Counseling dept. implements more strategic model

This fall, the Carmel High School counseling department has experienced a complete transformation to increase access to college and career counseling for students starting at a younger age.

Counselors Darren Johnston and Jeff Schatz explain that the new model will allow them to focus solely on the future aspirations of students by delegating other counseling disciplines like class choices, schedule changes and graduation requirements.

Up until this fall, Johnston, Schatz, and counselor Jennifer Goodbody handled student counseling across the boards, with freshmen and sophomores assigned to Goodbody, and juniors and seniors alternating annually between Schatz and Johnston.

The revised system has separated the counseling department into distinct subsections to increase opportunities and efficiency, though this specialization required the hire of counselor Alison Francis to pick up the workload Johnston and Schatz left behind.

“The new model is in response to an increased enrollment, a greater number of seniors, a greater number of seniors applying to four-year colleges and us seeing a need for expanded services,” Johnston explains.

Ultimately, the new framework looks like this: Everything regarding academics at CHS will be handled by Francis and Goodbody alone. Goodbody will work with freshmen and juniors, while Francis will work with sophomores and seniors.

Johnston and Schatz, on the other hand, are now exclusively college and career counselors, splitting junior and senior classes alphabetically for assignment.

According to Schatz, the idea of the new program has been in the works for several years, but it took the school board’s approval over the summer to finally greenlight the change that allowed Principal Rick Lopez to hire Francis before the school year began.

“We were really lucky to find someone so qualified on such short notice,” Schatz says about Francis, noting the fact that most high school hires are conducted and completed by May of the prior year.

Schatz and Johnston are hopeful that with the new counseling model, they will be able to grow the college and career department of CHS in reaching out to create connections with colleges and in the community to provide the most thorough and succinct information for students on a wide variety of topics to help students make the most informed decisions about their futures.

-Anna Gumberg