Amber Bryant 

A Beacon of Support and Empowerment at Maple Hills Elementary

In the heart of Maple Hills Elementary School, there's a shining light named Amber Bryant, the dedicated school counselor who has become the cornerstone of support and empowerment for every student fortunate enough to cross her path. With a master's degree in school counseling, Amber's skill set extends far beyond the traditional counseling role, encompassing academic planning, goal setting, small group counseling, classroom interventions, student and family advocacy and support.

Amber's commitment to her role is evident in the staggering numbers that showcase her tireless efforts. She is the sole counselor for over 450 students, yet she manages to make each one feel seen and heard. (Ideal ratio is 250:1) Through 206 individual meetings initiated by self-referral, teacher, or parent referral, she offers personalized support, emphasizing a holistic approach that recognizes each student as a unique individual with emotions and capabilities akin to adults.

Beyond one-on-one sessions, Amber conducts group sessions addressing topics crucial to a child's development, such as responsibility, skills for learning, problem-solving, friendship, gratitude, neuroscience, understanding feelings, and goal setting for 5th graders. She has already taught an impressive 128 classroom sessions, reaching every corner of the school community.

Amber's role extends far beyond the counseling office as she tackles advocacy responsibilities for families facing challenges like homelessness or economic difficulties. This year alone, she orchestrated the delivery of 252 Power Packs to students, ensuring they return to school on Monday ready to learn. (The Power Packs initiative in partnership with the Food Bank, works to ensure that students have access to sufficient food over the weekends, promoting their well-being and readiness to learn.)

(Click on Image to Learn More About Counselors Role in School)

Her involvement doesn't stop there. Amber created Peer Helpers, which is a program that teaches 4th and 5th grade students to support other kids on the playground. The Peer Helpers do this by teaching games and helping students solve small problems. She currently oversees 62 Peer Helpers.  She applies for grants to support classrooms, helping to create calm down or break spaces with tools like sensory items and books. Additionally, she supports children qualifying for the McKinney-Vento/foster care program, embodying the true essence of the federal Homeless Assistance Act. (The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act is a federal legislation that focuses on the education of children and youth experiencing homelessness. It authorizes the Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Program, aiming to provide support and stability for homeless students. The Act ensures that these students have access to a free, appropriate public education, removing barriers that may arise due to their challenging housing situation.)

In the context of Amber Bryant's role at Maple Hills Elementary, she plays a crucial part in supporting children who qualify for the McKinney-Vento/foster care program. This involves addressing the unique challenges faced by homeless or economically disadvantaged students and ensuring they have the resources needed to thrive in an academic setting.

Amber's vision extends beyond immediate challenges; she strives to empower students to understand their intrinsic value. Through leadership opportunities, problem-solving skills, and a strong sense of identity, she aims to support them in becoming happy and successful adults. Her impact is not measured solely in academic terms; Amber wants our students to develop healthy emotional intelligence, effective communication, and social-emotional regulation.

Amber's advocacy for students facing difficult circumstances relies on the community's willingness to come together and address the diverse needs of the school population.

There are many ways we as community members can support Amber and the Maple Hills Counseling program. The biggest way is to get the word out in the community about Amber, the counseling program and what she does to support our students.

Other things we can do to support is to actively participate in community-driven initiatives, individuals can contribute to creating a supportive environment for all students, fostering a sense of belonging and ensuring that every child, regardless of their circumstances, has the opportunity to succeed academically and emotionally.

Check out her Amazon Wish List:

Donations of Gas Gift Cards to support students experiencing economic and housing challenges. Families often ask for this support in emergencies so having them on hand to support is very important.

Additional support for students who qualify for the McKinney-Vento program.  Data shows that students who qualify for McKinney-Vento miss a lot of school.  Amber could use help to provide students with an alarm clock and rewards for attendance would be appreciated.

As Amber leaves an indelible mark on each student, she hopes they remember her as someone who guided them through the labyrinth of emotions, teaching them the skills necessary to navigate life successfully. Her mission is clear: she wants her students to believe in themselves, confident in the knowledge that they have the strength to overcome challenges and embrace their unique identities.

Maple Hills Elementary is undoubtedly fortunate to have such an extraordinary advocate and mentor in Amber Bryant!