Themes to Inspire New Year’s Resolutions for Counselors

December 20, 2022
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The end of the calendar year is a wonderful time to pause and reflect on the past, celebrate earned successes, and feel energized about what might be possible in the coming year. It is also a time to consider policies and practices that might make sense to leave behind that are no longer serving you or your students. 

As you embark on 2023, use this list to inspire thinking, planning, actions, efforts, and collaborations during this next year. 

Focus on connecting with students and building relationships. Nearly all counselors have larger caseloads and longer to-do lists than any one person could complete. It is so easy to get overwhelmed by these many tasks and lose sight of the individual people who make up our ecosystems. Relationships are at the core of nearly all the work that counselors do. Prioritize time to broaden connections and build stronger relationships with all stakeholders in this new year, and don’t underestimate the critical role you play in your school community. 

  • Have more conversations with students and include topics beyond grades and test scores. This might take place in the few moments as you pass in the hallway or when you pause in the lunchroom to ask how a student is doing. This time communicates to students that they are valued and cared for and can help broaden the understanding of a particular student’s context and background. 
  • Engaging with families can be a pivotal step in expanding the reach and success of career and college readiness programs. Explore creative ways to engage with harder-to-reach families. Think about whether you could hold meetings at more accessible times or add a digital component for remote access. 

Consider additional ways to promote equity. When evaluating and planning for college or career exploration and preparation, consider participation, outreach, and disparities among students of different genders, racial or ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic status. Looking closely at course or programmatic enrollment and noticing whether students from a particular demographic group are disproportionately represented or excluded can be a key initial step. Finding ways to broaden outreach to underserved groups and making special efforts to provide a diversity of role models for a variety of career and college options can have life-changing and long-lasting impacts on students.

  • When discussing postsecondary plans, help students focus on finding the best fit for them rather than assuming there is a hierarchy of options. Too many students think that going directly to a four-year college is the best option and feel like they are settling or failing if they choose a different path. Sharing success stories and financial benefits of different options–including military, career, technical training, or college–can expand students’ conceptions of postsecondary success. 
  • For many students and families, the financial strains of college or career training can be a prohibitive barrier to postsecondary next steps. Many families have no experience base with the financial aid process. Consider ways to differentiate support for students and families, as needed, to ensure that all have access to the necessary information to be eligible for financial assistance. 

Encourage meaningful goal setting. Having a well-thought out, informed goal is one of the most critical components to a student truly being college- and career-ready. This is the case for all students, regardless of postsecondary pathways as so many decision points during high school impact a student’s eligibility for options beyond graduation. And, there are tremendous costs–including financial, temporal, and quality of life–for students who are stagnant because they are not working toward an outcome or fall behind because they end up in a situation that is a bad fit.  

  • Help students engage in meaningful goal setting from freshman year. Build it into advisory period work or the course selection process. Find ways to embed it in processes for students so that they regularly revisit their goal, iteratively adapt it as they learn and have new experiences, and use the goal to inform decision-making. 
  • Empower students to use their voice and exercise choice through the goal-setting process. Help them understand the breadth and depth of options available to them, rather than them naturally defaulting to what they know from family and friends. Find opportunities for them to share their dreams and clearly lay out necessary steps to achieve what might seem like lofty and impossible goals. Providing tangible steps allows students to see how they can make these dreams possible. 

Looking Forward to The New Year 

In order to have energy and enthusiasm to make all of these things happen in your school or district, remember that it is important to incorporate learning and joy into your days. Counselors spend nearly all their time taking care of others–be sure to take care of yourself, too. Whether a five minute meditation, exercise, listening to music in the car, or connecting with friends, think about what you can build into your day to support your wellbeing. Finding an exciting professional development opportunity might inspire new ways of thinking or open up a dialogue to help you engage students in new ways. Or even taking a few moments to sit down to eat a meal or connect with colleagues to chat and laugh can help you maintain perspective and prevent you from feeling isolated as you tackle challenges. 

And, in all this focus on what you are going to do in the next calendar year, do not forget to take time to celebrate success! Share interesting and exciting things that are happening in your school or district. Counselors are the connective tissue in a school community. Few people truly understand the countless hats counselors wear. As you enter the new year, feel proud of all the incredible good you have done during this past year for students, families, and colleagues. 

The end of the calendar year is a wonderful time to pause and reflect on the past, celebrate earned successes, and feel energized about what might be possible in the coming year. It is also a time to consider policies and practices that might make sense to leave behind that are no longer serving you or your students. 

As you embark on 2023, use this list to inspire thinking, planning, actions, efforts, and collaborations during this next year. 

Focus on connecting with students and building relationships. Nearly all counselors have larger caseloads and longer to-do lists than any one person could complete. It is so easy to get overwhelmed by these many tasks and lose sight of the individual people who make up our ecosystems. Relationships are at the core of nearly all the work that counselors do. Prioritize time to broaden connections and build stronger relationships with all stakeholders in this new year, and don’t underestimate the critical role you play in your school community. 

  • Have more conversations with students and include topics beyond grades and test scores. This might take place in the few moments as you pass in the hallway or when you pause in the lunchroom to ask how a student is doing. This time communicates to students that they are valued and cared for and can help broaden the understanding of a particular student’s context and background. 
  • Engaging with families can be a pivotal step in expanding the reach and success of career and college readiness programs. Explore creative ways to engage with harder-to-reach families. Think about whether you could hold meetings at more accessible times or add a digital component for remote access. 

Consider additional ways to promote equity. When evaluating and planning for college or career exploration and preparation, consider participation, outreach, and disparities among students of different genders, racial or ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic status. Looking closely at course or programmatic enrollment and noticing whether students from a particular demographic group are disproportionately represented or excluded can be a key initial step. Finding ways to broaden outreach to underserved groups and making special efforts to provide a diversity of role models for a variety of career and college options can have life-changing and long-lasting impacts on students.

  • When discussing postsecondary plans, help students focus on finding the best fit for them rather than assuming there is a hierarchy of options. Too many students think that going directly to a four-year college is the best option and feel like they are settling or failing if they choose a different path. Sharing success stories and financial benefits of different options–including military, career, technical training, or college–can expand students’ conceptions of postsecondary success. 
  • For many students and families, the financial strains of college or career training can be a prohibitive barrier to postsecondary next steps. Many families have no experience base with the financial aid process. Consider ways to differentiate support for students and families, as needed, to ensure that all have access to the necessary information to be eligible for financial assistance. 

Encourage meaningful goal setting. Having a well-thought out, informed goal is one of the most critical components to a student truly being college- and career-ready. This is the case for all students, regardless of postsecondary pathways as so many decision points during high school impact a student’s eligibility for options beyond graduation. And, there are tremendous costs–including financial, temporal, and quality of life–for students who are stagnant because they are not working toward an outcome or fall behind because they end up in a situation that is a bad fit.  

  • Help students engage in meaningful goal setting from freshman year. Build it into advisory period work or the course selection process. Find ways to embed it in processes for students so that they regularly revisit their goal, iteratively adapt it as they learn and have new experiences, and use the goal to inform decision-making. 
  • Empower students to use their voice and exercise choice through the goal-setting process. Help them understand the breadth and depth of options available to them, rather than them naturally defaulting to what they know from family and friends. Find opportunities for them to share their dreams and clearly lay out necessary steps to achieve what might seem like lofty and impossible goals. Providing tangible steps allows students to see how they can make these dreams possible. 

Looking Forward to The New Year 

In order to have energy and enthusiasm to make all of these things happen in your school or district, remember that it is important to incorporate learning and joy into your days. Counselors spend nearly all their time taking care of others–be sure to take care of yourself, too. Whether a five minute meditation, exercise, listening to music in the car, or connecting with friends, think about what you can build into your day to support your wellbeing. Finding an exciting professional development opportunity might inspire new ways of thinking or open up a dialogue to help you engage students in new ways. Or even taking a few moments to sit down to eat a meal or connect with colleagues to chat and laugh can help you maintain perspective and prevent you from feeling isolated as you tackle challenges. 

And, in all this focus on what you are going to do in the next calendar year, do not forget to take time to celebrate success! Share interesting and exciting things that are happening in your school or district. Counselors are the connective tissue in a school community. Few people truly understand the countless hats counselors wear. As you enter the new year, feel proud of all the incredible good you have done during this past year for students, families, and colleagues. 

The end of the calendar year is a wonderful time to pause and reflect on the past, celebrate earned successes, and feel energized about what might be possible in the coming year. It is also a time to consider policies and practices that might make sense to leave behind that are no longer serving you or your students. 

As you embark on 2023, use this list to inspire thinking, planning, actions, efforts, and collaborations during this next year. 

Focus on connecting with students and building relationships. Nearly all counselors have larger caseloads and longer to-do lists than any one person could complete. It is so easy to get overwhelmed by these many tasks and lose sight of the individual people who make up our ecosystems. Relationships are at the core of nearly all the work that counselors do. Prioritize time to broaden connections and build stronger relationships with all stakeholders in this new year, and don’t underestimate the critical role you play in your school community. 

  • Have more conversations with students and include topics beyond grades and test scores. This might take place in the few moments as you pass in the hallway or when you pause in the lunchroom to ask how a student is doing. This time communicates to students that they are valued and cared for and can help broaden the understanding of a particular student’s context and background. 
  • Engaging with families can be a pivotal step in expanding the reach and success of career and college readiness programs. Explore creative ways to engage with harder-to-reach families. Think about whether you could hold meetings at more accessible times or add a digital component for remote access. 

Consider additional ways to promote equity. When evaluating and planning for college or career exploration and preparation, consider participation, outreach, and disparities among students of different genders, racial or ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic status. Looking closely at course or programmatic enrollment and noticing whether students from a particular demographic group are disproportionately represented or excluded can be a key initial step. Finding ways to broaden outreach to underserved groups and making special efforts to provide a diversity of role models for a variety of career and college options can have life-changing and long-lasting impacts on students.

  • When discussing postsecondary plans, help students focus on finding the best fit for them rather than assuming there is a hierarchy of options. Too many students think that going directly to a four-year college is the best option and feel like they are settling or failing if they choose a different path. Sharing success stories and financial benefits of different options–including military, career, technical training, or college–can expand students’ conceptions of postsecondary success. 
  • For many students and families, the financial strains of college or career training can be a prohibitive barrier to postsecondary next steps. Many families have no experience base with the financial aid process. Consider ways to differentiate support for students and families, as needed, to ensure that all have access to the necessary information to be eligible for financial assistance. 

Encourage meaningful goal setting. Having a well-thought out, informed goal is one of the most critical components to a student truly being college- and career-ready. This is the case for all students, regardless of postsecondary pathways as so many decision points during high school impact a student’s eligibility for options beyond graduation. And, there are tremendous costs–including financial, temporal, and quality of life–for students who are stagnant because they are not working toward an outcome or fall behind because they end up in a situation that is a bad fit.  

  • Help students engage in meaningful goal setting from freshman year. Build it into advisory period work or the course selection process. Find ways to embed it in processes for students so that they regularly revisit their goal, iteratively adapt it as they learn and have new experiences, and use the goal to inform decision-making. 
  • Empower students to use their voice and exercise choice through the goal-setting process. Help them understand the breadth and depth of options available to them, rather than them naturally defaulting to what they know from family and friends. Find opportunities for them to share their dreams and clearly lay out necessary steps to achieve what might seem like lofty and impossible goals. Providing tangible steps allows students to see how they can make these dreams possible. 

Looking Forward to The New Year 

In order to have energy and enthusiasm to make all of these things happen in your school or district, remember that it is important to incorporate learning and joy into your days. Counselors spend nearly all their time taking care of others–be sure to take care of yourself, too. Whether a five minute meditation, exercise, listening to music in the car, or connecting with friends, think about what you can build into your day to support your wellbeing. Finding an exciting professional development opportunity might inspire new ways of thinking or open up a dialogue to help you engage students in new ways. Or even taking a few moments to sit down to eat a meal or connect with colleagues to chat and laugh can help you maintain perspective and prevent you from feeling isolated as you tackle challenges. 

And, in all this focus on what you are going to do in the next calendar year, do not forget to take time to celebrate success! Share interesting and exciting things that are happening in your school or district. Counselors are the connective tissue in a school community. Few people truly understand the countless hats counselors wear. As you enter the new year, feel proud of all the incredible good you have done during this past year for students, families, and colleagues. 

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The end of the calendar year is a wonderful time to pause and reflect on the past, celebrate earned successes, and feel energized about what might be possible in the coming year. It is also a time to consider policies and practices that might make sense to leave behind that are no longer serving you or your students. 

As you embark on 2023, use this list to inspire thinking, planning, actions, efforts, and collaborations during this next year. 

Focus on connecting with students and building relationships. Nearly all counselors have larger caseloads and longer to-do lists than any one person could complete. It is so easy to get overwhelmed by these many tasks and lose sight of the individual people who make up our ecosystems. Relationships are at the core of nearly all the work that counselors do. Prioritize time to broaden connections and build stronger relationships with all stakeholders in this new year, and don’t underestimate the critical role you play in your school community. 

  • Have more conversations with students and include topics beyond grades and test scores. This might take place in the few moments as you pass in the hallway or when you pause in the lunchroom to ask how a student is doing. This time communicates to students that they are valued and cared for and can help broaden the understanding of a particular student’s context and background. 
  • Engaging with families can be a pivotal step in expanding the reach and success of career and college readiness programs. Explore creative ways to engage with harder-to-reach families. Think about whether you could hold meetings at more accessible times or add a digital component for remote access. 

Consider additional ways to promote equity. When evaluating and planning for college or career exploration and preparation, consider participation, outreach, and disparities among students of different genders, racial or ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic status. Looking closely at course or programmatic enrollment and noticing whether students from a particular demographic group are disproportionately represented or excluded can be a key initial step. Finding ways to broaden outreach to underserved groups and making special efforts to provide a diversity of role models for a variety of career and college options can have life-changing and long-lasting impacts on students.

  • When discussing postsecondary plans, help students focus on finding the best fit for them rather than assuming there is a hierarchy of options. Too many students think that going directly to a four-year college is the best option and feel like they are settling or failing if they choose a different path. Sharing success stories and financial benefits of different options–including military, career, technical training, or college–can expand students’ conceptions of postsecondary success. 
  • For many students and families, the financial strains of college or career training can be a prohibitive barrier to postsecondary next steps. Many families have no experience base with the financial aid process. Consider ways to differentiate support for students and families, as needed, to ensure that all have access to the necessary information to be eligible for financial assistance. 

Encourage meaningful goal setting. Having a well-thought out, informed goal is one of the most critical components to a student truly being college- and career-ready. This is the case for all students, regardless of postsecondary pathways as so many decision points during high school impact a student’s eligibility for options beyond graduation. And, there are tremendous costs–including financial, temporal, and quality of life–for students who are stagnant because they are not working toward an outcome or fall behind because they end up in a situation that is a bad fit.  

  • Help students engage in meaningful goal setting from freshman year. Build it into advisory period work or the course selection process. Find ways to embed it in processes for students so that they regularly revisit their goal, iteratively adapt it as they learn and have new experiences, and use the goal to inform decision-making. 
  • Empower students to use their voice and exercise choice through the goal-setting process. Help them understand the breadth and depth of options available to them, rather than them naturally defaulting to what they know from family and friends. Find opportunities for them to share their dreams and clearly lay out necessary steps to achieve what might seem like lofty and impossible goals. Providing tangible steps allows students to see how they can make these dreams possible. 

Looking Forward to The New Year 

In order to have energy and enthusiasm to make all of these things happen in your school or district, remember that it is important to incorporate learning and joy into your days. Counselors spend nearly all their time taking care of others–be sure to take care of yourself, too. Whether a five minute meditation, exercise, listening to music in the car, or connecting with friends, think about what you can build into your day to support your wellbeing. Finding an exciting professional development opportunity might inspire new ways of thinking or open up a dialogue to help you engage students in new ways. Or even taking a few moments to sit down to eat a meal or connect with colleagues to chat and laugh can help you maintain perspective and prevent you from feeling isolated as you tackle challenges. 

And, in all this focus on what you are going to do in the next calendar year, do not forget to take time to celebrate success! Share interesting and exciting things that are happening in your school or district. Counselors are the connective tissue in a school community. Few people truly understand the countless hats counselors wear. As you enter the new year, feel proud of all the incredible good you have done during this past year for students, families, and colleagues. 

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The end of the calendar year is a wonderful time to pause and reflect on the past, celebrate earned successes, and feel energized about what might be possible in the coming year. It is also a time to consider policies and practices that might make sense to leave behind that are no longer serving you or your students. 

As you embark on 2023, use this list to inspire thinking, planning, actions, efforts, and collaborations during this next year. 

Focus on connecting with students and building relationships. Nearly all counselors have larger caseloads and longer to-do lists than any one person could complete. It is so easy to get overwhelmed by these many tasks and lose sight of the individual people who make up our ecosystems. Relationships are at the core of nearly all the work that counselors do. Prioritize time to broaden connections and build stronger relationships with all stakeholders in this new year, and don’t underestimate the critical role you play in your school community. 

  • Have more conversations with students and include topics beyond grades and test scores. This might take place in the few moments as you pass in the hallway or when you pause in the lunchroom to ask how a student is doing. This time communicates to students that they are valued and cared for and can help broaden the understanding of a particular student’s context and background. 
  • Engaging with families can be a pivotal step in expanding the reach and success of career and college readiness programs. Explore creative ways to engage with harder-to-reach families. Think about whether you could hold meetings at more accessible times or add a digital component for remote access. 

Consider additional ways to promote equity. When evaluating and planning for college or career exploration and preparation, consider participation, outreach, and disparities among students of different genders, racial or ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic status. Looking closely at course or programmatic enrollment and noticing whether students from a particular demographic group are disproportionately represented or excluded can be a key initial step. Finding ways to broaden outreach to underserved groups and making special efforts to provide a diversity of role models for a variety of career and college options can have life-changing and long-lasting impacts on students.

  • When discussing postsecondary plans, help students focus on finding the best fit for them rather than assuming there is a hierarchy of options. Too many students think that going directly to a four-year college is the best option and feel like they are settling or failing if they choose a different path. Sharing success stories and financial benefits of different options–including military, career, technical training, or college–can expand students’ conceptions of postsecondary success. 
  • For many students and families, the financial strains of college or career training can be a prohibitive barrier to postsecondary next steps. Many families have no experience base with the financial aid process. Consider ways to differentiate support for students and families, as needed, to ensure that all have access to the necessary information to be eligible for financial assistance. 

Encourage meaningful goal setting. Having a well-thought out, informed goal is one of the most critical components to a student truly being college- and career-ready. This is the case for all students, regardless of postsecondary pathways as so many decision points during high school impact a student’s eligibility for options beyond graduation. And, there are tremendous costs–including financial, temporal, and quality of life–for students who are stagnant because they are not working toward an outcome or fall behind because they end up in a situation that is a bad fit.  

  • Help students engage in meaningful goal setting from freshman year. Build it into advisory period work or the course selection process. Find ways to embed it in processes for students so that they regularly revisit their goal, iteratively adapt it as they learn and have new experiences, and use the goal to inform decision-making. 
  • Empower students to use their voice and exercise choice through the goal-setting process. Help them understand the breadth and depth of options available to them, rather than them naturally defaulting to what they know from family and friends. Find opportunities for them to share their dreams and clearly lay out necessary steps to achieve what might seem like lofty and impossible goals. Providing tangible steps allows students to see how they can make these dreams possible. 

Looking Forward to The New Year 

In order to have energy and enthusiasm to make all of these things happen in your school or district, remember that it is important to incorporate learning and joy into your days. Counselors spend nearly all their time taking care of others–be sure to take care of yourself, too. Whether a five minute meditation, exercise, listening to music in the car, or connecting with friends, think about what you can build into your day to support your wellbeing. Finding an exciting professional development opportunity might inspire new ways of thinking or open up a dialogue to help you engage students in new ways. Or even taking a few moments to sit down to eat a meal or connect with colleagues to chat and laugh can help you maintain perspective and prevent you from feeling isolated as you tackle challenges. 

And, in all this focus on what you are going to do in the next calendar year, do not forget to take time to celebrate success! Share interesting and exciting things that are happening in your school or district. Counselors are the connective tissue in a school community. Few people truly understand the countless hats counselors wear. As you enter the new year, feel proud of all the incredible good you have done during this past year for students, families, and colleagues. 

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The end of the calendar year is a wonderful time to pause and reflect on the past, celebrate earned successes, and feel energized about what might be possible in the coming year. It is also a time to consider policies and practices that might make sense to leave behind that are no longer serving you or your students. 

As you embark on 2023, use this list to inspire thinking, planning, actions, efforts, and collaborations during this next year. 

Focus on connecting with students and building relationships. Nearly all counselors have larger caseloads and longer to-do lists than any one person could complete. It is so easy to get overwhelmed by these many tasks and lose sight of the individual people who make up our ecosystems. Relationships are at the core of nearly all the work that counselors do. Prioritize time to broaden connections and build stronger relationships with all stakeholders in this new year, and don’t underestimate the critical role you play in your school community. 

  • Have more conversations with students and include topics beyond grades and test scores. This might take place in the few moments as you pass in the hallway or when you pause in the lunchroom to ask how a student is doing. This time communicates to students that they are valued and cared for and can help broaden the understanding of a particular student’s context and background. 
  • Engaging with families can be a pivotal step in expanding the reach and success of career and college readiness programs. Explore creative ways to engage with harder-to-reach families. Think about whether you could hold meetings at more accessible times or add a digital component for remote access. 

Consider additional ways to promote equity. When evaluating and planning for college or career exploration and preparation, consider participation, outreach, and disparities among students of different genders, racial or ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic status. Looking closely at course or programmatic enrollment and noticing whether students from a particular demographic group are disproportionately represented or excluded can be a key initial step. Finding ways to broaden outreach to underserved groups and making special efforts to provide a diversity of role models for a variety of career and college options can have life-changing and long-lasting impacts on students.

  • When discussing postsecondary plans, help students focus on finding the best fit for them rather than assuming there is a hierarchy of options. Too many students think that going directly to a four-year college is the best option and feel like they are settling or failing if they choose a different path. Sharing success stories and financial benefits of different options–including military, career, technical training, or college–can expand students’ conceptions of postsecondary success. 
  • For many students and families, the financial strains of college or career training can be a prohibitive barrier to postsecondary next steps. Many families have no experience base with the financial aid process. Consider ways to differentiate support for students and families, as needed, to ensure that all have access to the necessary information to be eligible for financial assistance. 

Encourage meaningful goal setting. Having a well-thought out, informed goal is one of the most critical components to a student truly being college- and career-ready. This is the case for all students, regardless of postsecondary pathways as so many decision points during high school impact a student’s eligibility for options beyond graduation. And, there are tremendous costs–including financial, temporal, and quality of life–for students who are stagnant because they are not working toward an outcome or fall behind because they end up in a situation that is a bad fit.  

  • Help students engage in meaningful goal setting from freshman year. Build it into advisory period work or the course selection process. Find ways to embed it in processes for students so that they regularly revisit their goal, iteratively adapt it as they learn and have new experiences, and use the goal to inform decision-making. 
  • Empower students to use their voice and exercise choice through the goal-setting process. Help them understand the breadth and depth of options available to them, rather than them naturally defaulting to what they know from family and friends. Find opportunities for them to share their dreams and clearly lay out necessary steps to achieve what might seem like lofty and impossible goals. Providing tangible steps allows students to see how they can make these dreams possible. 

Looking Forward to The New Year 

In order to have energy and enthusiasm to make all of these things happen in your school or district, remember that it is important to incorporate learning and joy into your days. Counselors spend nearly all their time taking care of others–be sure to take care of yourself, too. Whether a five minute meditation, exercise, listening to music in the car, or connecting with friends, think about what you can build into your day to support your wellbeing. Finding an exciting professional development opportunity might inspire new ways of thinking or open up a dialogue to help you engage students in new ways. Or even taking a few moments to sit down to eat a meal or connect with colleagues to chat and laugh can help you maintain perspective and prevent you from feeling isolated as you tackle challenges. 

And, in all this focus on what you are going to do in the next calendar year, do not forget to take time to celebrate success! Share interesting and exciting things that are happening in your school or district. Counselors are the connective tissue in a school community. Few people truly understand the countless hats counselors wear. As you enter the new year, feel proud of all the incredible good you have done during this past year for students, families, and colleagues.