Wolf Creek gets update on guidance counselor

WATERFORD — The Wolf Creek Board of Education at its regular monthly meeting Monday night at Waterford High School heard a detailed presentation from part-time guidance counselor Beth Morris about student activities and her job.

Morris said the job elements of being a school counselor have broadened significantly in recent years. Counselors were a primary resource for students to use in their pursuit of college, but the position now includes helping students who have emotional and social development challenges, anxiety and depression.

“We have students coming in with those issues,” she told the board. She later noted she has “10 regular students” who come to see her with a range of such concerns weekly.

“Five years ago it wasn’t nearly what it is now,” Superintendent Doug Baldwin said.

Morris began the counseling position last year when the previous counselor retired after 15 years, but Morris also continues to teach Family and Consumer Sciences, she said.

The district also has a half-time elementary counselor, but Baldwin said later that both positions probably needed to be more than half-time.

“Counseling has become more needed and more time consuming than it was just a few years ago,” he said, and noted for the board that Morris had devoted significant uncompensated time last year to her counseling work, which included a steep learning curve.

In addition to challenges, however, students also have a new range of opportunities, Morris said. The state is expected to issue final criteria for three new types of honors diplomas, students now have the option to take Marietta College courses at the school, and advanced placement opportunities can see high schoolers graduate with associate degrees, she said.

But the pressure is on for juniors, she said: The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) has moved to Oct. 1, and that means colleges and universities are moving their deadlines, too.

“Juniors need to be visiting colleges now,” she said.

As school counselor, she helps parents and students connect with scholarships, and she said she’s looking forward to posting the 34-page list of potential scholarships on the district’s new website, which should be operational soon.

The board approved several measures:

¯ A contract with the Ohio Valley Education Service Center for $378,123.94 for provision of special education services.

¯Cathy Bennett as freshman volleyball ball coach for $1,280.

¯ Dr. Jeremy Waters as team physician for football, at no cost.

¯ Supplemental service contracts totalling $12,916.80, primarily for technology services.

Baldwin in his report advised the board that the district has the opportunity to have an energy audit done by Plug Smart, a consulting firm, for a cost to the district $2,200. He noted that the HVAC system at the elementary school is aging and maintenance costs are increasing.

The next board meeting is at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9 at Waterford High School.