From Our Schools: Boyle encourages student growth through the Individual Student Success Plan

Published 12:47 pm Monday, October 9, 2017

By Mia Kendrick

Boyle County High School

When someone first walks into Boyle County High School, one might see a slew of people crowding the lobby. Along with the students, it is easy to spot the administrators, the teachers, and the janitors, all who play an important role in making the school run efficiently. However, some of the most dedicated workers are tucked away in a small office in the back of a room in the corner of a hallway.

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Although these staff members are not roaming the halls or interacting with students in classrooms, they arguably have the most knowledge about all students who attend the high school. These kind and caring people are our guidance counselors.

Amy Reynolds and Dana Stigall individually assist every student with a variety of high school issues ranging from scheduling classes to mediating conflicts to sharing college and scholarship information.

Helping students is their forte, so it comes as no surprise that both of the counselors were willing to begin a new initiative introduced by Assistant Superintendent David Young last spring.

The goal is to make a more personable connection with each student in order to help them identify their individual path past graduation. Reynolds describes the goal of the Individual Student Success Plan. “Really, the goal of the program is to help students think about what they want to do after high school, what goals they have for themselves, and what we can do to help support them.”

Before meeting with a counselor, students will be asked to take the StrengthsExplorer survey through Naviance (a district purchased guidance tool) which will help them identify possible career paths corresponding to their individual strengths. Afterwards, a 20-minute meeting will be scheduled to analyze results in order to create a personalized course of action.

Post-secondary planning is the goal. Reynolds emphasizes, “Our hope is that it will help all students learn more about their interests, and about how to connect those interests with college and career.”

Reynolds understands that putting this plan into action is not going to be easy, there will be stumbling blocks along the way. “So when we’re looking at a student’s strengths and weaknesses, we’re going to talk about obstacles. What are the things that may prevent you from being able to reach your goals? It would be very individualized to the student.”

The counselors plan to meet with every student before Christmas and again before spring scheduling each school year. In these meetings, students will learn more than just college and career readiness. Reynolds elaborates, “It’s also about life skills like organization, meeting deadlines, and good decision making.”

As with any initiative, idea development, organization, and training encompasses many people. Reynolds shares that everyone from the board of education to the technical staff at the high school have played an important role in readying the student success plan.

Boyle’s dedicated staff has prepared for this program throughout the summer, and now they are ready to offer this incredible, personalized opportunity to the students. No longer will the counselors be tucked away alone in their small office, they will always be accompanied by a student.