2019 Counselor of the Year

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Ms. Hilary Murphy,

Francis Scott Key Middle School Counselor Of The Year

A National Board Certified counselor, Ms. Murphy has been at Francis Scott Key since 2016. Colleagues says that she shares a variety of strategies and best practices for building relationships with students, and supports the social emotional needs of all students. She has been an advocate for restorative justice practices as a way to address, redirect and repair staff and student relationships. She coordinated professional learning to build the capacity of staff to implement de-escalating strategies, and positive behavior interventions and supports. Her one-on-one support of individual students has led to fewer referrals and behavioral challenges for her small groups. She also developed the IDENTITY program at Key to create a safe space for LGBTQ students and for students struggling with racial identity. She organized college tours for students. She keeps an open door policy, and is always willing to pull together a parent meeting or offer a shoulder when a student needs advice or a moment to regroup. She uses data to evaluate the effectiveness of programming and serves as a mentor to students, guiding them in advocating for themselves and in offering recommendations for helping them excel. She has facilitated trainings for her colleagues around the school's focus on equity. She works tirelessly to maintain open communication and connections with parents, inviting them in for Coffee with the Counselor, or meeting with them after school. "She should be proud of not only her students' achievements, but [also of] the key role she plays in shaping our children and our future," a parent wrote.