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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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New school counselor focused on preparing students for what's next

“What I want to do is provide the support students need,” said Ally Carlson, adding her role as a counselor also includes guiding students through those emotional issues they face to ensure they can succeed academically.

2014-09-05

By Troy Krause
Editor
Posted Sep. 5, 2014 @ 12:01 am

The goal of an education system is to help those they are educating to be ready for the next stage of their life. Ally Carlson, a new counselor for students at RVMS/HS, knows her role is to help students discover what happens at that next step on the journey. Her primary role is to help implement a new program for students at the middle school level called Ramp Up to Readiness. The program is intended to help students become career and college ready by helping them see what things they need to do and why they need to do them. Carlson, who earned degrees in sociology and human services from the Morris campus of the University of Minnesota, also earned a graduate degree in school counseling from Minnesota State Univ-ersity at Mankato. Growing up in Ham Lake and attending school at Blaine, Carlson said she saw both sides of counseling, recalling both good and bad experiences. “What I want to do is provide the support students need,” said Carlson, adding her role as a counselor also includes guiding students through those emotional issues they face to ensure they can succeed academically. Carlson spent the past year serving in a counseling role in the Windom school district where she worked with elementary students. That role, she said, was about addressing behavior issues and peer to peer concerns. While addressing those same types of behavior is still part of her role, Carlson said much more is being spent on helping students understand why they need to be in school and how they can succeed as they look to the future. Being a counselor for older students is definitely a different experience, she said.

“I like being here a lot,” said Carlson, adding at this level she is able to talk to kids on a higher and similar life level. Carlson understands her role is key for students, as the decisions they make now could impact them for the rest of their lives. “There are so many kids who are not prepared for what comes next,” she said. “They leave without a plan in place to help them be successful.” Through this new program Carlson and those who are working with her, students at the middle school level – as early as the sixth grade – are going to be hearing about concepts like college and career planning. That means helping them find their interests and abilities and then guiding them in the direction of doing what they need to do to find a career that suits those interests and abilities. Carlson and her husband, Paul (who is a teacher at Reede Gray Elementary School), are getting acclimated to their new setting, and she said things have been going well for her. Having graduated with a class made up of 900 classmates, Carlson said she enjoys the chance to be in a smaller school district, because it allows her to get to know more people and to connect with students on a more personal level. That can only help her as she continues to guide those students toward their goals. In her spare time, Carlson said she enjoys being outside doing activities like hiking and fishing. She added southwest Minnesota has been a great place for her to enjoy those interests. Carlson has found her career niche, and she enjoys what she is doing. Now she wants to help the students in the Redwood Area School District find that same kind of success.

Read more: http://www.redwoodfallsgazette.com/article/20140905/News/140909909#ixzz3CTP5xtPY
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