Chiefs Welcome Ms. Barrera

Jennifer Corriolan, Staff Writer

When Ms. Barrera arrived at Santaluces as a the new 11th grade guidance counselor, she left behind students of an alternative school in Port St. Lucie.  An alternative school is a school for students who do not attend a regular school due to behavioral issues.

Many of the students who she worked with were in and out of a juvenile detention center. Santaluces is a completely different set up than an alternative school and Ms. Barrera has been transitioning to the new setting.

“Here there is more consistency,” said Ms. Barrera. “There’s also more positivity here.”

She said it was heartbreaking to see some kids come back to the alternative school after they had already left. The population here is also different, so that changes the type of work that she has to do. It’s busier here than over at the alternative school because here she deals not only with students, like at her last job, but she also deals with teachers, parents, and administrators.

Ms. Barrera loves working with kids, that’s why she picked her job as a guidance counselor.

“Students with the right guidance can be influenced in a positive way,” said Ms. Barrera. “You have to look at that person as a whole. You also have to be able to understand people, and understand that each person is different.”

This year, Ms. Barerra has been in charge of the PSAT and she said she’s learning about dual enrollment. She said she plans on working with students to set personal goals such as college planning and organizational skills. With about 500 students to keep track of, Ms. Barrera’s mint-green office is often busy, but also welcoming.