When Misty Groseth was in high school, she didn’t really know what she wanted to do for a career.
“I knew I wanted to be in a helping profession,” she says,”and I knew I wanted to work with youth.”
Today Misty Grosweth, M.Ed. is the school counselor to the 315 students at San Carlos High School (SCHS) and the 90+ students at the alternative high school. She’s glad both schools are on the same campus so that all students have access to the academic and socio-emotional support available.
“The teen years can be difficult,” says Misty, “everything seems so permanent and immediate.”
Misty earned bachelor degrees in Theatre and Religious Studies, a master degree in School Counseling and credentials in Pupil Personnel Services (PPS). She had always been interested in learning about different cultures, so when a position opened in the San Carlos School District (SCSD), she was intrigued. After a phone interview, she took her first trip to San Carlos and got a tour of the schools.
“It was a fascinating place to me,” she says. “Really magical.”
She told the superintendent she’d take the job. He told her to take the weekend and think about it. More than eight years later, Misty says it’s the work with San Carlos students that keeps her coming back.
“You have an opportunity to fill a gap and make a difference in their lives,” Misty says. “and they’ve made a difference in my life.”
“The biggest problem is motivation and drive,” Misty says. “You can affect that somewhat but a lot relates to the home value system and requires changing priorities.”
One big change she’s noticed since she started at SCHS is the focus on academics.
“When I first got here there were so many students failing classes,” Misty recalls. “Credit recovery was a huge issue.”
Students weren’t prepared to be students, she explains. They had no backpacks or school supplies. The hallways were busy and noisy. Fights were common. To be recognized as a good student was uncool.
Three years ago SCHS implemented a program that began to change the culture. All students receive a binder with dividers for classes and other essential school supplies. They are required to bring the binder to every class and write down assignments. Being on time is a big deal.
“That has made such a huge difference,” says Misty, “to be a student and to be a prepared student is now the norm.”
Preparing for Success
Every student at SCHS and its alternative high school now has a Success Coach, a new role inspired by the pandemic. A Success Coach reaches out to students every week by Zoom or phone and sends updates about classes and activities. Most teachers coach 4-5 students; Misty and other key staff carry 15-20. Coaches meet weekly to focus on grades and strategize intervention for those falling behind. In response to growing absenteeism (10% increase since going virtual), coaches now drop into Zoom classes and call or text students who are not present.
“Some students are so capable, but through life situations, they don’t take advantage of the opportunities that are there — where their potential could take them,” says Misty.
SCHS offers a variety of programs to prepare students for life beyond high school — AVID electives, Career & Technology Education (CTE) courses, and dual-enrollment college-level courses through San Carlos Apache College, and AVID electives.
Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) is a non-profit program designed to help first-generation students attend college. Though AVID is an elective course, Misty considers it essential for college-bound students, especially those interested in a 4-year university.
“It’s great for B or C students that need extra help, or an extra push,” says Misty. “In addition to helping with applications, scholarships and financial aid, kids learn skills that help them be successful in life — leadership, organization, how to form study groups.”
For the past three years, SCHS has partnered with San Carlos Apache College to offer dual-enrollment classes to its students. Students can earn both high school and college in chemistry, algebra, psychology, and Apache language.
“Even with the pandemic,” says Misty Groseth, “we had 22 students enrolled.”
CTE programs at SCHS are well-developed with seasoned teachers and “amazing” facilities.They teach students hard and soft skills that make them more employable. Certification paths include Culinary, Agri-Science, Construction, Animation and Robotics, Graphic Design, Digital Communication, Hospitality and Stagecraft, a new program Misty started in the 2019-20 school year.
“CTE programs are a great opportunity for students whether they are going into college or not going onto college,” says Misty. “Mastery of a skill improves confidence.”
A traveler, Patti Daley came to Globe in 2016 to face the heat, follow love, and find desert treasure. She writes in many formats and records travel scraps and other musings at daleywriting.com.