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Jordan Hopkins

SCED 500

School Counselor Interview

The school counselor I had the pleasure of interviewing was Krista

Orchard. Krista graduated from Pepperdine University in 1999 with a

Bachelors degree in Political Science. After graduating she fell into the

unknown of what to do with her degree. Krista knew that getting a job was a

simple way to keep busy and maybe open her eyes to new opportunities. She

began working at Planned Parenthood as the volunteer coordinator. She fell

in love with the ability to help others and set up programs for women and

their families, but hungered for more. Her brother in law at the time was a

high school teacher and was inspired by his connection with students. In the

back of her mind she knew good and well that being stuck in a classroom

with students was not her ideal profession. She began to question, how could

I make connections with students without becoming a teacher? Her mother

stumbled upon an ad in the local newspaper about the Beaverton School

District partnering with Lewis and Clark for their school-counseling program.

Krista was intrigued and decided to attend a Lewis and Clark information

session. She came to the realization that school counseling was exactly what

she wanted to do. Since Lewis and Clark and the Beaverton School District

were in partnership, she was offered an emergency license. In her second

year of the program she was working full time as a school counselor at

Whitford Middle School.

As a school counselor for 14 years in the Beaverton School District,

Krista has seen many changes. In previous years she was split between two

schools. Not being available all the time at one school started to take a toll

on her profession. She was having a difficult time making valuable

connections with families and students. Within the last two years, the

Beaverton School District eliminated the split school counselor and

assigned a counselor to every school. Krista was assigned to Raleigh Hills K8.

Being assigned to one school allows her to focus more on building

everlasting relationships. When asking what motivates her to come to work

everyday she laughs and says jokingly, does coffee count. Working with a

great staff and seeing the kids fuels her motivation. As a school counselor

she has the ability to fill a unique role for students and their families.

Knowing she can build relationships with students and work with a great staff

makes waking up Monday through Friday simply easy.

Every September, school counselors across the district get together by

school level. Since Raleigh Hills is a K8, Krista attends the elementary school

meeting. Counselors and district administrators discuss the ASCA National

Model and how they can implement these methods to their everyday work.

When discussing district and school counselor partnership, Krista mentions

that counselors have a strong voice at district, council, and board meetings.
School counselors in the Beaverton School District take their profession very

seriously and arent afraid to speak up when things need to be done

differently. Due to their strong voice, the district hired a Teacher/Counselor

on Special Assignment (TOSA). This TOSA advocates and provides extra

support for school counselors.

As we dove deeper into conversation, I began to ask her more in depth

questions about her role at Raleigh Hills K8. I was curious about how she best

supported students and what programs were in place for academic/career

success. Krista gives the middle school team the tools needed to instruct

students on the Oregon Career Information System (CIS). The CIS program

allows middle and high school students plan their future and achieve their

dreams. As a counselor she ensures that middle school students are familiar

with how to use CIS, so they are prepared to use it in high school. Although

she does not do a guidance lesson on CIS, she is at the ready to support

teachers. After discussing the CIS program we moved on to data driven

programming. When compiling data, Krista examines many things. She takes

a look at student referrals, attendance, and Title 1 data. When determining if

a student needs extra support, Krista will look at one or all of these forms of

data. She frequently attends grade level, Title 1, and IEP meetings. She

expresses that meeting with these teams to collaborate on student academic

needs helps her grow as a counselor.

We moved on to what turned out to be my favorite portion of the

interview, resources and services. I asked her what resources families

consistently use and what programs she creates for her school. Families at

Raleigh Hills K8 consistently seek resources for clothing. When students are

in need of warmer clothing or shoes, Krista will refer the families to the

district provided programs called the Clothes Closet and Shoe Box. She

explains that families are able to utilize the Clothes Closet 3 times a year and

pick up to 10 items per student in their household. She speaks with such

pride when explaining her programs, Civil War Food Drive and Holiday Giving.

The Civil War Food Drive gets the entire school involved in donating

perishable food items. These items are then given to families in need for the

holiday season. On top of the food drive, she creates a holiday wall of giving.

Krista examines her data and communicates with teachers to determine

which families need extra help for the holidays. After communicating with

families in need, they come up with a family wish list. These wish list items

are fulfilled by anyone willing to give back to local families. Krista does an

exceptional job ensuring confidentiality with families for this program.

A part from her own resource programs, she expresses that sometimes

the needs for families can be far greater than her job description. When

families seek further assistances, she contacts the districts social worker.

When Krista feels like a student is at risk in the home, she confides in the

principal and schools psychologist to seek support in making a DHS call.

Everyone working in a school is a mandate reporter and she encourages staff

to inform either her or the principal when making those calls. She feels that

sometimes when we have to make those heart-wrenching calls we often

need extra support. I respect that she realizes when others need support and

more importantly when she needs support.

Kristas personal journey in becoming a school counselor is inspiring

and realistic. When I graduated from the University of Oregon I often felt lost

with my degree but knew I wanted to work with children in some capacity.

When she talks about her role as a school counselor she talks with such

confidence and exuberance. When talking about school counselors in general

she says, Our work isnt often seen but our work truly matters. That quote

stuck with me long after the interview was over. Getting others to

understand our work can be challenging, but at the end of the day what

matters is our advocacy and positive impact on students, families, and our