Education

Parkville High School counselor among BCPS’ 2024 School Counselors of the Year

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TOWSON, MD—The Baltimore County Association for Counseling and Development has recognized a new class of outstanding school counselors for the 2023-24 school year.

“The school counselors in BCPS are vital in ensuring the academic progress, personal growth, and overall well-being of our students, and they contribute significantly to the school counseling profession,” said BCPS Superintendent Dr. Myriam Rogers. “The annual awards from the Baltimore County Association of Counseling and Development are one way we can thank these tireless professionals for the daily care and superior services they bring to support our students.”

This year, the following Team BCPS members have been named School Counselors of the Year:

• Carrie Schiavone, Cromwell Valley Elementary School
Schiavone consistently takes the lead in helping to keep the school safe and supportive. This school year, she provided professional development on restorative practices and effective classroom meetings. She also provides lessons on goal setting that help students reflect on past performance and decision-making to create plans for future success. Schiavone works closely with the school’s vocal music teacher to plan “Joy Assemblies” during which the school community gathers to sing, dance, read, and participate in lessons about character.
• Lilly Richardson, Hereford Middle School
Richardson leads several small counseling groups, including social skills and healthy relationship groups, to address students’ social-emotional development. Additionally, she runs high-interest lunch clubs, such as the Lego Club and the Video Game Club, to facilitate peer connections.  Her after-school activities include the GSA club and a service-learning club, where students learn to knit warm hats for a homeless shelter in Baltimore City.  Richardson also manages the school’s weekly Behavioral Threat Assessment Team meetings.
• Kelsey Bardoff, Parkville High School
This year, Bardoff assumed the role of department chair for the school’s counseling department and created a strong department highlighting each member’s strengths. She has increased communication between the department and the rest of the school, raising awareness of the resources the school counseling department can provide to students in need.

The following school counselors with fewer than five years’ experience were named Rookie School Counselors of the Year:

 C.C. Braun, Johnnycake Elementary School
Braun is a sought-after collaborator for problem solving when it comes to students’ social-emotional needs, and she often meets with teachers, families, and administrators to creatively and successfully support students and their emotional well-being. She has established herself as a highly effective member of the school’s Social Emotional Learning Team. Her commitment to students and their emotional growth has been a contributing factor to student success this school year.
• Damon Chalk, Arbutus Middle School
Knowing that many individuals in the Arbutus community are impacted by substance abuse, Chalk initiated the school’s involvement in Red Ribbon Week. He worked with the school counseling team, administration, and faculty to develop and implement schoolwide lessons on substance use and encourage students to remain drug-free. He also spearheaded the career fair for Grade 8 students and secured nearly 60 volunteers to speak with students about their careers.
• Lauren DiFatta, Owings Mills High School
DiFatta has shown exemplary initiative in increasing college awareness among students in the English for Speakers of Other Languages program, all of whom are first-generation immigrants to the United States.  Recognizing the specific challenges these students encounter, she has vigorously pursued professional development opportunities to enhance her knowledge and effectiveness. Her dedication to learning is demonstrated through her participation in college campus visits, attending professional development hosted by CCBC, and her engagement with the school’s college counselor.

In addition, the association honored Hereford High School Principal Robert Covert as its School Counselor Advocate of the Year. This award honors a BCPS administrator, teacher, support staff, parent, or community member who consistently advocates for and supports the critical work school counselors do for all children. Covert is being recognized for highlighting and marketing the work of school counselors; encouraging collaboration between the school counseling department and other school departments; encouraging continued professional development for Hereford High school counselors; and aligning the responsibilities of the Hereford High school counselors with those recommended by the American School Counselor Association.

Photo: Kelsey Bardoff, Parkville High School via BCPS

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