High school adjustment counselor Nicola Dine always had the desire to work with adolescents, the decision came natural to her when she was deciding on a career choice. She knew there is a major need for supportive and trusting adults who are available to help shape the direction and lives of students.
Dine set out to major in psychology at Northeastern University. She went on to receive her master’s degree in mental health counseling from Boston College, Lynch School of Education. Dine’s first job after grad school was at the Manville School, which is a therapeutic day school that is part of Judge Baker Children’s Center. After she worked at the Mission Hill school, she was hired as an adjustment counselor at Everett High School before she landed her job at Winthrop High.
“I’ve always been interested in working with adolescents and helping them navigate the social/emotional challenges that come up during this developmental stage,” said Dine. “I see adolescence as such a pivotal time for young adults. It’s a time when a supportive and trusting relationship with an adult (whether it be a school counselor, parent, teacher, coach, relative) can be crucial in helping shape the direction that young adult’s life goes.”
What is an average day like?
There is no average day in my job, which is one of the aspects I like most. Coming in each day you never know what students are going to present you with, and so it requires a lot of flexibility and the ability to reorganize your schedule on a whim. Generally, though, my day involves meeting with students with a wide variety of social, emotional, academic, or behavioral concerns, following up with parents, teachers, and administration as necessary, attending meetings regarding student progress, and collateral calls with community providers.
What are some things that you’d like to focus on in the future?
Some possible future programs that I am interested in include substance abuse prevention- through collaboration with Winthrop’s CASA coalition- as well as student/peer mentoring. Bearing logistics, I think it would be great if WHS had a program where upperclassmen are paired up with freshman to help the transition to high school and to foster inclusivity. I also co-lead the WHS Wellness Week in the spring, and I would like to extend the program to include events throughout the school year that focus on nurturing students’ social, emotional, and physical well-being.
What is your favorite part about working in the Winthrop school system?
I really like how Winthrop is such a close-knit community. Most of these students have grown up with one another and have gone to school together since kindergarten, and so there’s a real sense of pride and respect for the community. Working in such a small district where everyone knows each other allows for a lot of parent and teacher engagement which really helps me to get a well-rounded perspective on the students and enables me to use a more holistic approach to meet their needs.