“You are smart. You are kind. You are intelligent. You are amazing!”
Many students hear these positive affirmations each day at The Museum School from their warm and dedicated school counselor, Ms. Raquel Jones. Herself a married mother of three daughters, Jones visits nearly 30 K-8 classrooms each month to connect with TMS students.
Born in Texas, she moved to Atlanta at the age of five as the youngest of three siblings. She earned an undergraduate degree in Communications from Georgia State University and a Master’s degree in School Counseling from Columbus State. In her free time, she is an avid runner with the Big Peach Running Club and Black Girls Run! In fact, this October, she completed the 2016 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
While the school’s teachers work on academic skills, Jones focuses on teaching life skills. She routinely leads in-class discussions on good citizenship and The Museum School’s six Core Values. Often, children need help learning life skills like making friends, developing responsibility and taking tests.
Some students need individual help from time to time, and when they do, Jones is there to listen and offer ideas. In addition, she leads small, structured groups with staff advisers outside of class to help kids with common issues they are facing. Additionally, though she is not trained in psychology, in some cases she may make referrals to outside professionals. While Jones recognizes there have always been stigmas surrounding counseling, her work is preventative in nature, what she refers to as “Developmental Guidance and Counseling.”
Jones is building on the work of her predecessors at The Museum School, and planning new initiatives, too. October’s Red Ribbon Week focused on drug and alcohol awareness and was followed by Pennies for Patients – a fundraising effort to support children with cancer. This month, she leads the school’s annual canned food drive, and in the spring, she will coordinate Career Day activities. Jones also planned and implemented a new middle school advisory program this year, with smaller groups “so that advisers can really focus on helping a small group of students develop interpersonal and intrapersonal skills.”
She encourages kids to branch out and try new things, like playing a sport or an instrument, and to develop a good balance between life inside and outside of their school and local community experience.