LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Michaella Beatty

Position: High School Counselor
School: Hylton High School
School District: Prince William County Schools
City, State: Woodbridge, VA

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Michaella Beatty was nominated by her colleague, Megan Pomfret.

"Michaella is a school counselor who cares deeply for students," said Pomfret. "She engages with students in a compassionate, knowledgeable way, and she positively influences any community of which she is a a part. It's been my pleasure to work with Michaella as a school counseling colleague since 2019."

As the school counselor for Hylton's English Language Learners, Ms. Beatty has proven herself to be a tireless advocate for this student group. She advocates for these students in the classes they take by ensuring they have access to challenging courses and ensuring that teachers are using effective strategies for those students. Each summer, Ms. Beatty runs a College Quick Start program for first-generation college and ELL students. This is a thorough, hands-on program that helps students understand the college application and financial aid processes. She opens doors for Hylton students to have access to post-secondary education. This also includes a scholarship for ELL students. Over the years, she has raised $1,250 for this scholarship.  

This year, Prince William County Schools (PWCS) switched to virtual learning. Many of the ELL students and their families were struggling to access all the new technologies that were being used for virtual learning. Ms. Beatty collaborated with local middle schools, other Hylton curriculum departments, and various PWCS experts in information technology to run a Spanish-speaking technology night. With this event, she created an opportunity for families to learn how to use the programs their students needed to be successful during virtual learning. This program is an intervention to help prevent students fall through the cracks.

Ms. Beatty further dedicates her love and care for Hylton’s students by collaborating with the art program to conduct a PostSecret art project. This project enables ninth grade students to combine their love of art with emotional awareness. It also creates an opportunity for Hylton students to connect with their school counselor at the start of their high school experience.

Ms. Beatty also makes the counseling program accessible by creating and posting YouTube videos in a series called the “Mental Health Minute.” This series covers topics such as organization, study skills, mindfulness, and emotional regulation, and it's sent out to all Hylton students. These videos were especially impactful in the spring of 2020, when school buildings closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ms. Beatty's creation and monitoring of the counseling program’s Canvas page also enabled students to have counseling resources and contacts at their fingertips. She's often her department's technology expert, and she helps to keep the counseling voice heard through various technical modes.

As a colleague, Ms. Beatty is collaborative, warm, and caring. She is always the first to ask how she can help and will jump on ideas that serve the needs of students. If student clubs request support from a school counselor, Ms. Beatty is often the one to volunteer. She even bakes yummy goodies when staff are in the building!

"Michaella is a LifeChanger for students," said Pomfret. "Her first question is always to ask how she can help students, create opportunities for them amplify their voices, and engage with other staff to ensure we are doing what is best for kids. She inspires me with her energy and innovation."