Pacific Crest Middle School is now one of just three schools in Oregon to be a Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP), according to a recent release from the American School Counselor Association. This distinction caps a nearly two-year process led by counselors Ashlee Davis and Andy Krauthoefer that involved collecting data, creating innovative programs, listening to an advisory team and documenting their efforts.
“We are excited to celebrate the work that has been done at Pacific Crest and recognize the tremendous dedication and passion it took to achieve this distinction. This honor is a wonderful way to shine a light on the outstanding counseling efforts happening not only at Pacific Crest – but at schools throughout our district. Our school counselors guide students through social-emotional challenges, teach students interpersonal skills and resilience and support them with academics,” said Jim Boen, Executive Director of Middle Schools, who oversees counseling throughout Bend-La Pine Schools.
Davis and Krauthoefer see their work as very much connected to academics. For the RAMP process, they measured the effectiveness of their counseling efforts by targeting two areas: they wanted students grades to increase and they wanted student absenteeism to go down.
“Our job is to normalize what students are going through. Grown-ups can roll their eyes and laugh about some of the issues students face, but for them, it’s real,” said Davis. “Anxiety, depression, home life instability, friendship drama – all of that impacts students’ ability to access their education.”
In addition to teaching in classes, running small student groups and meeting with students one-on-one, Davis and Krauthoefer have formed many programs and initiatives including a career fair for eighth-graders, a school-wide kindness campaign, regular parent nights focusing on students’ social and emotional needs (the next parent night is January 29 — see details below) to name a few. The certification also required them to document their time and show that they spent 80 percent or more of their time each day working with students.
“We want to build positive, lasting relationships with the students,” said Krauthoefer. “We are counselors, so we believe social-emotional health is as important as academics.”
“This is a big deal for our school and our district. Not only does it reflect a high level of commitment and hard work on the part our counseling team, but it also reflects our school's commitment to the social and emotional well-being of our children,” said Pacific Crest Principal Chris Boyd.
Learn more about the ASCA and the RAMP certification process at their website.
More on the Teenage Brain event Jan. 29
Pacific Crest Middle School counselors Andy Krauthoefer and Ashlee Davis will host a parent information night about the teenage brain on Tuesday, Jan. 29 at 6 p.m. at Pacific Crest.
Davis says adolescence can be a challenging time for students as their developing brains sort through body changes, test anxiety, friendship drama, academic challenges and more. During the event, Krauthoefer and Davis will explain the adolescent brain ESSENCE, which stands for Emotional Spark, Social Engagement, Novelty-seeking and Creative Exploration.
Some of these unique qualities of adolescent brains can be positives — such as how they excel at creativity. “If you want a solution to a problem, ask a middle schooler!” said Davis. “We are going to share with parents and students how to use these aspects for their benefits.”
Davis and Krauthoefer will also explain why it’s normal for adolescents to start pushing away from parents at this time — and what parents can do to support their students.