Guidance Department Undergoes Changes

School Counselors Adjust to Changing Numbers


School Counselors Widman and Callahan

As is probably true in most American high schools, our school counselors in the West Geauga Guidance Department are doing everything they can to offer help to the students who need it in a variety of areas. They find themselves, however, currently involved with an increasing numbers of duties because the number (of counselors) has dropped from 3 to 2 here at the high school.

At the end of the 2018 academic year, one counselor, Mrs. Kim Zannetti, was reassigned to Lindsey Elementary. Mr. David Callahan and Ms. Sarah Widman remain here at the high school and are now adjusting to doing the same job with a smaller number of people in their department. The two of them agreed that with more counselors, “We were able to share the ‘other’ duties that need to be handled by our team,” Mr. Callahan noted. In regards to Mrs. Zannetti, herself, and her leaving the high school, Ms. Widman explained that, “Mrs. Zannetti was a great colleague — she is missed.”

Going from 3 to 2 counselors might not seem like such a big jump. One has to consider the following, though. Previously, each counselor would usually have (roughly) 235 students to look after. Now, however, they both have (roughly) 350; that’s 116 more kids. The counselors try to use an “Open Door” policy to address the sometimes difficult – to – achieve feeling of  personal interaction with so many kids. “Everyone is welcome to see us,” Mr. Callahan said. Their strategy to handle their second endeavor — tackling the sheer number of students — is a simple one: “We try our best every day,” said Ms. Widman.

Just like students and teachers, alike, the pair has its fair share of homework. Between paperwork and people, they exclaim, “People come first!” If that leaves them with not enough time at school to get it all done, they affirm: “Just like teachers — we take stuff to do at home.”

But what is the guidance office without people to guide? Between two counselors and a huge number of solar dancing toys in the window, courtesy of guidance secretary, Mrs. Michelle Sargent, is it welcoming enough for West Geauga’s students to walk into the office ? In other words, while there is an open door policy, is anyone walking in ? Students had things to say when asked if they felt comfortable going to the guidance office;

“I’m not really good with the whole ‘talking to people about my problems.’ Although, I’ve gotten help before, and I appreciated it,” said Lexi Brown, freshman.

Guidance had this response when asked what they would say to students who don’t “trust” guidance or use it when they should: “I can only say we are here to help — and will do everything we can to help and assist students,” said Mr. Callahan.