Meet the Ivy Academia Team: Lillian Galvez, School Counselor

School counselors are more vital than ever. Our counselor Lillian Galvez, and her team, are working hard to support our students’ mental health, social and emotional well-being, and to help our Ivy students navigate the many larger complexities of this pandemic. It’s quite a role and she fills it with grace.
 
We asked Ms. Galvez how she stays connected, advises her students to stay connected (and show up for classes!) and how parents can best support young learners online. She had so many incredible responses and detailed answers we had to edit them down -- and even use bullet points. Read on for her inspiring wisdom and caring approach:
 
How do you coach students through their technology and other challenges?

“Oh my, I teach them about patience and remind myself to be patient. It's not easy but I make it happen. I create step by step cheat sheets for students and parents to use as a reference. If a student has issues with technology I set time aside to walk them through each step and assure the student they can overcome the challenge. If it is something that requires our tech support, I initiate the channel of communication and make myself involved. I ensure the issue is solved and the student feels confident (temperature check).

“Lastly, other challenges, informal counseling has been key during COVID-19. Our students thrive through this route. If I say, I'm calling every Tuesday at 7:26 am to wake you up...I keep my word and do it. Students see I care and follow-through, therefore, a change slowly begins to occur. Change takes time in mental health, I praise every milestone and celebrate every step of the way.
 
How are you staying connected to Ivy students during online learning?
 
1. Students always come first.
  • Ivy's “Chat with the counselor” sessions are an opportunity to simply catch up. I am visible and accessible. I’m available for informal counseling, formal counseling, and group sessions.
  • Weekly check-ins, low-attendance text, or call reminders including positive messaging from me directly, like "Don't forget -- I believe in you. Let’s logon to class.”
  • There is a counselor request form on our school page and our counseling department has an Instagram page.
Ivy counseling
 
2. I’m creating clubs and opportunities that promote student engagement through current events.
  • The "Xena Society club." A club created and led by a student in 9th grade. Students speak about culture and the impact in our communities, our nation, and worldwide.
  • 7-week rotating presentations for K-12. For example, for October and part of November, Seniors have the opportunity to have a weekly live college representative in Mr. Kogan's class.
  • November will be Career Day Friday for elementary students. The counseling department has scheduled pillars of our community to come and speak to our students about potential careers.
    Kaiser's theater program brings us a live performance in effort to educate our high school students about STDS (January 2021).
  • Promoting higher education in middle school with Pierce College
  • Developing an ongoing Graduate Intern Counseling Program. This allows counseling to provide more resources for our students and make our department visible along with easier access to us. I also collect data and later conduct research.
Ivy students
 
How can parents best support their young learners online?

“Make it fun! Get creative and allow room for error. Do a daily or weekly check-in with your child. Read on and offline books of choice, if you're reading you're learning. Communicate with your child's teachers, ask for help when needed, and don't be embarrassed if you don't know-how to do something. Remind your child of the importance of continuing their education and if you can throw in a daily, weekly, or monthly incentive for them...do it! Don't forget daily praise, "I'm proud of you."
 
And last but not least:

How can students and families keep feeling their connections to school and each other?
 
“If you don't have the emails of all your child's teachers please request them. Set time aside to read emails sent from the school and:
  • participate in tech talks
  • join our monthly glaze and guardians ( an opportunity to speak to the counselor along with other parents to share high and lows)
  • encourage your child to develop a club
  • facetime with your loved ones
  • call a friend you have not seen in a while
  • text or call the counselor to share your concerns
  • Communication is vital during these troubling times.” 

Thank you Ms Galvez for your time and thoughtful answers and for the work you are doing supporting Ivy Academia students. Join our caring, robust and engaged K-12 school. Enroll today!

About Ivy Academia

It is the mission of Ivy Academia, a TK-12 tuition-free public charter school, to help each child reach his/her fullest potential. We cultivate an active village of students, parents, and community members to provide an individual, personal, and conceptual learning environment that enables each student to succeed in life. Create and innovate with Ivy Academia! Enroll now!