Mallory King • News Editor
Hayes has over 1,700 students, 85 teachers, and now 5 guidance counselors.
Megan Burwinkel is the newest member of the counseling department. This is her first year as a high school counselor.
“I think I’m most excited about just building more relationships with the kids because I am so new,” Burwinkel said. “Basically 400 kids have me as their counselor and have never met me… I’m just excited about building that relationship with everyone.”
Four hundred students for one counselor is a lot compared to other schools.
“The national standard for the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) is a ratio of 1 [counselor to] 250 [students],” Burwinkel said.
The incoming freshmen will now get extra support from Hayes. Jessica Darcy is the new freshman counselor. Last year, Darcy was a counselor over all grade levels.
“From eighth grade to ninth grade, our students were struggling,” said Ric Stranges, the principal at Hayes. “So we wanted to dedicate a counselor just to them, who can meet them down there at Dempsey, who can be with them all year and can be able to meet their needs better.“
This extra support is meant to help students down the road.
“If they are successful in ninth grade, that foundation on the other end will pay dividends,” Stranges said. “If we can strengthen that foundation…I think that is going to help us when they get to be seniors.”
Current seniors are also benefiting from the changes this year.
“We did not have any counselor dedicated to career and college counseling, who could help with Naviance, who could make relationships with college admissions officers,” Stranges said.
Now, Leigh Conant, the new college and career counselor, will make those relationships with colleges. Like Darcy, Conant was a counselor covering all grade levels last year.
“I’m starting from the center point, with Ohio Wesleyan,” Conant said. ”So I have already been in contact with them and have been meeting with their admissions counselor, just to start from the beginning, then kind of spiraling my way out.”
Making connections with colleges is important, especially for students who do not have above average grades.
“What I’m going to do, is send [Mrs. Conant] all over to meet the admissions officers, so… when you are ready to make the college choice, she will already know them on a first name basis,” Stranges said. “That connection helps our students get into colleges.”
Conant also works with the students here at Hayes.
“Right now… I have already started many students’ transcripts that decided to get a head start on them over the summer,” Conant said. “I’ve been in communication with students for months now: working on college choice, sending transcripts,… [writing] letters of recommendation. I have met with the whole senior class to work with them.”
She will also have more student interaction this year. This will allow students to have one person to help them with transitioning out of high school and into the real world.
“I’m most excited about reworking some of our programs, [and] being able to get into classrooms with students more than I was before,” Conant said.
The counrseling department thinks this new way of counseling will have a significant impact on students when they do graduate.
“I want to see more kids go to college,” Stranges said. “If we have someone who can make that process smoother, I think we will get more students to have the college experience.”
The counselors and administrators have made these changes in order to improve the students’ lives.
“Honestly, they are the model for a lot of other districts to look at and see how this is going to be, so this is kind of neat,” Stranges said.
The ultimate goal is to guide the students to be the best they can be.
“I like the fact that we kind of reinvented the way that we serve our students in the counseling department,” Stranges said. “Instead of just being normal, let’s find a better way to serve all of our students.”