Hopi Junior High School adds new academic counselor to staff

POLACCA, Ariz. - Michael Adams, the new academic counselor at Hopi Junior High School, said he looks forward to building the academic program so students can succeed in junior high, high school and beyond.

Adams, who is known for his football prowess during his days at Hopi High, has begun working with Hopi High School academic counselors Laurel Poleyestewa and Dushon Monongye to see how they can work together to prepare the students for college and their future.

"I'm new to this game. I'm an anxious person with high energy. I'm super excited to push these kids to believe in themselves," he said.

Adams said he is spending his early days at Hopi Junior High gauging what needs to be improved and working with the staff to see if any programs need to be changed.

He said if any students are having trouble passing their classes he will need to meet with them one-on-one and see if they need help with study skills.

Adams is also looking forward to meeting with parents. His understanding is that most of the parents attending the Parent Advisory Committee are for high school students, so another PAC might be needed just for the junior high.

"We want to increase parent participation," he said. "I'm going to start by introducing myself, getting feedback and finding out what they would like to see."

Adams wants to catch students before they are failing a class. If students are having problems with classes he would contact the parents to see what the student needs in order to be motivated in the classroom.

"We need to know how to get them interested," he said. "I would like to resolve classroom issues before we bring in the parents."

Before coming to Hopi Junior High, Adams worked as the marketing manager for the Hopi Education Endowment Fund, but he has wanted to work as an academic counselor for years.

"I just didn't think I would start so soon," he said. "I want to see how I can empower the kids to believe in themselves, and that comes with practice."

Adams said working with teachers is essential to performing a good job for the advancement of the students.

"The teachers are my eyes and ears. I want a good working relationship with them. That way we can discuss any student and figure out when to work with the students," he said.

Adams said he wants to build a relationship with the students so they know they can trust him.

"But I want them to expand their comfort zones, whether that means playing sports or extra-curricular activities. I want them to go above and beyond in their expectations of themselves," he said.

Adams earned his bacelor of arts in psychology at Occidental College in California before earning an master's in school counseling at Northern Arizona University. He worked in the juvenile detention facility in Flagstaff before serving as an academic counselor at Greyhills in Tuba City.

During his time at Hopi High, Adams was a three sport star, earning all-conference in each sport. But he was also active in National Honor Society.

Adams can be reached at (928) 738-5111, extension 266 or at madams@hjshs.org.

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