#SuperSchoolShoutout - School Counseling Week!

#SuperSchoolShoutout - School Counseling Week!
Posted on 02/07/2024

For #NationalSchoolCounselingWeek we’re showing our #CPSDPride by giving a #SuperSchoolShoutout to Rainier Elementary School counselor Kelli Bacher and Clover Park High School counselor Monique Hanks!

#SuperSchoolShoutout: Rainier Elementary School Counselor

Kelli has been a counselor at Rainier for six years but has worked at CPSD since 2002 as a school psychologist. “I’ve always wanted to work directly with kids, and psychologists spend most of their time doing teacher evaluations.” she said.  “My heart told me to become a school counselor, so I was quick to apply when the position opened up.”

 Elementary school counselors primarily focus on the social emotional needs of students who need help with different challenges they face that hinder their learning. “I see students because they may have gotten off on the wrong foot in the morning and are feeling sad, they’re facing challenges in their friend group, they’re missing their parent who may be deployed or other issues that distract them from their work in the classroom,” Kelli said.

 Rainier also serves a small, unique group of military families who are awaiting their housing in JBLM and are temporarily living in the extended stay hotel. “This group of students often feel uneasy knowing they may stay at Rainier for a week, two months or a whole year depending on when and where their family gets permanent housing,” Kelli said. “My heart is with military families, and I just love supporting this special population of students every way I can.”

 It's important for students to feel comfortable enough to share their thoughts and emotions with Kelli, even if they have only been at Rainier for a short period. Because of this, Kelli believes her strength as a counselor is her ability to quickly connect and build relationships with both students and staff. “The kids and the people I work with are what makes this school special because we’re all supportive and care about the success of students,” she said. “I wouldn’t hesitate to put my own children in the classroom of any Rainier teacher.”

#SuperSchoolShoutout: Clover Park High School Counselor

We continued National School Counseling Week by giving a shoutout to Clover Park High School (CPHS) counselor Monique Hanks! 

Monique is in her ninth year as a counselor at CPHS. “I want to do everything I can to help support students,” she said. “I feel like I had a lot of different life experiences growing up that help me connect with students while they have life experiences of their own.”

A 2011 graduate of CPHS, Monique originally wanted to be a pharmacist when she got to college. However, as she continued her education, she realized she needed to find a new calling. Conversations with her former counselor at CPHS, Dan Million, helped lead her on the path she is on today.

“He was just so helpful even though I wasn’t his student anymore,” she said. “Talking with him helped me realize the impact that school counselors can have on students and made me want to serve in that role for others.”

Monique loves working at her alma mater because her time at CPHS can relate directly to the students she works with. A major part of her job is building relationships with students and being available when they need help academically, socially or emotionally.

“I feel like my job is to really meet students where they’re at,” she said. “I try to be by their side while being open-minded, flexible and genuine. I’m there to go along on their journey if they need my support.”

Go Counselors!