School administrative offices remain open during the summer, including counseling departments. I asked a high school counseling department chairperson to tell me about her "summer work."
When I arrived at Oakdale HS, Ms. Polce was on her computer reviewing report cards. This verification process ensures that students are promoted appropriately; it also enables school counselors to identify retained students so they can set up a plan and meet with the students and their parents. Once this is complete, the counseling department will be submitting final transcripts to colleges and universities. Then it is time to review and finalize schedules for students, for distribution later in the summer. Counselors work closely with Transition Coordinators on the schedules to ensure that students doing internships or work-study programs get the courses they need to balance their schedule.
Whew! Ms. Polce identified these tasks as the main work for June. What about July? New registrations can occur at any time during the summer, and at OHS, they already had appointments for 18 new students. These appointments typically occur in June and July. There will also be meetings with parents and students who are incoming freshmen, transitioning to a new high school, or heading into 11th grade.
By August, it will be non-stop in the counseling department! The outreach for newly registered students will continue. Schedules are posted in August and there is a 3 day schedule change window for prioritized changes (typically for academic reasons only; electives can be changed once the school year begins.) There will be a workshop for students taking a Dual Enrollment course to teach them how to use Blackboard and to prepare them for being a "college" student. Back to School night occurs in August and the counselors support administrators with presentations and are available to answer questions from students or parents.
In the midst of all of these tasks, Ms. Polce reminded me that the relationships counselors have developed with students and families continue throughout the year—there is no summer break from caring and supporting students!
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