In the State Spotlight
Counselor Recognized by the LA Dept. of Education
Congratulations to University View Academy Dual Enrollment and Early College Counselor Toni Brumley who gave her thoughts in the Counselor Connect section of the Louisiana Dept. of Education newsletter.
Here is what she wrote:
Counseling in the 21st Century
As I reflect on my formal training as a school counselor, I realize that two of the consistent themes throughout were the importance of forming personal relationships with students and the significance of observing nonverbal communication.
It’s certainly no secret that technology has evolved and is changing the way society lives and works; this is especially true of our students. With the rapid progression of technology, it makes me wonder from a professional school counselor’s perspective: how can we still maintain those personal connections with students in a predominantly virtual world? Having the experience of serving as a counselor in both a traditional high school and for an online school, my experience has resulted in forming the opinion that answer is yes!
For many students, online school gives them flexibility and the advantages to have more frequent communication with their counselors. They aren’t restricted to a counselor’s traditional office hours, so if a need arises they reach out online. Often, students just want to talk to someone who will be there for them and will listen, and I find that they tend to be more open when we aren’t face-to-face. They can really open up without judgement, and I can meet their specific needs in an environment that is comfortable for so many of them. Virtual advising isn’t exclusive to online schools.
Many of the strategies that work for me in an online school also make sense for students in traditional school settings. Students can use online scheduling to set up appointments with their counselors directly. School counselors can share resources with teachers, students, and families in a medium that makes the most sense in each individual situation.
Fully online schools are not the only ones to use distance education to meet students’ academic, emotional, and behavioral needs. Stand-alone online courses taken in conjunction with a brick-and-mortar school experience can provide students with flexible deadlines, expanded course offerings, multiple postsecondary credit options, and diverse Jump Start pathways and credentialing opportunities.
The belief that we can make a difference, regardless of how we reach out to students, is one of the most important aspects of being a school counselor. Technology is a driving force we use daily in our jobs. It’s undeniably here to stay; therefore, we should capitalize on the opportunity to embrace it, acknowledge students’ interest and engagement with it, and use that to foster good practices for serving students.
Toni Brumley, M.Ed.
Early College/Dual Enrollment Counselor
University View Academy
Ms. Brumley is shy regarding her recognition but reflected even further about UVA. “I have seen the remarkable opportunities University View affords students, whether it be through various course offerings, multiple dual enrollment university partnerships or career tech educational certifications, it exceeds expectations not only on an educational level but in a very unique way- on a personal level, as well.”