Merced County Times Newspaper
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Livingston schools recognized nationally for counseling programs

Counselors at two Livingston elementary schools have been recognized nationally for their comprehensive counseling programs.

Andres Zamora, Livingston Union School District superintendent, said counselors at Selma Herndon and Campus Park schools have been singled out by the American School Counselors Association. That follows similar honors last year for Livingston Middle School from the organization.

“Our goal is to ensure students come to school well-adjusted, confident and ready to learn. They are one of the few elementary schools with a full-time counselor,” Zamora said.

Kuljinder Sekhon, the district’s assistant superintendent of instruction and pupil services, said counselors provide direct support to students.

“Society’s changing. We see more of a need for social-emotional support than ever. Support is always going to be needed,” Sekhon said.

Zamora said the counselors are teaching organization, responsibility and problem-solving skills with their peers on social issues. Livingston counselors were recognized during a formal ceremony at the association’s summer convention in Boston.

“As superintendent, I feel very proud we’ve been able to shape this program. Our counselors are really phenomenal, dedicated and caring, making a positive difference in students. The heart of the program is the people,” Zamora said.

Sekhon said for any program to be effective there has to be support from the superintendent and the school board. These efforts, including providing professional development, supplies and resources, make the program possible, she added.

Sekhon said the counselors’ association national model integrates data-informed decision-making, a developmentally appropriate curriculum focused on mindsets and behaviors that all students need for postsecondary readiness and success, and closing achievement and opportunity gaps. The result is improved student achievement, attendance and discipline.

This year, 71 schools in 21 states received the Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) designation during a special ceremony at the American School Counselor Association’s Annual Conference in Boston, Mass.

The RAMP designation, awarded for aligning with the criteria in the ASCA National Model, recognizes schools committed to delivering a comprehensive, data-informed school counseling program and an exemplary educational environment. Since the program’s inception, nearly 900 schools have been designated as RAMP recipients.

“This year’s RAMP honorees have shown their commitment to students and the school counseling profession,” said Jill Cook, ASCA assistant director. “These schools used data to drive their program development and implementation so all students can achieve success. RAMP designation distinguishes these schools and encourages school counselors nationwide to strive for excellence.”

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