Why I Care: Keri Silvers, School Counselor

Why I Care: Keri Silvers, School Counselor
Posted on 02/08/2024

"I chose school counseling because I love people," said Keri Silvers, who has been the school counselor at Glacier Park Elementary School for the past seven years, and who's been a school counselor for most of her 34-year career in education. "I feel like it's a way to breathe the crucial skills, self awareness, confidence, and life skills that our children need to be able to thrive and enjoy life and be armed to go through the normal challenges that come."


Ms. Silvers, as she's known to the Polar Bears, is one of Tahoma's six elementary school counselors. In Tahoma School District, each elementary school has its own school counselor, each middle school has three counselors, and Tahoma High School has seven.

"Ms. Silvers is really kind and she always wants to talk to you about things," said fifth-grader Reagan C. "You can basically talk to her about anything. And you know she will listen and won't say anything that will make you feel bad."

"My main job is being an advocate for students," Silvers said. "For our students, I educate, support and teach."

Multiple times per year, Silvers visits every classroom at all grades teaching social emotional skills. In her lessons, the class talks about and learns skills in emotion management, problem solving, conflict resolution, bullying and everything in between.

"I feel like it's a privilege, because I get to see people's hearts and souls, even staff members," Silvers shared. "My goal is that I'm a safe place to support and encourage and educate however I can. I want our kids to find joy and see the positives in the midst of challenges, or when things are really tough, and I want them to have self confidence through it all."

Left to right: Reagan C., Keri Silvers, Aleksandar D.

Not only does Ms. Silvers support the Polar Bears during school hours, but she shares her heart and skills with students before school, too. Silvers helps to lead Glacier Park's Zero Hour Leadership Club on Tuesday mornings before school, along with fellow Glacier Park educators Dan Anderson, Michelle Gordon, and Andrea Sloan-Deutchman.

Zero Hour clubs meet before school begins with the goal of providing equitable extracurricular opportunities for all students, regardless of whether their family can provide after-school transportation.

At Glacier Park, students entering fourth and fifth grade have the opportunity to apply to participate in the Leadership Club. Student participants are selected based on a range of factors, but the most important is the effort the student has shown in modeling good decision-making and being an exemplary peer model.

"It hits you hard when you really do something nice for a person," said fifth-grader Aleksandar D. "And I think that's my favorite part about Leadership Club. Just doing something nice for people."

What started as a group of 18 students when the club first began, has now grown to one of the largest extracurricular activities at Glacier Park. "For the last couple of years, we've had about 120 students apply for Leadership Club. We are only able to select 60," Silvers said. "That part kills me. But at the same time, it can be an important lesson for students to learn how to handle and overcome disappointment."

In many cases, students not selected in their fourth grade year who display extraordinary effort and growth throughout their fourth grade year, re-apply in fifth grade, and are selected.

Leadership club at Glacier Park (some members not pictured)

"One of the things that impresses me, they have to give up a lot of their time," Silvers said. "It's early in the morning on Tuesdays and it's all year long. And then there's a lot of work beyond that, and so it's impressive that they choose to use that time to lead and serve their school."

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