Heather Murphy, a mental health counselor with years of experience in different school settings, has joined Dutchess BOCES’ Alternative High School (AHS) as a school counselor.
The counselor’s first order of business is to meet and work with all AHS students she is assigned to and their families to set realistic goals for the school year, as well as motivate and remind them why attending school every day is important.
“If there’s no buy-in, why are they coming? They need a reason,” Murphy explained. “I want to help them achieve the goals that we can set for their child and make that reality.”
Some of the struggles Murphy has noticed students have include readjusting back to an in-person routine and using socialization skills following remote learning during COVID. She is no stranger to working with a similar population of students and predicts they will persevere.
“That’s hard for a lot of people, even adults had a hard time going back to work,” Murphy said. “They will get there, slow and steady.”
Before BOCES, Murphy was a counselor in various area Catholic and private schools, through Catapult Learning, an agency that places support staff in such schools. She holds a Clinical Certificate for Mental Health Counseling from Antioch University and both a Bachelors and Masters from Mercy College.
AHS staff and students have warmly welcomed Murphy and the other new main office staff who are helping each other in their roles.
“I find comfort in that we’re learning together,” Murphy said. “Everybody here has been great; the students I’ve dealt with have been very respectful.”
Outside of work, Murphy loves spending time with her children and Coco, her Double Doodle dog (a cross between a Golden doodle and Labradoodle, as well as photography, going to the beach and gardening.
“I have four kids and I’m usually with them,” Murphy said. “We’ll go on hikes; I’m driving a lot, participating in activities and I find joy in that.”