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"The betterment of school counselors is the betterment of education in America"

Scholarship support for a School of Education master's program ensures that prospective counselors receive the best training possible to serve their students, teachers, administrators, and communities
Posted January 11, 2017
IMAGE: John Robertson IMAGE: John Robertson

Gabrielle Milano admits that, when she first decided to become a school counselor, she had a bit of a rose-colored view of the profession. But after receiving the Sheldon and Saralynn Glass Scholarship to attend the Hopkins School Counseling Fellows program, she learned that coaching students on resume writing and guiding their college searches were just a small part of the job. The realization didn't send her running the other way — rather, she doubled down on her career choice, inspired by the impact she could have on many lives.

"Counselors are the bridge between all aspects of the school community — students, teachers, families, and administrators," Milano says. "Everything a counselor implements, be it a parent-teacher night, an SAT prep course, or emotional or behavioral interventions, is for the betterment of our students."

Milano and her cohort couldn't be entering the profession at a more important or challenging time, says Sheldon Glass, MD, MEd (Edu '66), a member of the School of Education's advisory board, along with his wife, Saralynn, MS (Edu '77), Edu '72.

"The more demands we make on our teachers and students, the more complex our educational system becomes. We need to break down the walls of isolation between them, and the school counselor facilitates that process," says Sheldon Glass, a longtime faculty member in the university's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and an assistant professor in the then-Department of Education from 1968 to 1978. "We need to have well-trained personnel to lead that process, and that's why we've supported the School Counseling Fellows program here."

A subset of the School of Education's master's program in counseling, the Fellows program prepares students to develop data-driven, comprehensive counseling programs that promote social justice and equity in K-12 schools. The 13-month curriculum builds courses around an intensive internship in a Baltimore City public school.

"We'd be able to go to class after a day at work and share our experiences, good and bad, with five or so students and a professor," Milano says. The small group would talk through situations and find solutions to challenging questions, such as: How can I help this teacher who's struggling to manage a student who has a violent home life? What is the best way to support a student who's having a breakdown in the hallway?

"By the end of my internship, I was being called upon by teachers to assist them even without my supervisor because they grew to trust me and my competencies as a counselor," Milano adds. "That was so empowering, to know that I'm able to make an impact."

After graduating in July, Milano accepted a position as a school clinician at The Baird School for special education students in Vermont. There, she works with kindergarten through eighth-grade students who have behavioral and mental health issues, teaching them skills that can help them reintegrate into community schools. The School Counseling Fellows program prepared her well for success in her new role, she says, and she's grateful to generous donors like the Glasses who helped make her Hopkins education possible.

"The Sheldon and Saralynn Glass Scholarship ensures that great counseling candidates will have the opportunity to learn from the faculty, whose research and publications have influenced a shift in the counseling field and who transform us into the leaders our communities, school districts, and country need today," Milano says. "The betterment of school counselors is really the betterment of education in America."

To learn more about how you can support the School Counseling Fellows program or the School of Education, please contact Michele Ewing.