Going For Gold
HSE Schools Receive Gold Star Designation By Indiana Department of Education
Photography Provided by HSE Schools
That means all schools in the Hamilton Southeastern district have exhibited the highest level of school counseling professionalism in Indiana and will be recognized at the annual Indiana School Counselor Association Fall Conference in November.
It’s a remarkable achievement, and it’s one that can be credited largely to the $2 million, 4-year Lilly Endowment Comprehensive Counseling Initiative grant, and a lot of hard work by about 600 educators and volunteers.
“Receiving the Gold Star designation is evidence of the collaboration it takes among educators and staff for students to be successful,” says Dr. Jennifer McCormick, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction. “I want to recognize and commend these schools for understanding the tremendous impact school counselors and school and community members have in helping our students become fully prepared for life beyond high school.”
Educators and volunteers have already participated in a nine-month, rigorous process of reviewing student data from the American Student Achievement Institute’s Guiding All Kids survey, establishing goals for student outcomes, aligning efforts to counseling standards and committing to maximizing the time school counselors spend in direct service of students, says Freedom Kolb, who is serving as the Special Projects Officer for the Student Success Team at Hamilton Southeastern Schools and spearheading the school district’s counseling improvement efforts.
The goal of the school district’s efforts is to help students “master standards in the areas of academic, career and citizenship development, overcome personal and/or social concerns that are interfering with learning and make sound educational choices like choosing to come to school, turn in homework, enroll in tough courses and enroll in extra-help programs,” according to the American Student Achievement Institute.
Kolb says the strength of Hamilton Southeastern Schools is these efforts are simply improving upon great systems already in place.
Earning the Gold Star designation for all schools is an indication of “always keeping students at our core,” Kolb says. “For students to be successful, we need to give every individual student what they need.”
With this effort, Hamilton Southeastern Schools wants everyone in the community involved.
“It’s every adult’s responsibility in the community to guide students,” Kolb says. “Collectively, we work together to reach a student’s highest potential.”
Kolb says many business owners and other professionals have been a fantastic resource for students in giving opportunities for internships, coming to schools to teach lessons and in many other ways.
Parents are also great stakeholders, Kolb says.
Jodi Osmun, a parent who serves on the Riverside Intermediate School steering committee, has two children in the Hamilton Southeastern Schools system. Osman says she is excited to see a greater focus on the emotional and social well being of all Hamilton Southeastern Students, as well as efforts to guide students into careers or trades after high school.
“So many times we focus on standardized tests,” Osmun says. “There’s so much testing done, sometimes I feel we might miss the whole of the child. This is a game changer in that regard.”
Osmun says she has already noticed changes in the classroom and looks forward to seeing new techniques and processes implemented in coming years.
For more information, visit hse.k12.in.us/ADM/home.aspx.