letter to the editor

Please rehire Mrs. Johnson

Mon, 07/13/2020 - 2:30pm

Dear Editor:

I'm a parent of three former students of Boothbay Region High School, including a 2020 graduate. I am writing on behalf of Hannah Johnson. It came to my attention that her job might be eliminated. I also learned that, once that happens, all of her duties are going to transfer to the guidance counselor.

Our children depended on Mrs. Johnson for every step of their college planning and acceptance, including navigating the challenges of scholarships and financial aid. While the guidance counselor is an excellent resource, that isn't enough. Each time I have ever emailed Mrs. Johnson, she replied immediately with an answer or that she would find an answer. When you are up against the clock or are worried about the next step of a process, communication is important to parents and students.

When I was a substitute, I listened to students remark about their need to make an appointment with Mrs. Johnson because they were overwhelmed with the college application process. She spent a significant amount of time with students, replying to emails, and answering parent questions. I could see the positive impact that was having on the students and their confidence to continue moving forward.

There were many instances where we had no idea which scholarships we should apply for because there are so many. But those worries didn't last long because Mrs. Johnson sent out numerous emails containing this information. She hosted detailed workshops teaching students how to apply for scholarships, look for the best colleges, write essays, set up pertinent financial aid accounts, and adhere to deadlines.

Honestly, I don't see how the guidance counselor is going to have time to dedicate to what Mrs. Johnson does. Between last year and the year before, I have often wondered why the school department hasn't budgeted more hours for her work. So, when I heard about that position eliminating, I was baffled. I understand budget cuts, but this one is a mistake.

I hope you reconsider this decision. Thank you for listening.

Jenn Greenleaf