As SJC students return to school, the counseling department and new Student Life Office are preparing to introduce new changes to prepare to adapt to the challenges of the new year.
Despite the circumstances, Mrs. Bell said the goals of the counseling department remain the same as ever: to meet the needs of each student. Each grade level is paired with a counselor and a dean who will stay with that grade level until they graduate. Which allows students to actually build relationships with their counselors as they progress through grade levels. This year only, there will be Wednesday meetings for each grade level, called community building groups, in which students will meet in small groups with their counselor/dean to discuss college apps, extracurricular choices, and their experience with virtual learning. Other clubs and activities will also take place on Wednesday (visit the SJC website for a full list of clubs).
In order to integrate freshmen into the SJC community, the counseling staff has organized in-person orientations and retreats for 9th graders, and plans on encouraging participation in clubs via Wednesday meetings. As for the other grade levels, there will be in-person retreats coming up soon, so check your calendars.
Many sports teams are already conducting socially-distance workouts on Quinn field. The normal services (academic support, writing center, etc.) associated with the counseling department can be found via zoom link on your class canvas page. Counseling letters will be sent out every week with information about the happenings within the SJC community, for example what school/grade activities to look forward to.
In regards to mental health, working from home can be tedious and difficult. Waking up and immediately beginning the work day on a desk five feet from your bed, spending six or seven hours doing schoolwork in your room, and returning to your room at night to begin the process all over again is undeniably taxing.
Mr. Schwartz acknowledges such concerns. “We recognize that many students, parents, and families are struggling with their mental health,” Mr. Schwartz said. To deal with this, SJC is offering a Mental Health Day for juniors on October 7th.
There will be a keynote speaker, and students will break out into groups to address different mental health-related topics. Presumably, Mental Health Days for other classes will take place around the same time, check your class canvas page for specifics.
Secondly, the counseling department will be unveiling a new platform called Thrively, for the purpose of developing students’ social-emotional learning. The details are unclear, but various lessons will be assigned throughout the year so students can have conversations about mental health with their SJC staff and peers.
Lastly, the counseling department will continue to offer one-on-one meetings with students who need support, whether academic or emotional. Above all, the counseling department understands the struggles of online-learning and is doing their best to help students anyway they can.