Julia Morse » Q&A With The School Counselor: Mrs. Morse

Q&A With The School Counselor: Mrs. Morse

What's the difference between "Guidance Counselor" and "School Counselor"

Historically, the term “guidance counselor” was used to reference counselors working within the school system. These counselors’ main role was to “guide” students to college: writing letters of recommendation and sending out transcripts. However, this role has evolved in the past decade, and many schools are now using the term “school counselor” instead.


School counselors are highly trained and support students in many ways in addition to guiding them to college or post-secondary opportunities. The role itself has evolved from a focus on post-graduation planning and administrative support to today’s focus on embracing a comprehensive approach to optimize student outcomes in much more than just college planning. Focus areas include emotional support, family intervention, social development, academic guidance, and career planning. School counselors are now a strong, collaborative member of an educational team.
I am a 2012 graduate of SUNY Plattsburgh's CACREP Accredited School Counseling Program where I hold a Master's of Education and Certificate of Advanced Study in School Counseling. I also hold certification with the New York State Department of Education. I am a mandated reporter with certifications in Child Abuse Awareness along with other training in Suicide Awareness and Prevention, Dignity For All Students (DASA), School Violence, Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBA) and Behavior Intervention Plans (BIP).  


What opportunities and support will the guidance office be providing for our students for the 2018-2019 school year?

Since I’m new to the School Counseling Office and the district, you’ll find that I will be focusing much of my time on learning about the students and the services we’ve provided in the past. My goal for the 2018-2019 school year is to continue offering many of those services, enhance some of them, and even start to provide new services for our students.


The School Counseling Office is first and foremost here to support our students at LCS. My office is open to all students who are looking for any assistance with academic, career, or emotional/social needs. The 5-12 Guidance Office is a Safe Space, fostering an environment in which a person or category of people can feel confident that they will not be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment, or any other emotional or physical harm.

Throughout the 2018-2019 school year, as I get to know our students and build a rapport with them, I will be on the lookout for opportunities that will enhance their academic experience. I hope to attend regional meetings with other school counselors to learn what they do in their schools and see if any of their programs or initiatives would be a good fit for our students.  Currently on the calendar is the SUNY Roadshow which introduces the SUNY System to high school juniors, the OFA College Fair which invites hundreds of colleges to the local area for our seniors to learn more about college offerings, and the Health Care Career Field Fair, which introduces the variety of career opportunities in the Health Care Field to our sophomores.


How will you be working to prepare our secondary students for life after graduation?

Life after high school is different and while some find the transition seamless, others can find it challenging.  With the district-wide implementation of the Positivity Project, I hope to incorporate those concepts with how I help students prepare for the future.  The Positivity Project teaches our students how to build strong relationships by recognizing key character strengths in themselves and others. The idea is to create citizens and leaders who will enhance our communities and country by sharing in the belief that “Other People Matter.”  Some of the key character strengths that we’ll focus on throughout the year include Open-Mindedness, Kindness, Integrity, Social Intelligence, Perseverance, and Leadership. These are all characteristics that can help our students become productive members of society who are able to maximize their potential in an ever-changing world.


What recommendations can you provide for our Juniors and Seniors as they prepare for commencement?

For those juniors and seniors who are college bound, my best advice is to do the research and visit campuses.  You can’t get a feel for a campus and see if a college is a good fit for you if you don’t visit. Keep an eye out for school trips, ask friends to tag along or get a group of friends together: just to gain more college exposure and experience.  Know you want to go to college but unsure what you want to study? Stop down in the School Counseling Office to do some interest and skill surveys to see what field may be best suited for you.


For my juniors and seniors who are career ready now, start building your résumé.  Arrange some after-school job shadowing, pick up a part-time job either after school or during the summer.  Get as much experience as possible. Identify a mentor in your field and build a relationship: this person can become a great reference for you when applying for jobs! And lastly, ensure you have all the proper qualifications to enter the field of work you desire.  Please feel free to come down to the School Counseling Office and ask for some help!


Whether you’re going off to college or entering the world of work, you need to keep focusing on your school work and earn good grades.  Transcript requests are more and more prevalent in job searches and are 100% required for all college applications. It is essential to continue to study and do the absolute best you can.  No one wants to see a “senior slump” as you approach the finish line. The pathways are different but both require hard work, dedication, and a high school diploma!


What are some great tips and pointers for our grades 7 and 8 students as they prepare for high school?

Preparing and transitioning to high school can be tough but the School Counseling Office is here for you!  Please stop down if you have any concerns with your schedule, class selection, or if you just want to talk.

My best advice for my junior high students is to start developing good habits.  Here are a few examples of what you can start working on:

  1. Being on Time:  As you finish junior high and transition to high school, you will learn that being on time can be essential to attaining success.  Be sure to get to school on time every day, be in your seat in your classroom before the bell rings every period, and hand in your homework on time for every class.
  2. Being prepared: Being on time is great but only if you’re prepared.  Make sure you have all of your textbooks, notebooks, pens, pencils, and any other materials you need to be successful in your class.  This good habit will help you achieve academic success in the classroom which will translate well into your future career!
  3. Staying Organized: Staying organized can help you in and out of the classroom.  An organized locker can ensure that you can easily find your textbook and binder for your next class, which can help you get to class on time and be prepared.  An organized planner can help you see what homework assignments you have and when they are due which can help you prioritize what work needs to be done first so that all of your work is completed and turned in on time.
  4. Communicating Effectively: Talk to your parents, teachers, principals, and guidance counselors.  Make sure they are aware of what is going on if you’re experiencing a problem, or if you want to celebrate an achievement.  Being able to communicate your needs to a teacher or parent can help you reach your academic goals.