Copperas Cove High School counselors are moving to the next grade level without carrying a class load or taking the necessary tests to advance to the next echelon like students do. Counselors advance as their students advance to maintain continuity.
“The number one advantage to this process is tied to school credits. From year to year, we get to know the students and their academic histories just like a doctor gets to know his patients and their medical histories,” said 11th grade counselor, John Averitt, who counseled the same group of students last year in 10th grade. “I know what credits they need to take to graduate. I don’t have to re-learn all of the students I have been assigned and they don’t have to re-learn me.”
Averitt has more than 500 students in the junior class assigned to him for counseling. He said he can give students more focused attention when he knows them personally.
“Students have their emotional and academic ups and downs and do not want to and are not always willing to re-explain their specific situations to a new counselor. I can help them better emotionally and mentally.”
One of the students that Averitt has been able to better support is Donna Butler. He has been able to track her progress emotionally and academically.
“You don’t know how happy I was to learn that he was my counselor again this year,” Butler said. “In many ways, he has been like a parent to me. He guided me through a lot in 10th grade, including school, depression, anxiety and overall life.”
Butler said Averitt has impacted her life more than anyone she has ever met. In 10th grade, she was in Averitt’s office twice daily. As time passed, her visits became less frequent.
“I was finding that I was happier and didn’t need him as much. But, I can’t imagine being with another counselor,” Butler said. “He knows my whole life and knows me better than anyone else. I can go to him with anything because I trust him. I cannot trust anyone else.”
Averitt doesn’t see a lot of disadvantages to the new technique of counselors advancing with students. But, as a new counselor in his second year, he has some trepidation as he prepares to become a 12th grade counselor.
“As I move up in grades, I will have to defer to my fellow counselors who are more experienced,” Averitt said.
“One of the benefits of doing the same grade level your entire career is that you become an expert. Freshmen obviously have different needs than seniors.”
Diane Lovett is the 10th-grade counselor this year having served as the freshman counselor last year.
She has worked as a school counselor for 12 years.
“This system makes the most sense. We know (the students) better and we know their parents,” Lovett said. “There is less work involved because you don’t have to completely re-start every year.”
Lovett said the disadvantage is some students may excel with different counselors who use different methods.
“If a counselor has been unsuccessful with a student for whatever reason, he must still find a way to make the relationship work to ensure the student’s success. In some cases, it might be better for a student to go to a different counselor he can relate to.”