School counselors celebrate counseling week

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LIVERMORE — Local school counselors and those around the state will head to Augusta Monday to celebrate the beginning of National School Counseling Week.

Grace Eaton of Livermore Falls, a counselor at Livermore Elementary School and president of the Maine School Counselors Association, plans to be part of the celebration.

Members of the association will be at the Hall of Flags in the State House from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 6 to showcase their organization, the resources they provide and what counselors do for children.

They will have a chance to talk with state legislators and Commissioner of Education Stephen Bowman. Eaton didn’t know if the governor would be there.

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The Maine School Counseling Association is the state chapter that supports and advocates for school counselors.

This year, the association has a liaison, Ansley Newton, from the Maine Department of Education, who was instrumental in organizing the presentation in the Hall of Flags and in other matters, Eaton said.

Gov. Paul LePage recently, in a proclamation, according to the association’s media release, “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.

Also, “for focusing on positive ways to enhance students’ social/personal, education and career 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.”

This week is part of an effort to provide recognition for school counselors who implement comprehensive school counseling programs, a vital part of the educational process for students as they meet the challenges ahead, the release stated..

Counselors provide a variety of services for students as they move through the school system.

Eaton of Livermore Falls started her professional career as a special education teacher before going to school for her master’s. She became a guidance counselor in 2002.

“Counselors do more than guidance,” she said. “They do so much more.”

Counselors help students in a variety of ways including individually, teaching in large and small groups, Eaton said.

They plan lessons just like a teacher to meet the needs of the school.

Eaton has served at elementary, middle and high school levels.

With each grade and each school, there are different needs, she said.

Counselors consult with teachers, administrators, parents, and others regarding students, depending on the circumstances.

At the middle and high school, they help students explore careers, do college planning and set goals for the future.. They also help schedule students and make sure classes they take are appropriate for them and what they need and want.

Counselors also make Department of Health and Human Services calls for situations of neglect or abuse, Eaton said.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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