Day 114, “Sweetwater Sisters”

Thanks to Dr. Carberry, a cohort of new SUHSD counselors have had the opportunity to attend the New Counselor Leadership Institute, offered by the San Diego County Office of Education.  The Institute is a series of six workshops where topics range from preparing our students to be college/career ready to building positive student development.  Our last workshop held on January 31st focused on “Strengths-Based Student Group Facilitation.”

During the day, we were exposed to many different approaches to providing groups on campus, including counseling groups, support groups, and educational groups.  As “The Sweetwater Sisters,” we represented 4 different high school sites (Eastlake, Olympian, Mar Vista, Hilltop) and practiced our facilitation skills around the topic of “stress management.”  Not only were we able to role-play and provide feedback, but we were also able to make valuable connections to one another.

“The most exciting aspect of this training is bringing the knowledge back to our sites to plan our own support groups to meet the needs of our students,” exclaimed Carla Jacobo.

According to Kristen Ereno, the training helped remind her of how important and powerful groups are for students.  She plans to increase the number of groups offered on campus and personally seeks to implement an empowerment group for young ladies.

“Receiving a binder filled with resources and ideas made this one of the best training in the series so far,” said Ilyana Castaneda.  Furthermore, Ilyana expanded upon the fact that the activities presented during the training could easily be used for our students and at staff meetings.

For Bibiana Jones, the workshop was enriching in helping her identify how she can deliver more authentic services to her students.  She also acknowledges the value of teamwork and collaboration with her colleagues.

As for Liliana Barron, she was reminded about the power of connection that groups can provide with staff, peers, and their school.  “In strengthening these bonds,” she says, “we are building an essential component to student success.”

As new counselors, we are proud to be members of this school district and appreciate the support of the district in providing us with professional development opportunities to better serve our students.  Our own counseling teams at our site have been incredible mentors and invaluable to our growth as counselors.  We look forward to the remaining three trainings of the Institute — a School Counselor Leadership Conference at the University of San Diego, Building Asset Based Relationships with Youth, and Youth Mental Health First Aid.

This blog was written by the following “Sweetwater Sisters”: Carla Jacobo, second year counselor at Hilltop High School; Bibiana Jones and Kristen Ereno are second year counselors at Eastlake High School;  Ilyana Castaneda, first year counselor and 13 year SUHSD educator. Liliana Barron has been at Olympian High School since 2015.  Edrey Ledezma is a second year counselor at Mar Vista High School.