HISD counselors gather for 2024 Counselors’ Appreciation Meeting

Feb. 5-9 marked National School Counseling Week, a time for school communities to come together in appreciation and recognition of the important contributions of our tireless school counselors. This year’s National School Counseling Week theme is “School Counseling: Standards-Based, Student-Focused.” From class schedules to emotional regulation, all the way to choosing and applying to college, school counselors are a vital resource on a student’s educational journey.  

Counseling staff from all over HISD were invited to gather at the Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center to enjoy a lunch buffet and celebrate their vital profession with their colleagues.

“One of the areas in our profession in our country that we continue to struggle with is counseling services,” said Superintendent Mike Miles. “Kids have been struggling, even before Covid. That requires professionals who really know how to help kids in many different areas. We need to make sure that we’re valuing their skills and honoring what they do.”

The meeting was emceed by Twiana Collier, an Education Specialist with Region 4 and a 29-year educator in with a focus on counseling. Collier shared her experience and personal stories about how her school counselor helped to set the trajectory of her life when she was an HISD student at Yates High School.

“The goal is that we are graduating these students and that we’re taking care of them while they’re here,” said Collier to her fellow counselors. “Thank you so much for the impact that you are making.”

River Oaks Elementary counselor Haileigh Pettigrew, Berry Elementary counselor Freddy Viafara, Lovett Elementary counselor Talitha Pinkney, and Chavez High School counselor Erica Scott were invited to share success stories and best practices from their time as counseling professionals, including Pinkney being named the 2023 Elementary School Counselor of the Year.

In addition to raffled prizes and a few surprises for the attendees, HISD also honored several counselors for multiple years of service as well as some other special recognitions, including honoring Counselors Reinforcing Excellence for Student in Texas (CREST) winners, who undertook a rigorous application process to advocate for student support programs on their campuses.

To learn more about HISD’s amazing counselors and available student support resources, visit the Counseling and Student Services website.