MSU-Meridian forms new partnership with Louisville Public Schools

MERIDIAN, Miss.-A sponsored partnership between Mississippi State University-Meridian and the Louisville Public School District is enabling one student to gain valuable on-the-job experiences while providing counseling services for the district at a fraction of the cost.

Students like Meridian graduate student Christie Smith who are pursuing their school counseling license must complete 1,200 hours of field experience, the equivalent of working 40-hours a week for nine months, said Kimberly Hall, associate professor school counseling at MSU-Meridian.  

"Due to the demands and expectations of the program, our students usually can't work another job while in this stage of their degree, so we are very grateful to the district for sponsoring Christie," Hall added.

According to terms of the partnership, Smith will provide individual and group counseling, as well as career development counseling for students, along with consultations and workshops with parents and teachers. Other professional development activities and counseling-guidance activities also may be assigned by district administrators. 

Nola Bryant, the district's assessment and accountability director, said Louisville Public Schools regards the partnership both as the opportunity to gain additional student services and assist a prospective counselor in gaining real-world experiences in day-to-day school operations.

"It also allows us to observe how well the participant fits into the role of counselor and interacts with our students and other professional staff should we have a counseling position open in the future," Bryant said.

Hall said she and other administrators in MSU-Meridian’s Division of Education are hopeful similar partnerships will be forged with additional school districts around the state.

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