It’s National School Counselor Week, so we talked to Edina High School’s newest school counselor, Dylan Hackbarth, about the job.
Why is the role of a school counselor important, not just at the high school but at every academic level?
The role of the school counselor is unique within any school setting. School counselors are distinctively positioned to act as a conduit for students, families, teachers, administrators and outside agencies. We help connect the many moving pieces of a school and constantly look at our work and how it impacts the daily lives of young scholars. We support the academic, social/emotional and post-secondary readiness development of all students and constantly ask ourselves, “How are students different because of the work we do?” We help connect the dots and provide necessary supports so students can set goals and achieve them!
I love my job. Sometimes, we see students dealing with significant struggles – it is an honor to work with those students to face their issue, support them as they devise a strategy to move forward. It is also an honor to support students as they develop goals for their futures, whether it is college, military or some other plan – we get to help them reach and attain goals. I also appreciate the opportunity to support student mental health. Being in high school can be a difficult time for a myriad of reasons – it is essential that our students know the support that is here for them. Those are some of the reasons I love being a counselor, here is a brief video our department made to share why some of the other EHS counselors love what they do:
Sometimes we get asked why we go by the title School Counselor versus the more antiquated term, “guidance counselor.” Guidance counselor is a bit of an old-school term that does not necessarily capture the multifaceted nature of the current School Counselor’s role within a school. In the past, “guidance counselors” worked in isolation within a school and focused on vocational guidance. In today’s K-12 educational world, professional school counselors focus on academic, career/post-secondary and social/emotional development of all students. We work collaboratively with all stakeholders (parents, teachers, administrators, outside agencies) to best support students in their specific needs. While “guidance counselors” did not have set standards for practice, today’s School Counselors implement the American School Counseling Association’s framework for counseling practices to orient our work with students and families.
This is your first year at Edina High School. What were you doing before joining the high school?
This is my fourth year as a school counselor. I am originally from Appleton, Wisc., but attended the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. During that time, I met my now-wife (who is an elementary school music teacher in another school district). She had cousins who attended Edina High School, so the school has been on my radar for several years. I even attended the Pops Concert about six years ago.
After my undergrad at the UofM, I had a unique opportunity to work for Oscar Mayer as a “Hotdogger” or Wienermobile Driver/Goodwill Ambassador for one year. Annually, Oscar Mayer hires twelve first-year college graduates to drive their fleet for one year. I learned unique skills related to driving large food-shaped vehicles, using hotdog-related puns and meeting people who love the Wienermobile in almost 40 different states. I actually had to defer my graduate studies to hit the hotdog highways with the “big dog.”
I later attended Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. I was a part of the third cohort of JHU’s unique counselor education program called the School Counseling Fellows. Throughout the data-driven, equity-focused graduate school program, I worked in and around Baltimore. After completing graduate school, I began working at a large high school in Fairfax County Public Schools, just outside of Washington, D.C. My wife and I moved to Capitol Hill in D.C. and worked in surrounding school systems for several years before transitioning back to the Midwest in the summer 2015. I worked as a school counselor in St. Paul Public Schools for a year and feel so excited to have joined the Edina Public Schools community this year!
The week of January 23-27, 2017 has been officially proclaimed Paraprofessional Recognition Week by the Minnesota Department of Education and Governor Mark Dayton, recognizing the "important role that paraprofessionals play in ensuring educational success."
One such paraprofessional is Anne Braun at Countryside Elementary School. Braun is an instructional assistant for the Continuous Progress program and has been part of the Countryside family for quite a while.
"The most rewarding part of my job are the wonderful kids who make every day a little different."
By Christopher Minge, Edina High School student
Did you know that, according to the United Nations, more than 1.2 billion people lack access to clean drinking water? This results in health issues (often mortality), educational issues (due to missed school time), and economic issues (due to missed work time).
I've been aware of the water crisis for several years, on account of my family's relationship with Haiti Outreach. I also knew that the organization was beginning a project to map Haitian water points, using software customized by mWater.
Before this mapping effort, nobody could really identify the thousands of wells in Haiti, the status of those wells (functional, broken, contaminated, clean, etc.), and the distance a given household needed to travel to reach a well. In the past, even when people did create partial lists, the information was very hard to visualize. However, in the present--on account of Haiti Outreach's efforts, and the mWater data platform--it is possible to look at "live" realtime maps for a completed region. Each map shows hundreds of wells, marked in green, yellow or red, based on functionality. Households are marked with dots. At a glance, a person can see if there is a problematic (red) region, or a group of households that is far from clean water. From there, Haiti Outreach and other organizations, can work together with targeted communities in their well-drilling efforts. Yet there is still a very long way to go in this undertaking, as only a few regions have been mapped, and hundreds more remain.
When I heard from a Haiti Outreach employee that--although he loved the mWater software--it would be very useful to have an iPhone app, I realized that this might be my chance to do something truly useful. Before then, I had coded Tetris, Asteroids and other games, but these had done nothing to address any problems in the world. The fact that I also needed an Eagle Scout project for Boy Scouts made the news about the app seem especially serendipitous.
That same evening, I googled "mWater," and found their website. I filled out a contact form, and wondered if anyone would actually read it. It was a bit of a shot in the dark. Yet to my excitement, and a bit of surprise, I soon heard back from Annie Feighery (mWater's CEO) and Clayton Grassick (mWater's CTO). They had actually been looking into adding the iOS platform, and they were willing to let me make the necessary adaptations.
I'm really grateful to the people at mWater for letting me do a project like this, and I’m looking forward to future opportunities to make a difference.