For students who find themselves overwhelmed with the stress of school and need somebody to vent about their problems, they should visit school psychologist Stacey Woodward, a friendly face who is always willing to listen.
Whether it is about making learning adjustments for a student struggling in a class or listening to students discuss the events going on in their lives, Woodward is the person students can turn to. As the school psychologist, she is qualified to support students not only emotionally but also academically in class.
Woodward has been working at Diamond Bar for six years. On most days, she counsels and helps with students who are having difficulties in their classes by creating plans for them to get extra help.
“The school psychologist does a lot of counseling, but we also work with staff members to help them with any kids that are struggling in class in terms of different ways of teaching, different ways of modifying things,” Woodward said. “We also are the staff people who, if there are kids who have consistent difficulty with learning, then we do assessments and see if they qualify for extra help. And if they qualify for extra help, we can make a plan for that.”
Students who visit Woodward for counseling can either walk into her room right away or send her an email beforehand to make an appointment.
The most common topic that students come to her for is stress. Due to the competitive nature of DBHS, students often take on a lot of hard classes. Woodward feels that there is no problem with motivating yourself to do well but there should definitely be a balance.
“Sometimes [students] are extremely stressed and not sleeping properly or eating properly. They’re not able to take care of themselves emotionally or physically because there’s so much stress here and so much focus on academic excellence,” Woodward said. “While it’s a great thing to have a focus on academic excellence, but sometimes it gets out of proportion for the rest of life. We have kids who won’t be leading a happy, healthy life because they’re just doing school.”
Before she worked at Diamond Bar, she worked in alternate education for the Walnut Valley Unified School District. She also taught at Azusa Pacific University for their Master’s program, teaching people how to become school counselors.
When she’s not working, Woodward spends time gardening and volunteering for Easter Seals, a nonprofit organization geared toward helping people with disabilities gain more independence in their lives.
For the students who are wondering if they should come into her room to receive counseling, Woodward wants students to know that counseling at the school is strictly confidential. However, if a student is suicidal, being abused, or plans on hurting someone else, then that the matter must be reported immediately.
“Outside of that, anything a student tells me is between them and me. I don’t talk to their GLC about it; I don’t talk to their parents about it; I don’t talk to their teachers about it,” Woodward says. “It all stays in here.”
The most important advice Woodward would give to students, especially if they’re stressed, is to know that high school is not the end of the world.
“It is important to push yourself to do what you can, but it’s also extremely important to live a balanced life and to be happy,” Woodward says. “Because if you’re not happy, you’re not balanced; then even if you get that wonderful college resume and the college of your choice, you’re still not a happy person. I think happiness is the best thing students should know.”