Submitted by Suzanne Groenewold
With the start of the school year now underway, the Bellows Falls Union High School Guidance Office can now take a little breather.
The Director of Guidance, Martina Mattison and her staff have been busy all summer helping students with their high school schedules and planning for college. Wayne Blanchard has joined the BFUHS guidance department to focus on students at risk for dropping out of school.
Having worked as a high school guidance councelor for over 30 years, Blanchard says his goal will be to help students create a plan to graduate and work with them to help them successfully complete the plan.
"I think students who create a personal development portfolio have a better focus," said Blanchard. "By meeting with students in groups and helping them to document what they have accomplished, and helping them set goals for the future, it seems to make a difference in how they apply themselves. "
He also brings a lot of experience with college counseling and will help students explore choices for further education.
"Although it may seem a little strange to talk about post secondary education with at risk students," he said, "I think that even students who are not happy with school need to think about their education in terms of what further education and training they need to support themselves."
Another new addition to the guidance department, is Andrea Carlson, although she is not new to BFUHS, having served for the past eight years as a Counselor in the high school's Special Education Department.
Her past work includes working with at risk youth who were struggling at home and at school through Windham County Youth Services, and as Student Assistant Program Counselor. In 2001 Carlson came to BFUHS and helped to create the Learning For Success(LFS) Program which is a special education program for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities.
The BFUHS Guidance office can be reached at 463-3944 ext. 206.