Last week was Student Services week here in Collier County and across the state of Florida. So you’re probably wondering, what student services? A bunch is my best answer.
There’s actually a Student Services department (used to be called Pupil Services many moons ago) which provides services, as you might suspect, to our students and schools. Services include everything from school counselors to school social workers. Then there are school psychologists, hard at work in our schools each day and at the ready to serve as members of the district’s crisis team when needed at one of our 50 schools.
You can learn when the team might be pressed into service, the kinds of problems that result in the team being dispatched, and find out what sort of help team members provide to students and staff when they are sent to a school by watching a TV show.
Gina White, the coordinator of psychological services, guests on the current edition of the District Digest show, on TV at 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday evenings on the Education Channel, Comcast cable 99, and on the web at www.collierschools.com/comm/index.asp.
Back to the school counselors piece of student services; two of ours have been named state of Florida Elementary and High School Counselors of the Year by the Florida School Counselor Association — Pam Green, from Big Cypress Elementary School, and Cathy Hargis, counselor department chair at Palmetto Ridge High School. Both are education veterans of 23 years and 27 years, respectively. Nice to see them receiving statewide recognition for their outstanding work. And Chris Smith, counselor at our Beacon High School, will assume the presidency of the Florida School Counselor Association this summer.
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. Our school district office of Safe and Drug Free Schools is hoping to heighten awareness in keeping with a new School Board policy dealing with dating violence and/or abuse. Here are some rather shocking statistics, I think. One in three adolescent girls in the U.S. is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner; young people who actually do experience physical violence in a dating relationship are more likely to use drugs and alcohol and even more likely to attempt suicide; and only 33 percent of teens in abusive relationships actually tell anyone. Perhaps more disturbing is the fact that 81 percent of parents either believe that teen dating violence is not an issue or admit that they don’t even know if it is. Not good!