Behind every graduate are several dedicated teachers and counselors. We’re grateful to our iSucceed staff, and that’s why we take a moment to shine the light on them in these blog series.
Behind every graduated high school student is a number of dedicated teachers and counselors.
February 6–10 is National School Counselor Week. To celebrate, we want to spotlight iSucceed’s Guidance Counselor, Crystal Sistoni. Learn more about her below.
Crystal Sistoni, iSucceed Guidance Counselor
Ms. Sistoni is an outdoors enthusiast who has been a resident of Idaho for over 20 years, and a teacher at iSucceed for about three years. Some of her hobbies include camping, fishing, backpacking, rafting and being with friends and family.
“I have lived in the Boise area for the last 20 years and fall in love with this city more and more each day,” said Ms. Sistoni. “I am so fortunate to live in an area where I can do so many of my favorite things.”
Ms. Sistoni said that she became a counselor to fulfill her greatest passion—to help others succeed.
“I became a school counselor to help Idaho’s youth through this huge step in their lives,” said Ms. Sistoni. “I have had many of the same struggles that my students have and if I was able to get through this, I want to help others succeed, so they can move on to bigger and better things this life has to offer.”
As the main guidance counselor for iSucceed, Ms. Sistoni connects with each student personally to promote their academic, social and personal development. Her favorite part about counseling iSucceed students is that she gets to work with unique individuals.
“I like that we have different ways of communication [at iSucceed],” said Ms. Sistoni. “Most people think I can’t develop a relationship with students online, but I have developed some of the best relationships this way. I commend these students for going to school despite challenges that they might deal with on a daily basis. I work with students on all areas of the spectrum, so that makes every day different. Each one of my students is unique and special and I love getting the opportunity to learn about them.”
One of the most rewarding things about being a counselor to Ms. Sistoni is those moments when she empowers students graduate who otherwise may not have finished high school, as she recalls in this story:
“There was a student who was scheduled to graduate this year who was focusing too much on what was going wrong with in life and not focusing on school,” said Ms. Sistoni. “We were able to discuss this student’s concerns and issues and with time and a solid plan, this student ended up graduating. It’s impacting students on this level, the level that will help them move forward in life that I value and cherish the most. The caveat with this student was this was their last shot at graduation because they were going to age out of the public school system, so this was definitely a highlight for this student and myself.”
Next is Ms. Karen Lesh:
How many years have you been a counselor?
This is my third year as a School Counselor and have six years experience as a Home Based counselor and Crisis Resource Teacher.
What are some of your interests or hobbies?
I love to be active outside. I am a former college soccer athlete, so I try to keep some of those skills up, as well as paddleboarding, surfing (when I am near an ocean), hiking and I love to read while hanging with my dog outside:) I enjoy spending time with my three teenage boys at home, travelling for sports, laughing, hiking, floating the Boise river and skiing.
Why do you enjoy working with iSucceed students?
I enjoy working with iSucceed students because many of our students are actively in charge of their future by advocating for themselves. Many are eager to work hard to earn high school credits while they are working and enrolled concurrently in college.
What are some advantages you enjoy as an online school counselor?
I feel our student and faculty maximize all communication avenues available. As an online counselor, I have the flexibility to reach my students quickly and provide the information and availability they were looking for.
In what ways do you think online high school is more beneficial to students than a traditional high school?
I believe online high school encourages self advocacy and independence because our students have to learn a higher level of time management, research tools and communication because our students are mobile, and most are naturally using that skill set earlier than in a traditional school setting. Our online environment provides for our students to work, be included in sports and activities, and be enrolled in college level courses while earling high school credits at each students individual schedule. This flexibility is valuable for our students.
Have you had a moment when you felt you made an impact on a student’s life at iSucceed?
Fortunately, as a counselor, I have those opportunities frequently by being in a natural position to encourage, listen, and empower our students as they navigate through life as a high school student.
Share with us a piece of advice for your iSucceed students.
I believe the most important thing a student can do is to set a “study” schedule from the beginning of the quarter and do their best to follow that schedule. A close first to the schedule is communicating with our staff.