EW’s Jones named Counselor of the Year

Kate Wehlann, Staff Writer
Students and staff alike agree East Washington Elementary School Counselor Kate Jones is pretty great.
“Kate is a great asset to our school,” said Principal Debbie Esarey in an email. “She has a work ethic that compares to no one I know. She uses that strength to help others. She is extremely passionate about students and her work; I’ve accused her of sleeping here, ha-ha!”
Now, however, Jones has that same recognition from her peers statewide.
She was nominated for and has been chosen the Indiana School Counselors Association Elementary Counselor of the Year.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said Jones, who’s been counselor at EWES for three years and spent the nine years before that as counselor at Eastern High School. “It’s a huge honor. I know some pretty awesome elementary school counselors, so to be picked is a pretty big deal to me.”
Jones taught English and journalism for nine years before going for her training and certification as a guidance counselor.
She taught seventh and eighth grade in the classroom and when she was going through the counseling program, she worked at a school with sixth, seventh and eighth graders. With her time at both Eastern and East Washington Elementary, which goes up to fourth grade, she’s worked with students in almost every grade level.
“The only grade I haven’t dealt with is fifth,” said Jones.
Jones is the only counselor at the elementary school, where more than 500 students are enrolled. She holds around 400 guidance lessons a year, reaching every student in the school about 16 times through those and some more though individual and group counseling. She also uses bulletin boards to highlight careers, colleges and universities and on Fridays, she wears a T-shirt from the university she showcases. She also discusses lifeline character traits with students and posts photos of these guidance lessons, the bulletin boards and other activities to Facebook to allow parents to follow and be involved with what she’s doing with students.
Jones just won a Mahuron grant to purchase T-shirts from universities she doesn’t have yet and more costumes for her ABC’s of careers, where, for the last 26 days of school, she dresses up as different careers through the alphabet and posts pictures of that on Facebook as well. She said she’s also received great support from the Washington County Substance Abuse Council, which has supplied her with curriculums she uses in the classroom. She said she’s working on social skills with kindergarteners, the growth mindset (“I can’t yet, but I will”) with first graders, thinking of emotional and behavioral decisions like a remote control with second graders, zones of regulation with third graders and The Seven Habits of Happy Kids with fourth graders.
“The students love her and like attending her guidance classes,” said Esarey. “She is definitely an advocate for children.”
Last year, she made a website, ewesschoolcounselor.weebly.com, with pictures and resources for parents and others wanting to stay up-to-date with the program.
Jones is on the Indiana School Counselors Board and is co-chair of their fall conference. 
While this is her first Counselor of the Year award, she’s no stranger to major awards and recognitions. The program received Gold Star recognition and have also been recognized on the national level with their RAMP (Recognized ASCA Model Program) award at the elementary school and received the Gold Star twice and RAMP once at the high school when she was counselor.
“I have an awesome staff and great kids and parents who are so supportive of all the crazy things I want to do,” said Jones. “The school is amazing. I’ve been really blessed to be able to work here.”


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