Polk County Middle School counselor Sherrie Huffman is taking time this school year to meet each of her 176 students one-on-one through quick interviews called “Minute Meetings.”

These meetings are a fast way for Huffman to get to know basic information about each of the seventh graders enrolled at PCMS.

“Due to the nature of my job, I have more contact with some students than I do with others,” Huffman said. “I want to change that to know all of my students better.

Here at PCMS, the counselors have the privilege of rotating through the grades with our students. When sixth graders enter PCMS, they keep the same school counselor for the three years that they attend the middle school. We are in a unique position to see our students grow and change so much in the course of three years.

“They are ‘mine’ for three years, and I would like to know them better so that I can serve them and their families more effectively.”

The “Minute Meetings” include brief interview questions including hobbies and what they enjoy and dislike about school among other brief questions. The interviews are confidential, and Huffman uses the information to better assess the needs of the seventh graders. While the meetings are supposed to be one to two minutes long, many times they last longer because the students want to talk more.

Huffman learned about “Minute Meetings” at the American School Counselor Association National Conference in 2016. The Polk County Community Foundation funded the trip for her and a fellow counselor to attend.

“Because of the generosity of PCCF, I was able to learn a new technique that can improve my practice with PCMS students,” Huffman said.

Polk County Middle School counselor Sherrie Huffman enjoys time with student Eva Eaton