Students need their school counselors now more than ever, given the pandemic when students have academic needs, as well as social and emotional needs. The San Diego County Office of Education has named three counselors "San Diego County Counselors of the Year,” recognizing them for their hard work during this difficult time.
“Counselors have been very busy right now,” said Anne Pierce. “I've probably have done more home visits already this year than in my whole…career.”
Pierce has been a school counselor for 12 years, the last seven years at Campo Elementary in the Mountain Empire Unified School District, a rural district, serving mostly Native American students.
“This is like a 650 square mile remote rural district, and a lot of families in this school district had to buy technology boosters for their phones, we had to make sure kids could get online for virtual learning,” Pierce said.
“We are kind of all in this boat that's rocking at the same time, and reaching out for one another, but trying to find an anchor to hold on to,” said Bonnie Hayman, a counselor for 30 years. She works at the La Mesa Arts Academy in the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District.
“That’s where I see our role is to try to provide some stabilization in these times, knowing that there is so little we can promise and guarantee. It’s the sands are just shifting every day," Hayman said.
“The food banks, things like that, have not been normal for a lot of families in this time, and so making sure that they know that it’s ok and that there is help…just making those connections,” said Cherryl Baker a counselor at Mission Hills High in the San Marcos Unified School District. She has been a high school counselor for more than 20 years.
She says students are still moving forward with their futures, despite the pandemic.
“That is still part of the process, talking about where they see themselves and taking into account now obviously the nature of where we are in the financial situations of our families. So, these are variables that are part of the decision-making process right now and I'm telling them to dream big," Baker said.