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School Counselors Get Creative to Provide Support
School Counselors Get Creative to Provide Support
Posted on 04/21/2020
School counselors are getting creative to show students they are never alone.By: Benjamin Rickert, BCS Communications

School counselors are getting creative to show students they are never alone, even as social distancing keeps communities scattered. Since schools moved online to prevent the spread of coronavirus, counselors like T.C. Roberson High’s Felicia Carter have worked to stay connected, letting students know that the same supports and friendly faces are available.

“We really miss them and they are constantly on our minds,” Carter said. “I’ve been trying to reach the students where they are.”

Felicia Carter works on her latest social media video for students from home.In recent weeks, Carter has used popular social media platforms like Tik Tok and Instagram to stay in touch and get information to the Rams community. Her short musical videos have featured social-emotional tips for calming anxieties, course registration reminders, and a fun M.C. Hammer-themed lesson in keeping hands clean. Carter's humorous approach makes the messages memorable, and students have encouraged her to keep up the good work.

Understanding that sudden change can create stress, Roberson's counselors constantly asks themselves, “How do we reach all of our kids during this crisis?”

Just before schools closed for in-person instruction, Ms. Carter's team had the foresight to create a comprehensive digital counseling and advising website. The site includes contact information for a variety of staff that students might need to reach for academic and mental health support. Through the site, students can sign up for digital advising and counseling appointments, find meal sites and technology assistance, learn about social-emotional skills and strategies, plan for college, and more. After campuses closed for instruction, Carter’s team sent a message to all students, asking basic questions about health, eating, concerns, and the transition to virtual learning.

“We’re still here for them and collaborating normally, just from our houses,” Carter added.

During the pandemic, Carter encourages students to reach out to their school counselors for non-emergency situations as they normally would, through contact information found on school websites or by calling schools directly.

Students or any community members experiencing a mental health emergency are encouraged to call Mobile Crisis at 1-888-573-1006, Vaya Crisis Hotline at 1-800-849-6127, dial 9-1-1, or go to the nearest emergency room or hospital.

“We are grateful for the close partnerships we have with our local and state mental health providers,” said BCS Director of Student Services David Thompson said during a recent Buncombe County Government press conference. “We have created solutions to keep our students connected to the mental health services they need despite our transition to virtual education. Our local mental health providers are now able to provide services by phone or video connection on the students’ school device.”

Ms. Carter is proud of her team and school counselors across Buncombe County, who have provided consistent support to students throughout the pandemic.

“We all have a huge heart and desire to help them,” Carter said. “To let them know that they aren’t alone, that even one person is on the other side.”

Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin, shanon.martin@bcsemail.org, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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