School Counseling Week 2022

The Marion School District is celebrating its school counselors this week, part of National School Counseling Week 2022, sponsored by the American School Counselor Association.

The theme for the celebration is “School Counseling: Better Together,” and the purpose of the week is to focus public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors within U.S. school systems and how students are different as a result of what school counselors do.

“Our team of school counselors have a tremendous impact in helping our students achieve success at school and prepare for life beyond,” said Dr. Glen Fenter, Marion superintendent. “Given the world we live in today, from the pandemic to the various other challenges families encounter in their lives, the work of our school counselors has become even more important. I can’t imagine what our schools would be like without these dedicated individuals.”

Marion has a team of nine school counselors. This includes three high school counselors, Katie Burleson, Melissa Kohl, and Pam Parkman; three junior high school counselors, Jessi Durmeier, Debbie Jackson, and Lisa Lovely; and three magnet school counselors, Lydia Archibald (MST), Shea Hart (HCGC), and Beth Sutton (VPA).

School counselors in the Marion School District support students in many ways. At the elementary level, school counselors help set the foundation for students to become healthy, competent, and confident learners. Collaborating with school staff and families, school counselors help students develop the social/emotional skills they need through education, prevention, and early identification and intervention.

This work continues at the junior high level, where school counselors work to serve students’ academic, personal, social, and career needs at the individual, group, and classroom levels. School counselors also play a key role in many school activities, including the MJHS Club Fair, ASU Mid-South Orientation, FOR Club (an anti-bullying group), and more.

At the high school, school counselors help students apply academic achievement strategies, manage emotions, and apply interpersonal skills. Counselors support students as they plan for post-secondary options including college, the military, or the workforce. Using student success standards, school counselors also provide individual student academic planning and goal-setting.     

In a proclamation in support of National School Counseling Week, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, cited school counselors for being actively engaged in helping students examine their abilities, strengths, interests, and talents; for working in a partnership with parents as they encounter the challenges of raising children in today’s world; for focusing on positive ways to enhance students’ academic, career, and social/emotional development; and working with teachers and other educators to provide an educational system where students can realize their potential and set healthy, realistic and optimistic aspirations for themselves. He noted that school counselors are certified, experienced educators with a master’s degree in school counseling. The combination of their training and experience makes them an integral part of the total educational program, he said.

“School counselors work with all students to remove barriers to learning by addressing students’ academic concerns, career options, and social/emotional skills,” said Jill Cook, ASCA executive director. “School counseling programs help to increase student achievement and provide a much-needed resource for students, parents, teachers, and administrators. School counselors are integral to student success.”

More than 100,000 school counselors nationwide will be participating in the week’s festivities.

Parents or community members with specific questions or concerns about school counseling programs should contact the school counselors at their local schools. Additional information can also be found at the following websites: