Celebrated in the first week of February, National School Counseling Week highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career. Irving ISD is proud to recognize the Singley Academy counseling team for all of their achievements including recently earning the highly-coveted CREST (Counselors Reinforcing Excellence for Students in Texas) Award.
— Irving ISD Counseling (@Counseling_IISD) February 5, 2024
The CREST Award by TSCA (Texas School Counselor Association) recognizes schools with exemplary counseling programs that demonstrate a commitment to improving the lives and achievements of students in academic, career and personal social domains.
CREST scores counseling programs in five categories:
- Introduction to the school and the role of the professional school counselor
- Program implementation cycle
- Foundational components
- Four service delivery components
- Program curriculum
“Last year, we made it our goal,” says Kaniesha McEwen, Lead Counselor at Singley Academy. “We were already doing the work, but we just needed to put it on paper. We all used our strengths to make it come together, and I am so proud of us.”
That level of camaraderie inspired us to shine a spotlight on each member of the award-winning counseling team. Get to know a little more about them below.
Lead Counselor, Singley Academy
Coming from a family of educators, I always knew I was going to pursue education as a career. As a counselor, we get to see the whole student. We see when they are struggling, when they are doing well and when they graduate. It is awesome to get to go through it all with them.
My greatest piece of advice for students is that your situation is your situation. While it may not be a good situation, you know that when you come here, you are away from that situation. Try your best to keep a smile on your face, and do not let it get you down. When you are unable to smile, reach out to us. Do not be afraid to ask for help and support.
Lead Counselor, Singley Collegiate Academy
I have always had the calling to help other people, and I feel like a counselor can be the person who can guide a student to make responsible decisions in the future. Sometimes, students have a mindset that is “me” focused and do not see the whole picture. Academics can come and go, but developing your character traits is what stays with you in the end.
My favorite part about my job is that it is all about the kids. We are in the customer service business, and our clients are our students and their parents. When our students graduate from high school, I want them to be responsible citizens in the community. It boils down to what can I do to help them, and if they are successful, I feel successful.
I like celebrating any and all wins for our students. While the wins may be different for every student, they need to understand that they do not need to compare themselves to their peers. Their journey is their own journey. It is important for them to find the positives in their own life and use that as a springboard toward whatever they want to go toward.
My greatest piece of advice for students is that there is no timeline. You do not have to go straight into college, or the workforce. There is no set plan or formula that everyone has to follow.
Culinary/Hospitality, Studio Arts
I have always liked the quote, “You become the person you needed.” We are who students need – their listening ears to whom they bring their questions and concerns. They look to us for the guidance and support that maybe their parents or guardians are not always able to provide. When I was in high school, I needed that, and that is why I chose to become a counselor.
The greatest piece of advice I would give to students is to be proud of all the things that make them special, instead of trying to fit in. Work hard at developing the gifts and talents that set you apart.
Technology, Support Services, Cybersecurity, Robotic Manufacturing, Video Game Design
I feel like I am a helper and I truly enjoy helping students, parents and staff.
My favorite part of my job is when the kids graduate, especially the ones who were struggling and I was able to help along the way. I love it when they come back to visit and remind me of that.
Law, Law Enforcement, Homeland Security, GIS
I decided to pursue a career as a counselor because I wanted to be able to help students from a different capacity. I wanted to be able to slow down a bit to help and guide students to the best of my ability.
The greatest piece of advice I would give to students is to not let your past define you. You are still learning how to navigate this world and still have time to create your own path.