ms. Hatcher spearheaded the creation of the North East Florida Association of School Psychologists, which has promoted mental health and wellness throughout the community for the past decade or so.
A prime example of Ms. Hatcher's dedication, motivation, creativity and steadfastness recently came to attention. Several weeks ago, Ms. Hatcher was working with a team of professionals at the elementary level who connected a student with hearing loss to a device designed to enhance hearing. It was quickly noted, however, that the disruptive sounds of the chairs sliding across the classroom floor interfered with the signal of the device and, consequently, the student's ability to hear. Recognizing this problem, Ms. Hatcher approached the Flagler College tennis team to encourage a donation of their spare tennis balls to place over the legs of the chairs in the student's classroom. With Ms. Hatcher's assistance, Flagler College graciously agreed to an ongoing donation of used tennis balls AND they went one step further by having volunteers cut the balls to place on the chair legs. Ms. Hatcher then worked with the school to ensure that sound-reducing tennis balls were placed on all of the chairs in the student's classroom as well as adjacent classrooms. This project has been a huge success and one that will continue to support the students of Duval County Public Schools.
School psychologists in this district are recognized and appreciated for their many contributions, the bulk of which involve psychoeducational assessment and consultation. In the example provided, Ms. Hatcher utilized her role as school psychologist to identify a unique need, brainstorm potential solutions, develop a plan and implement it. Her approach to this problem not only benefitted the student in question, but all of the students in the classrooms as everyone can now hear more clearly and attend more carefully to instruction.
Stories From the Field... Alachua County Public Schools
Brainstorming ways to support students
Submitted by: Pamela Gonzales, School Counselor, Gainesville High School
Ms. Carly Heckathorn is a passionate school counselor, continually brainstorming ways to support her students. She has implemented the Counselor Cart and Remind App for students.
Carly is also an expert at utilizing data collection and combs through the data to discover gaps so that she, and her school counselor colleagues, can fill those gaps to meet all student needs. With data analyzed, Carly organizes small groups to assist with college and career planning, collaborates with teachers and organizes individual advising sessions with students who are off track and their parents. Carly is also leading three school-sponsored organizations: HOPE Squad, a peer-to-peer support group; Gay Straight Alliance; and Student Wellness Advocates.
In addition to all of this, Carly’s goal is to work toward a Recognized American School Counselor Association Model Program (RAMP).
If you missed yesterday's Stories From the Field visit Day 4 for viewing.