This week, WJCC Schools is celebrating the amazing employees who support student success and make our schools and offices great places to learn and work. Meet Brandi White and Kendall McLeod, a team of two professional school counselors at Toano Middle School (TMS). Brandi has been with WJCC Schools for nine years and Kendall is in her third year as a WJCC Schools employee, both have served all their years at TMS.
Describe a day in the life of a middle school counselor…
Our days fluctuate based on student needs and the time of year. On a given day, we may be in classrooms providing core curriculum lessons, in small group sessions meeting with students on various topics or doing individual counseling sessions or academic planning. We also attend meetings that help provide support to our students and handle crisis situations as they arise. No two days are ever the same, but it makes our days more exciting!
What is your proudest moment at WJCC Schools?
This year the Toano Middle School Counseling Department applied to become a Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP). This was a two-year process that shows commitment and dedication to our students by delivering a school counseling program that follows the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) model. By following the ASCA model, we are able to devote more of our time to providing direct services to our students. Applying to become a RAMP school took a lot of support from our building, the school division, and the school board. We will find out in January whether our application is approved, however we know that regardless of the outcome we have improved the services we provide to our students and streamlined our counseling program in a way that allows us to best meet the needs of our students!
What is your favorite thing about working in WJCC Schools?
Our school truly feels like a family and the amount of love and support is incredible. We have also built professional relationships that encourage us to continue learning and growing from one another every day.
A great day at work is when…
A great day at work is when a student has their “ah-ha” moment and really gets what you have been working toward with them! In the school counseling profession, it can sometimes take years for the results of the work and passion you put into your job to show its impact, so it is very powerful when you get to experience that moment with a student and know that you are having a positive impact on their life.
Three words to describe my job are:
Rewarding, ever-changing, and impactful.
Why is your role important to the school division?
The role of a school counselor is important to the school division because it provides necessary support to students, families, and staff. The impact of a students’ mental health can be far-reaching and can greatly influence their academic and emotional well-being. School Counselors help students develop the skills that they need to bridge any gaps they may be experiencing and can provide support and instruction in the social/emotional, academic, and career domains.
People would be surprised if they knew what about your job…
The job of a school counselor is equally rewarding and heartbreaking. There are days when the stories we encounter are filled with trauma, frustration, and sadness. There are other days where we get to celebrate the successes of our students, be their cheerleaders, and encourage them as they overcome various obstacles that they encounter. Even on the hard days, we know that our work does make a difference for students and that a little bit of encouragement and love can go a long way!
If you could do a different job in the school division for a week, what would you choose?
A school custodian! They get such a unique perspective on the school. School custodians are incredibly hard working, get to know everyone in the building, and form bonds with the students as well. Their jobs are not easy at all, but they still come to work every day and make our schools beautiful for all of us!