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School counselors completing the equation to success

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: School counselors completing the equation to success
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Getting to graduation takes more than student achievement. Parents, teachers and many other people play a role along the way. The Elmira City School District is currently recognizing one of those under-appreciated groups: School counselors. YNN's Katie Husband has more on the work they do that often goes unnoticed.

ELMIRA, N.Y. -- "You develop relationships. That's basically what we do," said Traci Hartke, Ernie Davis Middle School counselor.

As Hartke describes, that's a significant part of the job of a school counselor. Having been with the Elmira School District for over ten years, she's helped kids with small problems to big problems.

"Any concerns, it can be home related, it can be school related, they may have a problem with a student, they may have a problem with a teacher, something might have happened at home that they want to talk about. Whatever they need, we will help facilitate," said Hartke.

At the high school level, Justin Fuchs sees attendance as a big issue amongst students.

"With school education in itself, is a huge issue and their families, there's a lot of students that I speak with about attendance issues that can't name one person in their family that graduated," said Justin Fuchs, Elmira Free Academy and Southside High School counselor.

This week, the district is honoring its 15 counselors for National School Counseling Week for their hard work and dedication to their students.

"When you have them for so long, you really do get to know them and you feel comfortable and you can even sometimes get a little more out of them than a teacher in the respect where they're not as disrespectful to us or we can talk with them one on one to change their behavior or try to push them to better themselves," said Hartke.

After working with students, helping them get through the school year, the end result is watching them walk across the stage at graduation. But according to some, those success stories aren't often told.

"It's not necessarily known at graduation, yet they're a huge reason that some of our kids graduated. We have an issue in our community regarding graduation rates and these folks work tirelessly, behind the scenes, weekends, nights, early mornings to make sure these kids are ready," said Joe Hochreiter, Elmira City School District Superintendent.

For some students, a teacher and a classroom isn't always the equation for success. That's where counselors come in to complete the equation.

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