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National School Counseling Week Shines Spotlight on Educators

February 8, 2012

National School Counseling Week is February 6-10.

Plano ISD counselors are in the spotlight this week - National School Counseling Week, February 6-10 - for their dedication to students. In honor of this week, the Plano ISD Board of Trustees presented a resolution to Paul Weaver, Plano ISD director of guidance and counseling and recognized counselors at their February 7 school board meeting. Mr. Weaver and counselors updated trustees on the many facets of Plano ISD's counseling program. He also announced counselors and principals from five schools who recently won the prestigious CREST (Counselors Reinforcing Excellence for Students in Texas) award and three counselors who are currently serving in state or regional leadership roles.


Paul Weaver

Paul Weaver,
Plano ISD director
of counseling & guidance

Counselors at board meeting

Approximately 50 school counselors attended the February 7 school board meeting where school trustees thanked counselors for their commitment to ensuring the success of all students in Plano schools.

Five Plano ISD Schools Earn State CREST Awards for Comprehensive Guidance Programs


Plano West Senior High School Director of Guidance Ann Raidt and Counselors Tracy Stafford, Michelle Buonasera, Kathy Havel, Linda Puster, Julie Tallant, Michael Kaprelian (Principal is Kathy King)

Five Plano ISD schools have captured CREST awards (Counselors Reinforcing Excellence for Students in Texas.) Application for the award involves providing data supporting the accomplishments of a guidance program. Input in seven areas is gathered: principal’s comments, school counseling advisory council, school climate and safety, student results, major achievements, community partnerships and parent collaboration. The CREST award supports the importance of school counselors in academic performance, social growth and career awareness. This year 36 schools in Texas received the award.

Counselors   Counselor

(above, left) Armstrong Middle School Counselors Scott Pilgrim, Kristina Tafur, and Nikole Roberson (Principal is Steve Ewing)
(above, right) Haun Elementary School
Counselor Marjorie Edge
(Principal is Jayne Smith)


Isaacs Early Childhood School Counselor Kay Glawe
(Principal is Dr. Elaine Schmidt)


Barksdale Elementary Counselors DeLynn Brennan and Jody Clark
(Principal is Jennifer Caplinger)


Plano ISD Counselors Serve in State and Regional Leadership Roles

Three Plano ISD counselors are serving at the state level in leadership roles in professional organizations. They are:

  • Bruce Richardson, director of guidance at Plano Senior High School, is chair-elect of the Southwestern Regional College Board Forum. This forum is an opportunity to meet and learn from college admissions officers in the southwest region of the country. 
  • Lynda Shuttlesworth, executive coordinator of family education and guidance services, is president-elect of the Texas School Counseling Association.
  • Michael Kaprelian, counselor at Plano West Senior High School, is the current president of the Texas School Counseling Association.
Bruce   Lynda   Michael
Bruce Richardson
Lynda Shuttlesworth
Michael Kaprelian

MichaelMichael Kaprelian, Plano West Senior High School counselor, is pictured with Principal Kathy King, who was selected as the 2011 Campus Administrator of the Year by the Texas School Counseling Association. Mr. Kaprelian serves as president of the association. Lynda Shuttlesworth, Plano ISD executive director of family education and guidance services, will succeed Michael as president of the association.





Counseling & Guidance Programs

"Plano ISD's guidance program and counselors' connection to students and families is based on three components," noted Mr. Weaver. "Academic success, personal and social growth, and college and career awareness. We plan our guidance program with these goals in mind," noted Mr. Weaver. "Individual attention is the cornerstone of academic planning for our district. We also respond with support during crisis through excellent training and preparation of our counseling teams."

Counselor and Students

Beaty Early Childhood School Counselor Jan Hughes and students during College & Career Week theme day, “My future’s so bright, I have to wear shades.” 

At all school levels - prek-12 - counselors serve as testing coordinators and offer test interpretation to parents and students. Counselors provide individual attention, family support, relevant guidance lessons and a connection to the greater community.

Family connection takes place in the form of crisis support, referral information and parent education. Counselors partner with several community agencies to give families help with basic needs/ Counselors' relationship with the Assistance Center of Collin County and Operation School Bell has provided Plano ISD families with everything from school supplies to clothing. Food for Kids, crisis intervention and free family counseling with local agencies are just a few of the many services our counselors facilitate.

Elementary Programs

Corinne Dias, counselor at Wyatt Elementary School, shared the following information with trustees. At the elementary level guidance lessons include:

  • personal safety through two excellent programs, Yello Dyno and WHO. Both programs have a strong emphasis on anti-victimization and the importance of being safe. 
  • Our schools are using a new program called R-Time – the lessons foster cooperation and respect with an emphasis on manners. Students are randomly paired and learn to greet one another using names and making eye contact. Activities are designed to help students relate well to each other, raise self-confidence and support learning.
  • Other guidance lessons include Character Education and lessons supporting academic success from organization skills to test taking strategies.
  • Drug Abuse Awareness is promoted district-wide during Red Ribbon Week with special lessons, guest speakers, and motivational assemblies.
  • Most recently, schools completed College and Career Week – a district-wide program supporting post-secondary and career planning as well as college awareness.


Middle School Programs

Nikole Roberson, counselor at Armstrong Middle School, shared with trustees that middle school counselors provide a guidance program addressing the specific needs of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. The program includes the following.

Career Day

  • This year a new program has been implemented called Negotiate – it is the sequel to R-Time (see Elementary Programs above). The philosophy of Negotiate is based on the principle that by placing students in a well-defined and supportive situation, they will develop inter-personal skills and positive relationships. Fundamental to participation is the expectation of good manners and courtesy while engaging in mutually respectful and productive dialogue.  Lessons cover multiple topics including self-respect, gossip, cell phone bullying, friendship, cheating, and honesty.
  • Second Step is available in all middle schools and designed to promote social skills and academic success.  Students learn the protective skills to make good choices and stay engaged in school despite the pitfalls of substance abuse, bullying, cyber bullying, and peer pressure.
  • Be EPICEducated, Pro-Active, Influential, and Changed - Trained presenters from The Turning Point make classroom presentations about appropriate and inappropriate social interactions and sexual harassment.  There is a focus on this form of bullying.
  • Another program is Be Cool. This video-based program presents the paradigm of self-control and assertion training. The modules use real life, everyday classic situations to model the effective use of assertive strategies, as well as the ineffective use of passive and aggressive styles in coping with difficult feelings and difficult people. Topics include coping with stress, harassment, anger and bullying.
  • High school academic planning begins in the eighth grade when -year plans are developed and students learn about graduation requirements and the courses offered in Plano ISD.

High School Programs

Sharon Blum, counselor and team leader at Clark High School, shared the following information with trustees.

Counselor and Students

Jasper High School Counselor Judy Mezick with Jasper students.

  • Guidance lessons are continued in ninth and tenth grade with materials available to address bullying and harassment. The district has provided The Harassment Workshop that includes skits demonstrating appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Bully Free is a program offering grade specific lessons. The author of this program, Dr. Allan Beane, has been to Plano ISD to provide training and information on the effects of bullying and how to address the issue. The lessons promote the Golden Rule, develop empathy, help students understand the nature and destructiveness of bullying, help students who are bullied cope with their feelings and with the bullying, as well as encourage those who bully to stop mistreating others. 
  • Individual academic conferences in the tenth grade prepare students for the senior high school. Schools also offer college admission presentations to parents and students.  Academic opportunities, course selection and graduation requirements are discussed.
  • Counselors offer test interpretation, college admission information, ninth grade transition support and new student orientation for students and families during evening programs.
  • Crisis situations are presented in many ways. Students and families experience loss, financial difficulties and family stress. Students come to counselors for support. Counselors work with Child Protective Services to keep children safe and other agencies to assist families through difficult times.
  • The student who is failing academically or struggling personally knows that the counseling center is a place for support, solutions, and success.

Senior High School Programs

Julie Tallant, counselor at Plano West Senior High School, addressed senior high school programming with trustees.

College Night

  • Senior high counselors are closely involved with students and parents during the college admission process. Letters of recommendation, application assistance and researching colleges are just a few of the activities. Plano ISD hosts two college nights in September at which parents and students have an opportunity to visit with college representatives.
  • Senior high school counselors are very knowledgeable about colleges and universities at the local, state and national level. They have contacts in the admissions offices of many universities as well as specific information regarding post-secondary planning and finding options for students.
  • Parent and student information is offered during breakfast sessions, lunch breaks and evening programs on a variety of topics including financial aid for college, transition to the senior high school and college admission.
  • School counselor crisis response allows counselors to use the training they have to support students and families for immediate need and long term support. Counselors offer encouragement that helps a student get through the day as well as supporting students and families as they deal with tragedy and helping them cope in the aftermath.
  • All 11th grade students participate in an individual academic conference in the spring to review graduation requirements, course selection for the senior year and post-secondary plans. Career exploration is discussed as well as scholarship information and the college application process.




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Spotlight on Melody Jones, McCall Elementary School Counselor

Melody Jones grew up in Tyler, Texas, the daughter of ministers who modeled helping others. Her goal, every day, is to go the extra mile to help students, teachers and parents to succeed. "I've always had the heart to take care of people," says the McCall Elementary School counselor and self-proclaimed conscientious professional teacher.

Melody Jones

"My personal philosophy is 'giving back.' As part of the human race, I give back what was given to me." Melody is among hundreds of Plano ISD school counselors who are in the spotlight during National School Counseling Week, February 6-10. Read more about Melody in this feature story. read