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National School Counseling Week: Learn More About SJND’s Counseling Department

The SJND Counseling Department.

The week of February 5 marked National School Counseling Week, is an annual event celebrating school counselors and drawing attention to the unique impact counselors have in helping students achieve success.

With a national average counselor to student ratio of 1:483 and a California average of 1:760, SJND is fortunate to have a much lower counselor to student ratio, enabling our counselors to offer very individualized counseling services:

  • Personal/Academic Counselors - 1:190
  • Learning Services Counselor - 1:55
  • College Counselor - All Students

​​​​​“Our personal counseling program is very intentional. We counsel students on challenges they are experiencing that are present for them in the moment. From learning to cope with stress to understanding how digital devices impact their lives, our lessons help SJND teens to become confident, open-minded, and effective leaders on our campus,” explained Lauren Sabia, one of two personal counselors at SJND, along with Director of Counseling John Gunty.

During National School Counseling Week, the SJND Counseling Department hosted various events, including a Health & Wellness workshop for freshmen, in which they took a strengths finder quiz to learn more about relevant careers in those areas.

“The recent Health & Wellness Series on career exploration was a direct result of a needs-assessment survey in which more than 2/3 of freshmen respondents indicated that they wanted time built into their schedule for career planning. They had a lot of fun and it expanded their ideas of the world of work and possible pathways available to them," said Ms. Sabia.

Additionally, Dr. Angelica Bailon, SJND’s college counselor, held in-class college counseling workshops and a very successful Freshmen/Sophomore College Night to help prepare students and their families for what to expect during the college preparatory and application process.

"Offering opportunities for families to be engaged in the college choice process at every grade level is important because it not only allows the counseling team to share information and be supportive, it also builds a partnership and sense of trust surrounding the process between the school and the student and parents,” explained Dr. Bailon. “We want students to feel empowered and excited to take ownership over this process and that starts with creating a strong foundation built in usable knowledge, as well as supportive guidance from our team."

The National School Counseling Week workshops were a part of SJND’s new “Counselors in the Classroom” program, in which the counselors work with teachers to develop curriculum designed to help students acquire, develop, and demonstrate competencies in specific areas of need. Some topics covered during Counselors in the Classroom sessions included responsible technology use, coping with stress, healthy relationships, and college and career planning, among others.

We extend a special thank you to our Counseling Department, including Dr. Bailon, Ms. DeMesa, Mr. Gunty, Ms. Sabia and Mrs. Stehr, for all that you do for our students!