counselor Jamie McGuire strives to make one thing very clear to the students she serves.
"We are there for them. We will never stop being there for them," McGuire said. "Even when we are not physically present with them, the support doesn't stop. We don't exit the situation."
Rockwood School District's school counselors, social workers and behavioral specialists continue to play pivotal roles for students, even with buildings closed through the end of the school year due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
Whether it's pointing families toward necessary resources, helping students stay organized during remote learning or simply taking the time to listen to concerns, these staff members help look after the social-emotional well-being of the Rockwood community.
"We're trying to explain, in age-appropriate ways, that it's safest for everyone that we see each other through the computer right now," said social worker Taylor Decker, who works with students at the elementary schools that feed Eureka High
. "The kids are excited to see your face."
Decker said the district's social workers have created a social-emotional learning resource Google Site that they regularly provide a link to in schools' weekly newsletters. The site is a place where Rockwood families can find separate resources for elementary, middle and high school students, as well as information about food distribution sites and community mental health resources.
Outside of emails, calls and Zoom meetings with students and parents, social workers also have been bringing supplies to families that don't have reliable transportation.
"For our families who maybe need more access to food, we've been connecting them to different resources in their communities or packing up boxes at the food pantry and dropping them off," Decker said. "For families that have needed other essential items, we've been working with Rockwood Gives Back
. Every day has looked different."
Much like the district's teachers, counselors, social workers and behavioral specialists have found the need to be flexible with their hours. Parents have been appreciative of that flexibility because not everyone's schedules necessarily follow regular work hours these days.
Jacklyn Floyd, a social-emotional behavior specialist for Marquette High
and its two feeder middle schools, said she has to be ready for anything when it comes to meeting students' needs.
"We've found that people who we thought were going to reach out to us a lot, it's been the opposite. It's been the students who I didn't think would that have been reaching out," Floyd said. "Some of our students connect well with our teachers, but the teachers have a lot of students and it's not realistic for them to have those one-on-one conversations with all of them. It's very important for our kids to have someone outside of that academic setting."LaSalle Springs Middle
seventh-grade counselor Eric Barnhart said communication between the school's teachers and counseling team has been crucial in identifying students who may be struggling.
"Our building does a really good job of taking care of the whole child," Barnhart said. "It's important that teachers can trust me to say they're worried about a kid and know I'm going to follow through on that so they can focus on their own roles."