AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – By this time next week, almost every school in the Valley will be back in class.
Going back to school can put a lot of stress on students as they have more expectations.
School guidance counselors at Austintown Middle School feel that this is because they need a sense of belonging and security. This can come with anxiety that some parents may overlook.
Austintown Middle School’s counselor, Heidi Martin, said they’re taking steps to make sure students have the help they need, however.
“They do a great job of letting our kids know that there is a school counselor available to them to help them eliminate any type of fear, anxiety, depression, whatever it is that they have going on there is someone trained in the building that can work them through these issues,” she said.
Austintown’s WEB program also seeks to ease the transition for the incoming students.
WEB stands for “Where Everybody Belongs.” It helps incoming sixth-graders find a familiar face in the building during the school year.
This is the fourth year of the program.
School officials believe that having a program like this can help ease stress and anxiety from students and give them one less thing to worry about.
Whether it’s directions to their next class, finding somewhere to sit at lunch or making a new friend, this program is able to offer it all, according to program coordinator Michelle Best.
“This program gives them that human connection that is so often forgotten today, and it’s absolutely irreplaceable,” she said. “They get to see another person that is genuinely concerned about them, and it’s a relationship that is fostered and developed throughout the school year.”
The program has been so successful that it has caught the attention of local community partners. Now, all school supplies taken care of for all of the incoming sixth graders.