By Tara Fort
When Prescott High School Student Success Coach Jessica Stickel joined Prescott Unified School District (PUSD) in 2015, she and her husband had just moved to Prescott from Wisconsin with their first newborn son. This past December the Stickels welcomed their third son, and thanks to the solution-oriented approach of the District, she now has the best of both worlds. Stickel says, “PUSD prioritizes and values family, which creates a flexible work environment.”
Originally grant-funded and now made possible as part of the Advisement Department, Stickel’s program offers a variety of coaching like topic-specific groups, one-on-one weekly sessions, staff and student mediation, staff development and team building, and leadership / social skill classes. Stickel discovered a gold mine of resources and support at PUSD and states, “As a district that is a leader in public education, I love that self-care and growth is important to them. By providing ongoing opportunities for lifelong learning they allow me to grow and give back.” PUSD Director of Instructional Support Kelli Jo Bradstreet says, “Jessy is a shot of positive energy in PUSD. She gives our students and staff permission to take care of ourselves—but even more importantly, she equips us with strategies in order to make it happen.”
An average of 150 students are referred to the Success Coaching program per year. The results Stickel sees are students who: feel more supported, become more positive and less stressed, and gain tools to pass more classes through practice and focus. Through this model, students learn to recognize and manage their emotions, set and achieve positive goals, demonstrate care and concern for others, establish and maintain positive relationships with self and others, and make reasonable decisions so they can handle interpersonal situations effectively. Says Stickel, “My goal was to create a life coaching program for teens that could address their social, emotional and academic needs. Coaching helps students discover the wealth that is within them to create a vision and action plan that gives clarity and accountability.”
Challenges come for many with balancing career and family life, and Stickel has guidelines that help her achieve her goals by “making sure I am present in both my roles as a mom and as a coach. For me, the key to finding success and balance has been boundaries. When I set boundaries with my time there is enough for everything and everyone—and I create that balance by being intentional and by staying active and involved. That… and lists! Lots of lists!” Stickel is fortunate that her husband knows that “working both outside and inside of our home makes me fulfilled. With the help of our amazing childcare, he is always ready to pick up where I leave off.”
For more information about Jessica Stickel, the Student Success Coaching Program and Prescott Unified School District, visit www.prescottschools.com.