National School Counseling Week is from Feb. 1 to 5, 2021. The Shawnee Mission School District joins schools across the country celebrating with the theme “School Counselors: All In for All Students.”
The week is observed to focus on the unique contributions of school counselors in the United States and the tremendous influence they have on student success.
John McKinney, director of student and family services, thanked SMSD counselors for all they do for Shawnee Mission schools, students, and families.
Several SMSD counselors recently reflected on their important role helping students, families, and school communities throughout the year:
Pamela Brignoni, Westridge Middle School 8th grade counselor:
Brigoni reflected on how proud she is of the counseling team at Westridge and how they all have worked to think outside of the box this school year. They’ve continued their work to help students thrive, she noted. During the pandemic they’ve implemented a variety of creative ways to help students, families, and the school community including:
WebEx and driveway visits
Supply and food delivery
Mindful Monday lessons
At the beginning of the year counselors created a video inspired by the movie “The Breakfast Club” to reinforce a lesson on self care and acceptance.
“We’ve been able honor the true essence of school counseling: Connecting and helping our communities in whichever way needed,” she expressed. “I feel a great sense of pride working with the counseling team in the SMSD and am appreciative to have a director who supports us. We are a passionate group of individuals striving to support all of our students’ academic and social-emotional needs, together.” #SMSDStrong.
Kelly Lillis, SM South Counselor: “Whether working from home or in the buildings, counselors are all trying hard to meet the needs of students, staff, and parents in this ever-changing school environment,” Lillis shared. “All of them have missed their students and colleagues and are excited for the prospect of returning to normal sometime soon.”
Jennifer Fontaine, SM North Counselor reflected on the challenges of this year, expressing that she misses connecting with students face-to-face.
“I enjoy all the components of my chosen career,” Fontaine said. “My favorite part is getting to know my students by name and face on a personal level. I love helping them discover their passions as well as aid them in developing the needed skills to successful while in school and once they move on to life outside of K-12 education.”