Palo Alto High School administrators are searching for a counselor for the Paly Class of 2019 for next year after counselor Paige Johnson announced she will take maternity leave until the end of the 2017-2018 school year, according to Assistant Vice Principal Victoria Kim.
Interim sophomore counselor Betty Chen will hold the position for the remainder of this school year while administration searches for a permanent replacement, according to Kim.
According to Kim, the administration is hoping to make its final selection by the end of this month after conducting interviews and reference checks.
“It’s really important to find a high-quality counselor that understands the values our Guidance Department has and connects well to students,” Kim said.
Kim said she understands students’ concern that this change will negatively impact the Class of 2019 because students will have to connect with a new counselor who does not know them, and she hopes for a smooth transition.
“Hopefully, it doesn’t affect students too much,” Kim said. “In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have a disruption at all, but life happens. Our staff members are human beings with families of their own and they need to make the best decision for themselves and their families.”
Sophomore Kiran Majeti weighed in on how he believes this change will affect students.
“I think that while changing our guidance counselor midway throughout our high school years could be problematic, it’s better to have this change now, than right before the senior year,” Majeti said.
Kim said she hopes that the guidance system in place at Paly will help mitigate the impact of switching counselors.
“We’ve felt it important to be transparent with our sophomore class and parents in communicating the situation,” Kim said. “The good thing about the structure we already have in place at Paly. When we look at our three tiered guidance system, we are talking about the second tier. Our sophomores, they have their TAs who will remain with them next year, so the first point of contact in the guidance system will remain intact.”
Kim emphasized that the guidance team will do its best to help students with this transition in what can be a tumultuous junior year.
“We do what we can to try and really lessen this impact,” Kim said.