New intervention counseling position reinforces student’s support system

Theresa+Torres%2C+an+intervention+counselor%2C+simulates+what+a+group+counseling+session+looks+like.+%22Torres+discussed+the+need+for+groups+at+our+site%2C+and+I+felt+this+fit+our+population+and+was+a+good+idea%2C%22+said+Jennifer+Cho%2C+an+instructional+vice+principal.+
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New intervention counseling position reinforces student’s support system

Theresa Torres, an intervention counselor, simulates what a group counseling session looks like.

Theresa Torres, an intervention counselor, simulates what a group counseling session looks like. "Torres discussed the need for groups at our site, and I felt this fit our population and was a good idea," said Jennifer Cho, an instructional vice principal.

Brandon Moon

Theresa Torres, an intervention counselor, simulates what a group counseling session looks like. "Torres discussed the need for groups at our site, and I felt this fit our population and was a good idea," said Jennifer Cho, an instructional vice principal.

Brandon Moon

Brandon Moon

Theresa Torres, an intervention counselor, simulates what a group counseling session looks like. "Torres discussed the need for groups at our site, and I felt this fit our population and was a good idea," said Jennifer Cho, an instructional vice principal.

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The Sequoia Union High School District Board of Trustees approved the intervention counseling position to be in place during this school year.

An intervention counselor is involved with all students that require a support plan, otherwise known as but not limited to a 504 plan. They tend to the student’s needs whenever there is a personal hindrance to their education.

An intervention counselor utilizes the Multi-Tiered System of Support model to determine if the appropriate needs of a student are met.

“Every student comes to school every day with an invisible backpack,” Vice Principal Grant Steunenberg said. “Sometimes, those burdens get too heavy to carry, and it can impact your education.”

Intervention counselor Theresa Torres additionally provides individual counseling and offers group counseling for students during flextime

“We sit in a big circle in my room, and we start talking about topics that I suggest. Then, the students get deeper into what they want to discuss,” Torres said. 

However, the intervention counseling position is still afoot in its development, according to Instructional Vice Principal Jennifer Cho. 

Every week, Torres meets with three other intervention counselors from the Sequoia Union High School District to discuss their goals. Meanwhile, they are currently formulating a complete job description as the position evolves.

While Torres oversees all 504 plans, she also participates in weekly meetings every Wednesday to look over all of the current 504 plans issued by guidance counselors, or she reviews past support plans.

“Ms. Torres helps us collect certain information when we come up with intervention plans and support for students,” said Matthew Ledesma, a guidance counselor. “Since Ms. Torres has that expertise as an intervention counselor … she uses that to help guide us and decide what types of intervention support we could provide to students that we see might need support.”

With Torres’ new position, students are introduced to a broader selection of social-emotional and academic support. Sometimes, the role of a counselor can overlap other counseling roles, but they all have an essential purpose for the school.

“Ms. Torres will coordinate the 504 processes and case manage a group of students who need ongoing support. Ms. Bustamante, a crisis counselor, coordinates the Students Offering Support program and supports students as they present themselves, not necessarily with ongoing scheduled appointments,” Cho said. 

Whether it is an intervention or crisis counselor, a guidance counselor can direct them to either one for additional support if a student has a significant roadblock in their life. 

“One of my goals is to reach students and to let them know that they have another person at Carlmont who cares about helping them, especially in social and emotional areas,” Torres said.

Although the intervention counseling position is still new to the school, Steunenberg sees the intervention counseling role as a supplementary safety net for every student. 

“What I hope to see is that we can provide a greater level of support for students who are in crisis,” Steunenberg said. “If there is any student that needs additional support at our school to be successful, we are hoping to be able to help that student in any way we can.” 

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