Jennifer Armstrong was nominated by her principal, Skyla Wehkamp.
If you are writing a job description for a school counselor, then spending time with Ms. Armstrong will help you determine attributes to put in the description. She is such a well-rounded individual who contributes in every area of the building.
Students are Ms. Armstrong's top priority. She begins the year by having lunch with every new student in the building and spending time getting to know them. From these lunches and individual sessions, she puts together a summary on each student. If there are concerns or areas a teacher should know to support the student, Ms. Armstrong will apprise the teacher of that information. She provides counseling sessions for every class every other week. Time is set aside for small group and individual sessions, as well.
Ms. Armstrong has set up a system for students and teachers to communicate with her if they need her assistance. Her district is part of a mental health initiative with the Kansas Department of Education to provide additional mental health support. Ms. Armstrong contacts parents and works in conjunction with the Kansas DOE to place students.
"Recently our students were asked to name the best thing about our school, and several students wrote that having Miss Jennifer was the best thing about our school," said Wehkamp. "After school, Jennifer attends many activities to watch the students in different settings. They are very excited when they see her there."
Taking care of students' physical well being is also important for Ms. Armstrong. She is the coordinator for the weekend meal program and is always on the lookout for students who are chronically hungry. She then makes contact with parents to gain their permission to send home the food packets. During the winter, she works with organizations to provide coats, gloves and hats for students. She has been known to purchase items or bring things from home for students. Last year, she was instrumental in providing Christmas gifts, monogrammed duffle bags and clothes for students in a local short-term foster home.
Ms. Armstrong emails every staff member on their birthday and places a small gift in their mailbox, too. Her school instituted Motivation Monday, and she has signed up numerous times to surprise her fellow coworkers with a yummy treat or a special note. If a colleague is struggling with a hardship of some sort, she emails the staff to sign a card and take donations or schedule a meal train. She is also willing to cover a classroom when there is no sub.
Ms. Armstrong is very active in district initiatives. This year, she has attended several trainings on Trauma Informed Schools. After attending, she presented an initial in-service in her building. She has planned to go more in-depth during the next in-service day
"Jennifer truly makes a positive impact for many students and staff in our building. You can count on her to go above and beyond for everyone," said Wehkamp.