Shelby County School System to offer broader counseling services to students

By KATIE MCDOWELL/Managing Editor

Shelby County Schools will partner with Gateway Family Counseling Services this year to offer the Student Support System, which will offer broader counseling services to students in need.

The Shelby County Board of Education approved the partnership during an Aug. 28 meeting at the Shelby County Instructional Services Center in Alabaster.

Shelby County Schools Student Services Coordinator David Calhoun said the program is part of Alabama Superintendent of Education Dr. Tommy Bice’s 2020 Plan for public schools.

School counselors will help identify students who are having problems at school or at home. The student and his or her family will be able to receive weekly in-school counseling at the school school with a Gateway counselor.

“We’re hoping to offer a deeper level of support for our students and their families,” Calhoun said. “The individual school counselors will play a key role in this whole process.”

Calhoun said payment would be decided between the family and the Gateway counselor and that a variety of payment options likely will be available. He also said the Shelby County School System is part of “the early group that’s trying to implement” the new program in the state.

Calhoun said the students will not be forced to participate in the counseling if they or their families decide against it.

“It’s a resource,” he said. “We’re excited about it. “Not every kid in every school needs this kind of support, but we know we have some that do.”