North DeSoto Counselor Gets Statewide Recognition

Ashley Terry, a school counselor at North DeSoto High School has been recognized statewide for her work with students.  She was recognized this week by the state Department of Education.

Here is Terry’s statement:

My career as a counselor began 16 years ago and has taken me to various schools in Texas, Florida, and Louisiana. I have had the privilege of serving the students at North DeSoto High School for the past 5 years.

I believe my role as a counselor is to support students’ social, emotional, and academic needs, while ensuring every student feels that North DeSoto High School is a safe, loving environment where they can reach their full potential.

My philosophy as a counselor begins with preparing students for life after high school. Regardless of the path that each student takes post-graduation, whether it is entering the

workforce, vocational training, military, a community college, or a four year university, my job is to guide and support them as they navigate their choices.

Meeting with each student individually to discuss their interests and plans for their future has had an enormous impact on the success of our college and career programs as well as our graduation rate. We have seen an increase in student success every year and I know this trend will continue. We graduated 177 scholars in 2022 and of those, 81% have received either a statewide or advanced credential, and 65% of the graduating class were successful with earning and 3 or higher on an AP exam, a 50 or higher on the CLEP exam, or they took advantage of dual enrollment either at NSU or NLTCC. Twenty-eight students graduated with the Biomedical STEM diploma endorsement and 4 students were honored as AP scholars with distinction diploma endorsement; this was a first for NDHS. This year we have added several new programs, and we have a group of students whose goal is to be the first group of students at NDHS to graduate with their Associates degree; they refer to their group as “Operation Associates Degree.” This is a huge accomplishment for the students, teachers, the school and the district. The support we receive is nothing short of spectacular.

Informing students, parents, and the community about the options we have available, as well as future program offerings, is something I am passionate about discussing and promoting. Whether you are a student, parent, community member or a stranger in the checkout line at the grocery store I will tell you how amazing our students and staff are and the amazing opportunities we offer. It’s so rewarding listening to students explain and discuss pathways, programs and strength of diploma, and encouraging other students. I have found that the more informed they are, the more likely they are to set and achieve their personal goals. These peer discussions don’t just encourage students; they encourage me to seek opportunities that not only benefit them but that excite them as well.

The most amazing part of my job is celebrating students’ and teachers’ success: from LEAP, ACT, Workkeys, AP, and CLEP, to Statewide and Advanced credentials. Seeing the excitement and passion in their eyes confirms that I have the most rewarding job in the world.

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