NW new staff full interview with Barb Legate, the new school counselor
What does your position entail?
As a school counselor, I represent students with the last names F-L. We are primarily academic advisors, helping students with grades, creating schedules and making sure that they’re taking courses that fulfill graduation requirements. We are sometimes the person that students may see if they’re having a crisis and need to be referred perhaps to the social worker or someone else. We do help with future planning for college careers. We’re blessed in that we have the college advisor Davis, in our building. She helps students a lot of times with all things that are college-related, college applications. We now have an additional school counselor that was added, it’s the real world counselor, and she helps with all things testing, college credit or jobs internships. My role is primarily academic in nature.
What does a day in your life look like?
I have to be very flexible. A day in my life is typically visiting with students. I can come in with a plan and believe that I know what I’m going to get accomplished that day. It seems to go in a completely different direction. I think you have to be very flexible as a counselor. It depends on the time of year, but right now we’re still helping students work through any kind of scheduling conflicts that they may have. We’ve recently started visiting with students that may have some sort of a struggle. Perhaps it’s attendance, or it might be several low grades, and we just want to get a jumpstart on those things. We’ve been scheduling appointments with those students and still enrolling new students. In fact, I have a new student Friday morning. It depends upon the time of year. I’m looking at scholarship opportunities for students. We’re getting ready as a group for the test day that’ll be coming up in October, so PSAT, practice ACT all of those fun things. We’re getting ready for those, but right now, it’s still a lot of the beginning of the year activities with the schedules with the new students, trying to get students off on a good start that sort of thing.
What inspired you to go into this field?
I really enjoy working with people in high school. I’ve always enjoyed it because I felt like it’s really just working with adults. I feel like we can have adult conversations and that I’m making a difference for somebody in terms of what they’re going to do in the future. So I just really enjoy this age group. I enjoy helping students come up with plans, search for colleges, be the best that they can be in high school and why that’s important so that they can then go out into the workforce and feel prepared for that. So that’s the part I think that I really enjoy. I certainly like and don’t mind doing paperwork and all of that but I much prefer it when a student comes in and we can sit down and work through some of the future planning steps.
What makes Northwest stand out from other schools?
I think one of the things that I noticed about Northwest is that I am still meeting people. But certainly the people that I have met have all been just super nice, including the students. I feel like as a group, they’re a pretty cohesive group, they seem to get along with one another and come from very different backgrounds. But I think that’s what strikes me the most is the fact that the building staff, students the parents that I’ve met are very easy to work with have demonstrated to me that they come from diverse backgrounds, but they managed to work well together. In that sense to me, it’s really a model to other schools.
Highlight of the year so far?
I feel like simply meeting people, because that’s new to me, has been a highlight for all of the people that I’ve come across. I enjoy it. My own son plays college sports, so that’s probably something I’ve helped a few kids with regard to already, like directing them to the ad, helping them to pick appropriate courses and talking about the recruiting process. That’s been fun to me, working with students who are struggling, and I feel like I could make a difference with suggestions, study tips, that kind of thing. So that’s been rewarding. I think the biggest thing is just getting to know people because, obviously the first week or two when I was there, it was like, ‘Oh, no, I don’t know anyone.’ But the people at Northwest have made it really easy to get to know them. So far, everybody’s been so kind to the office staff, the teachers that I’ve worked with and the kids that have come in.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
Anything that is spirited, so assemblies that may be coming up, that I’m really excited to go to and just see what we have to offer students. So probably things like those fun days, I enjoyed the week where we got to dress up every day, that was super fun. Again, just getting to know more people. You know, I feel like sometimes in our counseling office, we get so busy during the day that it’s hard to get out of the office. So I hope that I will have more of an opportunity to get out… to meet more people.
What are your goals for the year?
Just to help as many students that I possibly can getting to know them and helping them whether that be academics, talking about their future or personal struggles, if they just need a person to talk to doing what I can to help students because that is what I love about this profession. So that’s my goal. I think in addition to, as I mentioned, just becoming more familiar with the staff in the building and the students, the process at Northwest every school is a little bit different, so the process is at Northwest and how that operates.
How can students contact you? firstname.lastname@example.org
What is one thing you would say to the NW student body?
I am thrilled to be a Cougar. I’m excited to be here and can’t wait to meet all of my students and begin working with them on their future.