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Mena Arkansas News covering Polk County and the surrounding area

School counselors celebrate during National School Counseling Week, Feb. 6–10, 2023 

National School Counseling Week 2023, “School Counselors: Helping Students Dream Big,” sponsored by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), will be celebrated from Feb. 6–10, 2023, to focus public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors within U.S. school systems and how students are different as a result of what school counselors do. National School Counseling Week highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career. 

The special week honoring school counselors provides recognition for school counselors who “implement comprehensive school counseling programs, a vital part of the educational process for all students as they meet the challenges of the 21st century,” according to Mena Mayor Seth Smith and Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison. 

In a proclamation, Mayor Smith and Judge Ellison cited school counselors for being actively engaged in helping students examine their abilities, strengths, interests and talents; for working in a partnership with parents as they encounter the challenges of raising children in today’s world; for focusing on positive ways to enhance students’ academic, career and social/emotional development; and working with teachers and other educators to provide an educational system where students can realize their potential and set healthy, realistic and optimistic aspirations for themselves. School counselors are certified, experienced educators with a master’s degree in school counseling. The combination of their training and experience makes them an integral part of the total educational program. School counselors serving our school districts are: 

Linda Heath, ORSD – Acorn Elementary School Counselor 

Tammy Young, ORSD – Acorn High School Counselor 

KyLynn Ledbetter, ORSD Mental Health Counselor & Therapist 

Apryl Philpot, ORSD – Oden K-12 School Counselor 

Jill Hunter, Cossatot River High School Counselor 

Gina Rosson, Cossatot River High School Counselor 

Diane Richardson, Cossatot River Elementary School Counselor 

Avanlea Chaney, Mena – Louise Durham Elementary School Counselor 

Tonya Thacker, Mena – Holly Harshman Elementary School Counselor 

Leilani Rose, Mena Middle School Counselor 

Tim Walston, Mena High School 9th Grade School Counselor 

Shannon Lyle, Mena High School 10-12th Grade School Counselor 

“School counselors work with all students to remove barriers to learning by addressing students’ academic concerns, career options and social/emotional skills,” said Jill Cook, ASCA executive director. “School counseling programs help to increase student achievement and provide a much-needed resource for students, parents, teachers and administrators. School counselors are integral to student success.” 

More than 100,000 school counselors nationwide will be participating in the week’s festivities. Many schools will be hosting special events and activities to call attention to the countless benefits of a comprehensive school counseling program. 

Parents or community members with specific questions or concerns about school counseling programs should contact the school counselors at their local schools. More general information can also be found on ASCA’s website, 

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