Dr. Whitney Kovach is the School Counselor/Behavior Facilitator at McDowell Elementary in Columbia, TN. She has experience as a classroom teacher, school counselor at all levels and has also served as Supervisor of Pupil Support in a previous district. Her expertise is in trauma-informed, restorative school climate and culture, behavior replacement, and college and career readiness at all grade levels.
As a progressive and innovative leader within the field of counseling, Dr Kovach wasted no time in adapting counseling and student services to meet the needs of her community, students and families. Through a learning management system (LMS), Seesaw, Dr. Kovach posts weekly counseling and student services newsletters full of resources, weekly student and parent check-ins, and social emotional learning lessons. This platform has enabled on-going contact with students and families. Dr. Kovach also set-up a remote office phone number through Google Voice that allows parents and students the ability to text or call her. This allows parents, who have no internet access, the ability to receive counseling and student services updates in order to stay connected to someone at the school level.
Weekly newsletters are full or resources for families to seek free mental health services, financial assistance, and other resources to support them during this time.
Dr. Kovach quotes Brene Brown, “We are hardwired to connect with others, its what gives purpose and meaning our lives, and without it there is suffering.” This is a very difficult time for our state and country. A pandemic crisis affects us all, regardless of socioeconomics. Parents, guardians, and community need support during this time. For this very reason, Dr. Kovach sent every family and student a card with contact information and a message of encouragement.
Dr. Kovach utilizes social media platforms to share information with her students, community, and families. Creating catchy story boards to post on social media is critical and vital to maintain connection with student, community, and families. She created a ‘chalk your walk’ campaign for Maury County to participate in to lift spirits, inspire creativity, and to provide a family activity.
Most recently, Dr. Kovach has been dropping signs in student’s yards while she is doing essential shopping. These signs encourage and foster relationships and engagement with the school and our learning management system to keep students on track. The parents share pictures with Dr. Kovach, and the students and families enjoy seeing their students surprised.
Dr. Kovach has compiled a list of resources and effective strategies that she has employed throughout this unprecedented school closure and has been sharing them across the state with other counselors and school administrators. Dr. Kovach is passionate about helping students, families, communities, and her state develop effective practices around mental health, behavior replacement, crisis management, and helping all students become happy, healthy, and productive citizens within society.
You can connect with Dr. Kovach through any social media platform (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin @whitneykovach). You can also reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.