By Noah Alatza
“The Toolbox: A WMS Counseling Podcast” was created in September 2017 and has more than 30 episodes of content designed to help parents.
“We launched this and the idea was that people are busy in our community and society in general, and we were not seeing good turnout at parent evenings,” Westfield Middle School Counselor Craig Spinner said.
Last year, WMS partnered with Westfield High School to do a series of podcasts featuring parents of students in grades seven through 12
Spinner said the lack of turnout at parent evenings on certain topics changed the way WMS counseling gets “desperately needed” information out. He said during one of those evenings, it dawned on him that school officials could do more.
“We want to get content to parents and have it as timeless, relevant topics that if three years from now parents don’t know what (something) is, we are connecting them with the information and it remains relevant no matter when someone listens to it,” Spinner said.
Spinner said WMS tries to release a podcast every other week and update them on Mondays. Topics include stress reduction, college and career pathways and social media.
“Our hope is that we are a resource to parents and we bring in guests that also provide resources that we didn’t have,” he said. “It’s our hope that parents are able to help their sons and daughters differently than before they listened and be better parents and more resourceful.”
Spinner, along with WMS counselors Julie Brown and Jill Yoder advise, edit and produce the podcast.
“We are always open to suggestions,” Spinner said. “Most of the time it is parents and kids saying something and that drives the content, and we want to hear from parents if there’s a topic we have not covered.”
He said the podcast is not a substitute for parent evenings.
“This is just a way in the digital age that exists to reach parents more efficiently,” Spinner said.
The podcast is available on iTunes and Google Play and is available for streaming on any device at wmscounseling.com.