FMPSD Celebrates School Counselling Week
School Counselling Week runs from February 4 to 8, 2019. Fort McMurray Public School District (FMPSD) thanks our school counsellors for helping students daily. FMPSD has a school counsellor in each school. We also have four District Mental Health Therapists, a Certified Play Therapist as well as a Mental Health Coordinator.
Sponsored by the School Counsellors Chapter of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) - this “national event aims to focus public attention on the unique contribution of professional school counsellors within Canadian school systems. Canadian School Counselling Week highlights the tremendous impact school counsellors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career.”
In addition, this “special week honouring school counsellors provides recognition for school counsellors who implement comprehensive school counselling programs, a vital part of the educational process for all students as they meet the challenges of the 21st century.”
Mellanie Fraser, Mental Health Coordinator, FMPSD, explains the many roles FMPSD counsellors have.
“Our School Counsellors and Therapists facilitate so many services for our children and their families. Some of the programs they have implemented are: WITS (Walk Away, Ignore, Talk it Out, Seek Help) bullying prevention program in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association, and the RCMP; Heart Math, an emotion regulation, stress and anxiety program; Bounce Back - trauma program for elementary students, CBITS (Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools) - for secondary students; Circle of Security Parent Group program to support parents and families; and safety initiatives like Be Safe, Who Do You Tell, and Kids in the Know, to name a few.”
In addition, Fraser explains, counsellors work closely with local agencies like Some Other Solutions mentors to support students and families.
“Our counsellors and therapists wear many hats on any given day and they should be commended for their tireless commitment for putting our students and families first. Whether it is implementing a program, one on one counselling or therapy or connecting them to external supports in our community, our Counsellors and Therapists go over and above for our Fort McMurray Public School District families.”
Karina Webb is one of those counsellors whose commitment speaks for itself.
Karina Webb (second from left) with the Canadian Mental Health Association and Some Other Solutions teams
“I take great joy in being the school counsellor at École Dickinsfield School, it is an absolute honour. Sometimes children come to me sad and worried. It is so rewarding when we can work together and they leave my office feeling lighter. I get a chance to make everybody feel like somebody! It's a tough, demanding job at times but such a wonderful environment to work in, every day children make me smile and laugh,” explains Webb, who has been with FMPSD since 2001.
For Natalie Doucette, who has been an FMPSD School Counsellor for four years, “this career path has been greatly challenging and wonderfully rewarding.”
Natalie Doucette at a Walter and Gladys Hill Public School WITS Assembly
“I cherish the countless opportunities I have had to work with students individually and in small group settings as this has given me the privilege to get to know them on a personal and very honest level.”
“Children are so innately resilient and I am so passionate about advocating for their needs at school, in their homes and in this community, and I am so lucky to be part of such a strong team through our District. School Counsellors provide fast, efficient and research-based services to students and their families in need. It requires us to be greatly flexible, creative and passionate about our work. This job is a calling and I am so fortunate to be in such a role,” Doucette added.
Shannon Noble, Assistant Superintendent, Inclusive Education, FMPSD thanks all the counsellors.
“We appreciate the dedication and diligence our school counsellors and mental health workers bring to the schools each day. These behind-the-scenes workers are the go-to for our students, and staff. Thank you for your help, and your commitment.”
Doug Nicholls, Superintendent, FMPSD, echoed similar sentiments.
“School counsellors are an integral part of our District. Whether it is career planning, helping out with a challenging day, or just being there to listen, they do so much for our students. For this, and everything they do - we thank them.”