Northside Elementary School Counselor Chantel Click helps to bring the importance of mental health and social skills to elementary-aged children.
The school recently recognized her as the school’s Support and Wellness Employee of the Year.
Click said she visits classrooms on a rotating basis to teach students about social and emotional skills, as well as offer group counseling and short-term help.
“(For) kindergarten, I teach lessons on character traits like kindness, good judgment, grit, optimism, and I'm in there weekly,” she said. “For grades first through fifth, I'm in classes with them every other week, and we talk about things like friendship, empathy, goal setting, career and post-secondary planning.”
Northside Elementary School Principal Coretta Sharpless described Click as an educator who reminds those around her that every child deserves the excellence of education.
Click said working as an after-school counselor while she was in college led her to apply for the Masters of School Counseling Program at UNC.
“At that school where so many of the kids had every advantage in life — academically, financially — there were still a lot of social and emotional challenges that they faced,” she said. “It just kept me thinking about if these kids with all these resources still have this type of area of growth or concern, what is at the root of it and how can I be a part of helping.”
Northside Elementary School's emphasis on social and emotional learning is not a universal trait in all elementary schools. Assistant Principal Kirtina Jones said she feels elementary schools sometimes get overlooked because resources are often delegated to middle and high schools.
Sharpless said having an employee who understands emotions and the psyche within the school is very important. Sharpless added that Click also provides counsel for other staff.