Summit High School revamps counseling for better service
FARMER’S KORNER – Summit High School has a new counseling team that should mean shorter lines for students at registration time and better delivery of services.
Summit High’s administration beefed up the guidance office, adding two more counselors to the existing two positions. The four counselors now will be responsible for a single grade – just under about 200 students each. New counselor Michael Hayes will assist freshman. Seniors will see counselor Stephanie Derringer, while counselor Debbie Luckett will work with juniors and counselor Jody Wilson takes on the sophomores.
“This is going to mean better service for the students and their parents,” Luckett said. “And we’re rotating grades, so we’ll spend four years with the same group.”
Hayes is new to the school district. He spent many years in Colorado before taking a position as a guidance counselor with a private American school in Kuwait. He found he missed his friends and family in Colorado and arrived in Summit County six days ago.
“We’ll be able to concentrate on grade-specific services and spend more time in the classroom with students,” Hayes said. “I’m also tossing around ideas for having brown bag lunches with the freshman, frequently-asked-question sessions and a parent night to get to know everyone.”
Derringer said the reduction in student load will allow the counseling office to be more consistent in helping students with class choices, college applications and other needs. Wilson will move from part-time to full-time counseling, passing on former mental health duties to a new part-time employee. The student peer counseling program will remain under the direction of the counseling office. A guidance newsletter begun last year also is set to continue.
“It’s been years since we’ve had a male counselor,” said co-principal Peggy Kastberg. “I think this will really benefit some of the male students who didn’t feel like they could talk to anyone.”
Kastberg, who is transitioning from the co-principal role to director of special services this year, said the counseling reorganization has been necessary for some time and took some creative reallocations in the school’s budget. It’s a good step in the right direction, she said.
“I think the students will really appreciate this,” Kastberg said. “And I think other schools will begin to look at us as a role model in this area, especially when you add in our CAPP center (Career and Academic Planning and Placement) and the career planning available to students.”
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