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Sharyland ISD sweeps counseling awards

This article originally ran in the Dec. 22, 2023 issue of the Progress Times. 

Every campus in Sharyland ISD now has a state-recognized, award-winning counseling program — a feat not all districts can boast. 

The Texas School Counselor Association named all 14 SISD campuses individual winners of the 2023-2024 CREST Award. CREST (Counselors Reinforcing Excellence in Students in Texas) highlights outstanding counseling programs in Texas. It focuses on how counseling programs achieve student success in academics, personal and social aspects and career development with the Texas Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Programs.  

This year is the first time any Sharyland school submitted a CREST application. Director of Guidance and Counseling Dr. Lorene Bazan, who has only been in the role for about a year and a half, said she learned of the award last year and made it her goal to get SISD recognized. 

“This was so important because this is an affirmation for our counselors,” Bazan said. “I always say they are the heart of the school. They do so much day in and day out. And that, in itself, to be able to affirm them, to celebrate them and to recognize them, is a huge gain and a win.” 

To qualify for the CREST award, counselors at each campus created a website following a rubric to demonstrate the effectiveness of their counseling program. The sites included information in five areas: 

  1. Introduction to the school and the role of the professional school counselor
  2. Program implementation cycle
  3. Foundation components
  4. Four service delivery components
  5. Program curriculum 

Bazan said the district’s counseling program uses a medley of resources to promote student success in their academic careers and personal lives. In addition to a district-built guidance and counseling curriculum, Sharyland implements initiatives such as Capturing Kids Hearts and Character Strong for social-emotional learning. Individual planning, responsive services, system support and guidance curriculum are other components the SISD counseling team uses to support the students. 

“It is a comprehensive and collaborative approach for our vision for social and emotional learning that involves all stakeholders — relationships with our parents, relationships with our students…but also being very intentional with our academic progress,” Bazan explained. “It sounds like a cliché, but it truly takes a village to have success and we’re really proud of our campuses.” 

The director said it is not a singular formula that measures student progress or success — it is a combination of numerical data, like report cards or attendance records, and anecdotal data. Knowing the students and celebrating their qualitative wins is just as important, Bazan explained. 

“When you’re talking about emotion, it’s very complex to measure with one metric. However, when you see the campus culture and you see a student excelling in an array of ways, that’s your evidence,” the director said. “And at the end of the day, it comes back to the students. Are they happy at school? Do they feel that they’re cared for? Are we providing the best campus culture to maximize their full potential? And I’m so confident that we do that here at Sharyland ISD, without a doubt.”

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