Day of Joao

Who is the Student Assitance Counselor, Ms. Joao, and what does she do?

Ms. Joao with all the seniors that she has created a connection with through high school.

Isabella Gomez

Ms. Joao with all the seniors that she has created a connection with through high school.

Isabella Gomez and Anthony Felice

In Woodbridge High School, we have a Student Assistance Counselor, Ms. Joao, whose goal is to help students throughout their school day.

Being the only SAC counselor in a school of more than 1,577 students can entail a lot of work throughout the day. But what specifically is a Student Assistance Counselor?

A SAC counselor’s role is to create a safe and friendly environment for students to express themselves. Their programs are designed to help students with problems affecting their personal lives and academic performance. 

Ms. Joao allows for children to express themselves and talk about their issues with someone with the tools to help them. The school day can be particularly stressful for some, so having a space for them to go to is important. 

“For many kids the only place they can receive any help is at school,” says Ms. Joao. 

There is a difference between normal school guidance counselors and Ms. Joao. Within her office, there is counselor-student confidentiality. 

That means no one else can know any information you share with her. As long as you’re not talking about hurting yourself or others. 

This allows students to be able to speak openly and freely about their issues. 

Ms. Joao is not qualified to provide any diagnoses. However, she does have many resources that she recommends to students. 

She decided to become a SAC because of the help that her high school SAC provided her. The help through a traumatic event really stuck with her. 

Originally Ms. Joao went into the business world and ended up hating it. She’s glad she decided to pursue this career because she loves her job. 

The reason Ms. Joao can be a SAC because she got a master’s in clinical mental health counseling. As well as a SAC and a licensed associate counselor certification. 

We asked Joao to briefly talk about what she does in a day. 

She said that her first and second blocks are relatively quiet. There are a few students that do come at the beginning of the day and stay for the first two blocks.

The busiest block is the third block, because that is when most students come in. A lot of them are uncomfortable with sitting in the lunch room.

Silent also isn’t actually silent. Instead, students would rather sit in her room and do work, talk, or listen to music. 

Throughout the day, Joao helps students get caught up on assignments and helps with schedules. She also talks to them about what’s going on in their lives.

According to Joao, the WHS administration is really good and there for her. The only issue is how there is only one Ms. Joao to help all of the students.