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School counselors guide students toward the future | News, Sports, Jobs

SALEM — School counselors still prepare students for life after high school, but there’s more to the job these days than just passing out a few college brochures.

The Salem Jr./Sr. High Counseling Department, comprised of Megan Ellis, Ashley Taafe and Amber Waller, explained to school board members during a recent meeting what they do, day in and day out, to help students in areas of career, academic and personal/social experiences.

“Not everybody realizes what that department has evolved into,” high school principal and assistant superintendent Sean Kirkland said.

Waller, who joined the department last year, said they use the graduation tracker to engage students and introduce them to tools they can use to stay on top of their education and figure out their career path, including Ohio Means Jobs.

“We really are trying to sell students on education. (They) don’t have to be held back by roadblocks in life,” she said.

According to a handout they provided to board members, students can use the website Ohio Means Jobs to “create an online account where they can take self assessment career inventories, research careers based on their interests, choose a pathway to a career, and research programming and funding to enter those careers.

Helping students choose a career pathway early engages them in their education and helps them make real world connections.”

Ellis created the graduation tracker during a summer conference. The program is an interactive spreadsheet where students can keep track of their end of course exams and their credits needed for graduation. They can also see their grade point average and class rank.

Taafe explained that counselor responsibilities involve more than just the students. They also work with the teaching staff, administrators, parents and the community. They work on professional development, scheduling, plan activities, help students with social/emotional needs, academic intervention, college/career planning and group…

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