School Counselor Appreciation Week
Posted on 02/06/2024
School Counselor Appreciation WeekChattanooga, Tennessee- Hamilton County Schools' counselors play a significant role in the academic and emotional well-being of their students, and every counselor has their own approach to creating meaningful connections with their students. They provide a listening ear, guidance, and support for students who may be going through difficult times. No matter the grade, all students need support and to feel they have a trusted adult in their school building.

Shea Vetterick, Sale Creek Middle High Counselor, believes in building authentic relationships through one-on-one conversations with her students. She emphasizes the importance of leaving the office and meeting students where they are in classrooms, hallways, and clubs. Vetterick works closely with the college and career advisor and attends field trips to connect with her students. Vettrick advocates for students through school and non-school opportunities, including schedule conferencing to meet graduation requirements, transcript reviews, creating 504 academic accommodations, and providing recommendation letters for jobs and college applications. Shea, a graduate of HCS herself, stated her most impactful experience was when a graduating student told her, “You’re the reason I’m here.”

While high school can be a high-stakes time where students need help understanding their future paths and options, middle school students are often still figuring out their interests.

Eleanor Weaver, a school counselor at East Ridge Middle, enjoys seeing her students grow and develop into the individuals they are meant to become. She believes that middle school is a pivotal time in a student's life, where they are still learning and need guidance in social and emotional matters. Weaver connects with her students through advisory classes in the morning and student small group meetings. She works with social workers and student support coaches to provide resources for students with any needs ranging from fights with friends to those facing homelessness. A student from one of Weaver’s small groups said, “She (Weaver) is the first person I want to go to when there is an issue. She listens and understands when I have problems. I know I always have her to comfort and help me, no matter the situation. Counselors are great listeners, they give great advice, and they are always there for you.”

Ky'Anna Arthurton, an elementary school counselor at Wolftever Creek, believes in building a support system for students who may not have it. She greets her students every morning to check in and offers guidance lessons in appropriate school behavior and self-confidence. Arthurton works with students on an individual basis as needed and attends 504 and IEP meetings. She emphasizes the importance of community partnerships for support and collaborates with social workers for family support. Arthurton commented, “My biggest goal is making sure none of my kids slip through the cracks. They know they are loved, I know them, and they know me. Love is not conditional. They have an ally in the building,” when asked what drives her work.

In conclusion, school counselors embody the district's passion for student success by creating meaningful connections with their students and providing resources for their academic and emotional well-being. They strive to ensure that no student slips through the cracks and that they feel loved and supported throughout their educational journey. Despite their different approaches, all counselors share the same goal of ensuring that no student feels alone and every child is supported throughout their educational journey. It is clear that Hamilton County Schools' counselors are committed to the success of their students, and their impact on students' lives is powerful in many ways.