The Monett R-1 Board of Education approved a report on progress made by the counseling department in the Monett schools and recommendations for improvements during the June board meeting.
According to the counselors, staff at each campus meet with students individually, in groups and in full classrooms. They instruct, provide transition activities for students moving between campuses and collaborate with faculty and administrators.
Counselors met together four times during the year and underwent an annual program evaluation with Brad Hanson, the assistant superintendent.
"All campuses have a strong staff who work long hours to make sure everything, or everyone, is taken care of," Hanson reported.
The new campus at Monett Elementary School provided a greatly improved environment for the counselor's work. The number of students selected for the WIN program for assistance with social skills increased to more than 70. There were 61 children receiving backpacks of food for the weekends.
Counselor Leslie Henry at Monett Elementary increased her classroom lessons to three times a month and has an available room for her presentations. Counselor Marla Cantwell at Central Park Elementary used positive behavior support which improved the number of referrals she received. Attendance increased during state standardized testing.
Counselor Deb Williams at Monett Intermediate School added more positive behavior support, including after-school groups. Williams increased instruction and exploration of careers, helped in testing for special services students and spoke at vertical team meetings about her activities.
Counselor Nancy Noll-Meyer at Monett Middle School facilitated the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and helped new students adjust through the student ambassador program. She assisted students with small group counseling during homeroom sessions and continued career interviews, using the Missouri Connections program to explore options.
High school counselors Princess Fox and Lori Solensky gave students access to the Program of Study and Personal Plan of Study on a computer in the counseling office for students to sharpen their learning strategies. The counselors reported that since laptop computers were introduced for each student in January, e-mail contact from students increased, even from home. The major focus for lessons and individual counseling has become more career focused and goal oriented.
At the Southwest Area Career Center (SWACC), counselor Karen Brosi had approximately 500 students attend new student orientation, a record. The new online "request for application" produced a record number of new applicants, over 470 by mid-June. Personal plans of study were requested as part of the enrollment process and will be required for 2013-14 applications.
Concerns included having only one counselor for approximately 650 students at Monett Elementary School. The counselors did not feel the addition of a social worker would ease the requirements for teaching lessons, individual counseling and teacher assistance.
The counselors at Monett Intermediate and Central Park Elementary wanted to see more consistent and effective use of the teacher assistance team. With the high number of students seeking credit recovery, they saw an increasing need for an alternative school for younger struggling students.
According to the visiting staff from Tech Centers That Work, the district also has a weakness in not involving enough lower grade students in career development and program awareness. The Internal Improvement Review beginning during the coming school year will better identify ways to address such issues.
Adult education reviewed
The adult education program at SWACC was reviewed by Russ Moreland, SWACC director. The longstanding goal of the program has been to provide programs for adults within the surrounding Monett area that enhance knowledge and skills, train for new job opportunities, offer enrichment and provide opportunities for credit hours to obtain a post-secondary degree.
Evening classes offered without credit have continued to offer learning opportunities. Several industries use programs to train current or future employees, Moreland said.
On-line ED2GO courses focus on specific projects. They include more than 100 classes with lessons, quizzes, discussion areas and supplementary links that can be completed from an adult's home or office at any time.
Both Crowder College and William Woods University offer post-high school classes either on campus or available over the Internet. Crowder will expand its courses with both day and evening classes in the coming school year.
Moreland said the SWACC administration made a strong effort during the past year to explore new possibilities for more courses for adults. The additional involvement of Crowder College stemmed from this process.
Moreland saw a greater need to identify areas of workforce training needed in the surrounding community that cannot be acquired at the college and university level.
"To assist in the development of this vision for the future," Moreland said, "we will need to reconvene a strong advisory team, consisting of local business and industry leaders, that will work together to ensure that SWACC's Adult Education program is moving forward in a positive direction."