Reflections From Three 2020-22 School Counselor Fellows
We asked three fellows from our 2020-22 cohort of School Counselor Fellows Program to reflect on their experiences. Applications to join the 2022-24 cohort are due by Friday, Sept. 30.
What prompted you to apply to be part of the School Counselor Fellows Program?
Stacey Hickman-Jackson: I wanted to expand my knowledge of the school counseling process, network with colleagues, and learn best practices the area of equity. I also wanted to learn how to better advocate on behalf of my profession and the students I serve.
John Johnson: I was looking for professional development opportunities that would allow me to network and fellowship with other counselors and learn best practices.
Rebekah Ward: I was looking for more opportunities to grow as a school counselor, network with other counselors in my state, and step outside of my comfort zone.
How has being part of the School Counselor Fellows Program impacted your leadership skills?
SHJ: This program has allowed me to meet with other school counselors from various backgrounds and brainstorm best practices in the field of school counseling. I learned how to advocate on behalf of the profession and the changes that are needed to support school counselors everywhere, as well as how to work with the appropriate agencies, policymakers, and others to promote my passion: college and career counseling at the K-8 level.
JJ: Since being part of the program, I have approached the work of counseling and programming from an equity lens, and I’ve been developing programming that would reach a larger scope of constituents.
RW: I have found a voice for my profession that I did not have prior to this program. I have found ways to request support for our program at my school that I would not have been able to find without this program. I have also grown as a leader in our state professional organization.
How has your engagement with the School Counselor Fellows Program impacted your school’s college-going culture?
JJ: We’re taking a more data-driven approach to the work. We look at data to see how we can better serve students and do the work more efficiently.
RW: I have started to focus much more on classroom career and college readiness lessons beginning in sixth grade. Additionally, I've been able to implement a webinar series for adults to educate parents about the importance of establishing a college-going culture early in a student’s educational career.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about the short-term or long-term impacts of the School Counselor Fellows Program?
SHJ: I hope that this work will continue to grow and that school counselors will achieve greater recognition and appreciation of our roles.
RW: This program has encouraged me look at long term impacts and has helped me find my true passion in the field. I have found that college and career awareness/readiness in K-8 is really where my heart lies, and I will continue to work towards improving access to this education at my district.