Tina Clark

NW new staff full interview with Tina Clark, school counselor

What does your position entail? 

I’m here to provide mental health support and emotional support for any student at Northwest that falls between A-L. If kids are having a bad day or you need help problem solving, then every student at Northwest has a social worker assigned to their portion of the alphabet, just like there is an academic counselor. I’m here to help. 

What does a day in your life look like? 

I see a lot of students one on one. Sometimes, they have appointments scheduled with me. Sometimes, I will call them down to check in on them, either because there’s something going on that might be making life really hard for them right now in their family or at school, or I haven’t seen them in a while and I just want to make sure they’re doing okay. I pretty much spend the entire day seeing students come in and out of my office. When I’m not doing that, I’m usually in meetings with the principals or with the school psychologist talking about students and what we can do to help students. , I’m in meetings with parents who are worried about their students.

What inspired you to go into this field? 

Children’s mental health is really important to me, because in order to be mentally well as adults, we need to have access to resources as kids and teenagers to find ways to cope when things are hard. We need to know who to talk to when things aren’t going well or when bad things happen. Right now, we’re in the middle of a collective trauma that’s called COVID-19. Right now, everybody’s struggling a little bit, so much renewed passion and some desire to work and really want to make a difference. Helping students to feel and cope with feeling okay and coping with what’s going on. I got into it to help, to help kids, so that’s awesome.

What makes Northwest stand out from other schools? 

I’ve been in the district for 15 years and one of the things that I love about Northwest is the diversity of our student population here. I think it’s a huge asset, and I love how we even capitalize on that a little bit and make sure that folks know that about us. Also, our administrators, counselors and social workers here are all very much a team. That’s not just hogwash. We very much come to each other and work together to help students and families out.

The highlight of the year so far? 

Watching the drumline for the first time, because I have really good memories of drumline in my high school and my son is on the drumline at his high school. Club day was also a lot of fun, and I got to see people coming in from all different backgrounds and looking at what they’re interested in. The first Sources of Strength meeting and being able to see other students who want to help their student body be more aware of mental wellness and what to do to help each other out. That’s a huge accomplishment for this building to have something like that, so I can’t pick just one.

What are you most looking forward to this year? 

I’m most looking forward to building those relationships with other students and knowing that if they need something, they’re going to come find me. I want to be a safe place for students. Sometimes, students don’t have a safe place at home. Sometimes students don’t feel safe around other students. I’m most looking forward to making sure that every student knows that they are safe and valued and there’s someone cheering them on in their corner, so that’s awesome.

What are your goals for the year? 

Getting to know as many students as I can in my alphabet. I’m used to knowing students by their first name, knowing what’s going on with them being an open door for them. I take that very seriously, knowing your name, knowing who you are. I have a good memory like that, so once I meet you and I know your name, I’ll say your name 500 times until I get it. But if I don’t know who you are, then you don’t feel comfortable coming to me. So, one of my goals is to get to know as many students here as possible, and to have an open door for them when they’re having a rough day, so that we can make some good things happen while you’re here.

How can students contact you? brclark@smsd.org 

What is one thing you would say to the NW student body? 

I’m really excited to be here. This is a big change for me, I haven’t worked in high school in many, many years, but it’s one thing I would love to know. This is a judgment free zone. This is not a place where you’re going to come and I’m going to judge you. This is a place where if you need it, I’ll listen, and I’ll help with whatever I can.

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