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Two SISD counselors earn distinguished national RAMP designation

Community Education board

Two educators in the Socorro Independent School District earned the 2021-2022 Recognized American School Counselor Association Model Program designation.

Rosie Rodriguez of Chester E. Jordan Elementary and Zulema Zuniga of Sgt. Roberto Ituarte Elementary earned the honor, which is awarded to counselors who are committed to delivering comprehensive, data-informed school counseling and an exemplary educational environment.

These two counselors were the only counselors to earn the award in the state of Texas and were recognized among 69 schools across 19 states.

Tammi Mackeben, SISD director of school counseling, said the distinction is representative of the top-notch counseling programs in SISD, as well as the phenomenal counselors and programs in the district.

“Our counselors are student focused, data driven and are there to do everything to help our students academically, socially and emotionally,” Mackeben said.

The year-long application process for the award is rigorous with ten components, including showing vision and mission, how they provide services to students through classroom lessons, and sharing their goals and results.

Rodriguez has been a school counselor since 2013. She was at James P. Butler Elementary from 2013 to 2018 before moving to Chester E. Jordan Elementary in 2018.

“Words cannot describe how incredibly proud and honored I feel to be recognized for something I get to do every day,” Rodriguez said. “This recognition confirms how incredibly blessed I am to be able to provide a comprehensive counseling program that benefits our students and our community.”

She said that when she started as a teacher, being able to help kids learn, grow and thrive truly filled her soul but she knew she wanted to be able to help more students than just the ones in her classroom. She decided to pursue her masters degree in school counseling which would allow her to advocate for a larger population of students.

Zuniga said she was filled with gratitude for being given the daily opportunity to collaborate with stakeholders who allow her to follow her passion and be of service to SISD students.

“Receiving this recognition is an incredible honor,” Zuniga said. “I feel overwhelmed with pride and joy as this award recognizes my dedication and commitment to developing a comprehensive data-driven school counseling program that better serves all our students.”

Zuniga has been a school counselor at Sgt. Roberto Ituarte Elementary for two and a half years, where, as a first-year teacher in a campus with a large low socio-economic status population, she quickly learned that there were students who were dealing with many difficult challenges that needed to be addressed foremost.

At that moment, Zuniga said she knew that she wanted and needed to do more to teach students how to cope with life's adversities.

For this prestigious national accolade, Rodriguez and Zuniga will be honored during a special ceremony at the American School Counselor Association’s annual conference on July 11 in Austin.

  Published June 8, 2022

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