The Louisiana Department of Education sends out a monthly Counselor Connect Newsletter. The publication is for Louisiana’s Professional School Counselors. In this month’s issue, Woodlawn High School Counselor Christianne Ricard was featured in the Counselor Spotlight. The feature from the spotlight is below.

My recent transition from elementary to high school counseling has been a learning experience. Thankfully, I have colleagues who have been a great help to me as I learn my new role-fellow counselors with the common goal of supporting all students and providing them with quality resources that can help them make informed decisions throughout their high school years and beyond.

One of the ways we support our seniors is by helping them complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Completing the FAFSA form has a number of benefits that are not limited to four-year college entrance. In addition to grants and loans for university study, the federal dollars students can access through the FAFSA can fund many other postsecondary options: community colleges, online and technical schools, and comprehensive transition and postsecondary (CTP) programs for students with intellectual disabilities. I know that, without completing the FAFSA, my students cannot access federal grants or certain scholarships. That’s why I share several resources from the Federal Student Aid website, including this adaptation of their list of the three types of federal student aid:

  • Grants: financial aid that doesn’t have to be repaid (Pell, FSEOG, TEACH, and Military Service Grants)
  • Work-study: money students earn through a work program
  • Loans: borrowed money for college or career school, must be repaid with interest

The Louisiana Believes website has been a resource for me for years, and now it is helping me learn new information and better advise my high school students. For instance, I didn’t have considerable experience with Jump Start pathways, so I relied heavily on the information I could find online. Some of the most useful to me are the Jump Start Graduation Pathways Spreadsheet, STS-Code Matrix, Jump Start Updates document, and the Students With Disabilities Resources web page. I also gained a lot from the May 2019 C.A.T.E. webinar. I’m learning more about Jump Start every day and can’t wait to go to my first Jump Start Convention in January to see what’s new in Jump Start 2.0!

I am proud to be working alongside passionate and knowledgeable counselors who are in the business of doing what is best for students. They share their time, energy, and expertise to help me be a resource to the students of Woodlawn High School. Thanks to our entire school counseling team, I am truly looking forward to seeing great student outcomes in 2020.

Christianne Ricard, Ed.S, NCC, PLPC
School Counselor
Woodlawn High School

Woodlawn High would like to congratulate Ms. Ricard, and administration would like to encourage all of our students to visit their School Counselor regularly. Students may set up an appointment with their School Counselor by visiting the Counseling Department during their lunch shift. Parents may contact the Counseling Department by calling 225-753-2665.