LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–February 3, 2022–
Anxiety, depression and feelings of isolation among teens have doubled in the past two years 1 – while most schools face a shortage of counsellors. National School Counseling Week, February 7-11, pays tribute to the hard-working school counselors who are needed more than ever. School counselors deal with students’ social and emotional issues and basic needs, as well as their academic progress and goals.
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Learn4Life students access counselor support through in-person meetings and a virtual counseling office. (Photo: BusinessWire)
Learn4Life, a network of more than 80 public high schools offering personalized education, has long maintained an above-average number of counselors per student. “To support the whole child, inside and outside of school, our counselors identify and use community resources that enhance counseling programs,” said Lorena Galaviz, school board director and student support. “They work tirelessly to make students feel safe and valued so they can reach their full potential.”
Since the start of the pandemic, Learn4Life school counselors have increased their awareness and support for students, sending thousands of check-in and support texts, referring hundreds of students to mental health resources and putting connecting dozens of community partner organizations with students and families. Galaviz points out that counseling is especially challenging when done remotely, but offers these tips for engaging with students and helping them cope and thrive:
- Modify the typical risk assessment – it will take longer to virtually determine the student’s challenges and it is more difficult to identify children who have personal problems. Regular check-ins with all students and their teachers are important.
- Create more opportunities to connect with students. Be flexible and meet students where they are – online, over the phone, or in person. Throughout the pandemic, we have sent teams of two to student homes when safe.
- Offer flexible hours for counselling. Our schools are open until 6 p.m. and students outside of class hours can access virtual links to emergency supports or resources within their community. Continue to remind all students of the academic counseling and support services available.
- Provide teens with virtual ways to connect with their peers. Students are sometimes on their own, so it’s important to offer online social events with games, SLAM poetry, raffles – anything that allows them to engage with other teens.
- Facilitate confidential conversations. A big challenge with virtual tours is that the student may not be able to have confidential conversations, due to family members within earshot. Students may not want others to see their home environment. Provide these students with headphones and understand when they want to get off camera.
- Establish virtual support rooms where students can go when the time is right to access real-time counselor support or coping tools. Virtual calming rooms are another idea for providing a healthy escape to reduce stress with soothing music or sounds, soothing colors, and guidance on breathing and concentration.
- Partner with organizations such as Comfort Treatments who can handle some of the paperwork involved in mental health referrals, such as scheduling appointments and following up to ensure the student has gone to see the provider. This allows counselors to spend more time with each student.
“Our philosophy is to reduce barriers to learning, whether it’s a student’s social/emotional challenges, academic concerns, or career worries,” Galaviz said. “School counselors are an essential part of a student’s education, especially with the struggles of the past two years.”
Learn4Life is a network of nonprofit public schools that provides students with personalized learning, career training, and life skills. Each school is locally controlled, tuition-free, and provides students with the flexibility and individual attention they need to succeed. Serving more than 47,000 students – including full-time students and intersessional students – we help them prepare for a future beyond high school. For more information, please visit www.learn4life.org.
Show source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220203005339/en/
CONTACT: Ann Abajian, Learn4Life
KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA CALIFORNIA
INDUSTRY KEYWORD: ELEMENTARY/SECONDARY EDUCATION MENTAL HEALTH CONSUMER TEENAGERS HISPANIC
Copyright BusinessWire 2022.
PUBLISHED: 02/03/2022 10:41 AM/DISC: 02/03/2022 10:41 AM
Copyright BusinessWire 2022.