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LAB UNVEILING – Martha Thornhill,
interim dean of Southeastern Louisiana University’s College of Education
and Human Development, second from left, joins Tangipahoa Parish School
Board members Sandra Bailey-Simmons, Maxine Dixon, and Al Link in unveiling
the sign on the door of the Counselor Training Lab, which has been created
through a partnership between the university and the school system. The
lab, located at Hammond Westside Upper Elementary, gives Southeastern school
counseling students a setting for hands-on experience and the school system
a way to providing counseling services to elementary grades.
SOUTHEASTERN, TANGI SCHOOLS
COUNSELOR TRAINING LAB
HAMMOND -- A new laboratory to
help train school counselors is a “win-win” project for both Southeastern
Louisiana University and the Tangipahoa Parish School System, educators
from the university and school system agree.
The two parties recently celebrated
the opening of the laboratory with a ceremonial ribbon cutting. Housed
in three rooms at Hammond Westside Upper Elementary, the lab gives Southeastern
graduate students studying to be school counselors an on-site laboratory.
It enables the school system to provide counseling services to elementary
grade students in a cost-effective way.
The lab is used by Southeastern
College of Education and Human Development graduate students enrolled in
their school counseling practicum, said Southeastern counseling professor
Mary Ballard, who supervises the students along with her Southeastern education
colleague Peter Emerson. The practicum provides the first field-based experience
for Southeastern students, who are required to complete 100 hours of supervised
The center consists of a state-of-the-art
observation room sandwiched between two traditional interview rooms. Through
one-way mirrors, supervisors can monitor counselors-in-training as they
work with their young elementary school clients. The supervisor and graduate
student are also linked by audio earpieces, so the supervisor can offer
coaching and guidance. Other practicum students can also observe their
School Superintendent Virgil
Allen, a Southeastern graduate who spent three years as a counselor at
Ponchatoula High School, called the lab “an absolutely powerful tool ...
that will provide a lot of good for a long time.”
“It’s been a long time coming
and we are very proud of it,” Ballard said.
In addition to the practicum
students, each semester five to 10 Southeastern graduate students serve
600-hour internships -- their final step before graduation -- at Tangipahoa
Parish elementary and junior high schools.
The interns receive stipends
through a professional service contract with the university, said the Tangipahoa
Parish School System Administrator-at-Large Beth Moulds. Moulds originally
wrote a grant to finance the paid internships, which have since been picked
up by the school system’s general fund to the tune of approximately $35,000
Currently, six Southeastern counseling
interns are working at Hammond Westside Upper and eight other Tangipahoa
Parish schools. “I would have to pay a master’s level counselor $25,000
a year,” Moulds said. “The Southeastern interns are a significant value
to the school system.”
“Southeastern does a wonderful
job in training interns,” said Mary Broussard, the school system site supervisor
who works with Southeastern counseling students. “I am continually amazed
at their clinical and academic skills and their dedication. They are a
very integral part of the school system.”
Westside Upper Principal Brenda
Johnson said the school is grateful for the partnership with Southeastern
and that the university “had the insight to know that we need counselors
on the elementary level. I can’t see how we ever did without them.”
Current interns are Kelli Bertrand
and Kristen Wood, Slidell; Chris Rheams and Lesa Cabrich, Mandeville; Angele
Landry, Plaquemine; and Glenda Catania Jones, Hammond.
Ballard said Southeastern counseling
students work with elementary students one-on-one and in small groups on
academics, personal, social, and even career concerns. They also conduct
classroom sessions on topics such as conflict resolution and anger management.
The counseling program at Southeastern
offers tracks in community counseling, school counseling, student affairs
counseling, and marriage and family therapy. The program is accredited
by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational
Programs. Southeastern counseling program graduates meet academic requirements
for state licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Louisiana
and many other states.
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