Thank You School Counselors for Supporting Students at Every Level

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The week of February 6th Green Dot Public Schools California is taking part in celebrating National School Counseling Week. The American School Counselor Association has themed the 2023 week as “School Counselors: Helping Students Dream Big.” Across our 18 middle and high school sites, we’re showing appreciation and highlighting the work of our dedicated counselors who help prepare our students for success in college, leadership, and life.

To our school counselors: thank you for supporting our students at every level, from social and emotional needs, to academic supports, to jumpstarting college and career futures. Dreaming big means something different to every Green Dot California student, and we appreciate your dedication to each of those dreams.

Erika Viramontes, the Director of the School Counseling Program at Green Dot California, sees the counselors she works with as student advocates and creators of connections. “They're connected to our students, connected to our families, connected to the mission, and connected to the success that they want students to really have,” she said. This year, she is particularly proud of the work counselors have done around dual enrollment courses and successful implementation of the California College Guidance Initiative, both of which begin preparing students for dreaming big while in middle and high school. 

School counselor Jacqueline Nguyen was among the founding members of Ánimo Florence-Firestone Charter Middle School when its doors opened in 2016. Over the years, she’s cultivated an inviting and playful counseling space. Her office is full of lively board games and endless pop-culture references to discover. A tranquil sand zen garden sits on her desk, just to the right of a Star Wars nameplate reading “Ms. Nguyen.” “I just try to have different things for the students. Things that fit their personalities,” she said. Nguyen finds that each of her trinkets makes it easier to connect with students and build relationships to better counsel them throughout their journeys. 

Nguyen reflected on how being a counselor feels like planting seeds. “There are times when you'll see the seeds you've planted, and essentially those things that you've been teaching students, come to fruition during your time as a counselor. Then there are times that you won't see that until later in life, and I think it's just been amazing to have a front row seat in their journey and be one of many trusting adults in their lives that are cheering them on on the sidelines. That’s what has grounded me as a counselor, knowing my role as an educator and in helping these students thrive.”

As a member of the counselor advisory group, Nguyen collaborates with Viramontes and Green Dot California counselors Dora Archila, Gloria Guevara, and Leticia Oregel-Reyes towards building an even stronger counseling program across our 18 school sites, focused on driving a culture of success. Together, Green Dot California school counselors are devoted to transforming public education for all students by giving them the support to dream big. 

To catch a glimpse what our counselors have accomplished this year, check out these uplifting and admirable stories: