Texas school counselors converged on Dallas by the hundreds this week for the 2016 Texas School Counselor Conference held at the Wyndham Anatole Hotel. The agenda of workshop sessions, information sharing and recognition left counselors energized and renewed, said Dallas ISD Counseling Services Director Dr. Sylvia Lopez who serves as president of the Texas School Counselor Association.
Dallas ISD counselors were well represented at the conference, and several led workshop sessions. A highlight of the event was a Texas-sized congratulation to district counselors and their colleagues in the form of a proclamation from Texas Governor Greg Abbott and presented by State Senator Royce West proclaiming Feb. 1 through 5 School Counseling Week in Texas.
The conference also featured a special luncheon held to honor the counselors from Dallas ISD and other Texas districts who received the 2016 CREST award. CREST stands for Counselors Reinforcing Excellence for Students in Texas. It is awarded to school counseling programs that meet state and national standards and demonstrate excellence in supporting student success, advocating for students, and playing a key role in their academic, personal, social and career development of their students.
Lopez said the counselors were delighted by the recognition and all of the conference activities, which focused on the theme, “Leading with Heart . . . Touching Lives and Shaping Minds.” The theme was selected by Lopez who says it has a personal meaning since she sees counselors the heartbeat of their schools.
“School counselors are compassionate and caring individuals who continuously reach out to our students,” she said. “Sometimes counselors are the only positive person in a child’s life. School counselors lead with heart to help and guide students through very tough times and help remove barriers so that students can get back on track in the world of learning. They are the heartbeat of a school.”