Elementary schools welcome School Counselor Molly Messina

School Counselor Molly Messina sits at a table surrounded by three students With the addition of School Counselor Molly Messina to the Monticello team in the 2019-20 school year, students can add another brick to the foundation they are building during their elementary years to support their future.

The New York State Education Department recently released new guidance regulations requiring that all elementary school students have access to a counseling program that addresses social and emotional wellness, college and career readiness and study skills.

“We do a tremendous amount of social and emotional wellness (SEW) work at the elementary level through our SEW TOSAs (Teachers on Special Assignment) and social workers,” Director of Curriculum Linda Oehler-Marx said. “However, because of the high level of emotional need in our student population, there are some gaps in developing  those college and career readiness and study skills, as our existing SEW and social worker staff are expending most of their time addressing our students’ most immediate emotional needs . Ms. Messina’s role will be to help fill in any gaps in our program to ensure we are offering  a holistic counseling program to position our youngest students for success in the future.”  

In her short time at Monticello, Ms. Messina has been working closely with the district’s SEW facilitators, administrators and educators to assess the needs of Monticello’s young students and to create programs and initiatives to meet those needs.

One potential program born from these conversations is an initiative to help students successfully transition from elementary  to middle school with an emphasis on time management skills, organizational skills and stress management. Another program on the horizon is a college and career readiness curriculum that would get students as young as kindergarten thinking about future career paths and setting goals.

She will also be available for individual and group counseling sessions to work with students facing social and emotional challenges.

Ms. Messina has been cultivating her passion for helping students succeed since her youth. Growing up, she served as a peer mentor during her high school years and earned a reputation for being a good listening ear for any friend facing a tough time. In a professional capacity, Ms. Messina was the director of guidance at the Liberty Central School District and also a School Intervention Counselor for the Archdiocese of New York, providing counseling services to students in local parochial schools prior to joining the Monticello team.

“It’s nice to be back at the elementary level because you get the smiles and the hugs and the happiness,” she said. “I’ve always loved to help kids. To watch a kid go from struggling to successful is highly rewarding. It’s why I enjoy my job. I love what I do, and my door is always open.”

To contact Ms. Messina, please contact the main office of the school your child attends.