20 Sep School Counseling at LCS by Jon Johansen

Over the summer I began to realize something that most of you already know— our Lighthouse staff is amazingly talented. One person who stood out was, and is, Denise DeWalt.

Thankfully, I get to work with Denise this year as she completes an internship. Truth is, she’s already a better school counselor than most… and I have been around many. Speaking of which,

I still remember my first experience with a guidance employee, wayyyy back when I was in high school. From what I could tell, Mr. “Smith” sat in his tiny office, pretty much all day long, reading the newspaper.

From a position of repose, he’d occasionally be called into action to deal with a crisis (fight, pregnancy, death), at which point he’d leap into action. When the worst of it had passed, I’m 99% convinced that he returned to his wee room and resumed perusing The Seattle Times.

The one occasion I went to him for help was when my schedule got messed up during the spring of my senior year. When I inquired about it, I was told that it was too late to do anything, and that it was my own fault for not catching it sooner.
And that was it.

I felt disappointed and frustrated. Something clicked in me as I eventually realized that, if I ever worked with children, I wanted to welcome them with an open heart, and Christ’s love.

Thankfully, modern members of this important profession (including me and Denise) operate from a preventive and proactive mindset that allows us to come alongside every family, as much or as little as needed. Ms. DeWalt does a great job of explaining this in the following paragraphs:

Today’s school counselors are vital members of the education team. They help ALL students in the areas of academic achievement, career and personal/social development ensuring that today’s students become the productive, well-adjusted, and successful adults of tomorrow. The changing needs of students, families and schools require  professional school counselors who are skilled in current counseling techniques focusing on students’ academic, career and personal/social needs. School counselors must also possess skills in the development, implementation and evaluation of professional school counseling programs, as well as an ability to work in collaboration and consultation with others in the school and community.

We at Lighthouse are thrilled to combine our love for Jesus with a dynamic School Counseling program. As we dive into implementing our new School Counseling program, Lighthouse will follow the guidelines of the ASCA national model that provides the implementation of standards adopted by the State of Washington (OSPI). (www.ascanationalmodel.org) This combines the latest research and best practices in this four part approach: Foundation, delivery, management and accountability.

Our new Vice Principal/School Counselor, Jon Johansen, has been serving as a School Counselor for over 10 years and a teacher before that. Jon is widely respected in both this community and his church as he has helped hundreds of families over the years. His experience and education are a huge benefit to his new role here as Vice Principal.

Jon, and his intern Denise DeWalt, have both been trained in the ASCA model. They will be offering services that are both preventative and proactive in a 3 Tier model that combines classroom lessons, small groups, one on one counseling as well as access to a variety of community resources to support for classroom success, 8th grade families transition to high school and so much more! We hope that you are as excited as we are as we offer even more support to both our students and families! Feel free to email jjohansen@lcschool.org or ddewalt@lcschool.org if you have any questions!

To that apt description of our role, I would add my FAVORITE part of my new job at Lighthouse: the freedom to share Biblical wisdom with our sons and daughters, as well as the openness to pray with children (and adults) who are feeling worn, worried, and weary. In fact,

Just last week two little tigers made some “not so great” choices. After going over their decisions both boys were open to a change in behavior. We finished up with intercession and a few words. In those last moments together I was blessed to affirm that—despite the offenses they’d committed—I loved them, and God loved them even more.

Denise and I look forward to support your loved ones over the course of the school year. As we do so, we cherish your prayer cover.