Chantilly High School: An Effective Student Services Team Leads to Departmental Success


The Student Services team of Chantilly High School in Fairfax County, Virginia and its counselors provide services to 9th through 12th grade students and their families. Each counselor supports over 200 students and is responsible for helping them with career/college decisions and personal growth.


The new Director of Student Services inherited several new team members and a few veteran counselors. The team was not consistently completing their assignments, the Director was concerned about the team’s cohesiveness, and the department was operating as a group of individuals rather than in concert as a team.


Springboard has engaged with the team over three half-day retreats each year and a series of pre- and post-work activities designed to pull the team together, come to consensus on leadership initiatives and goals for the team, and drive the right activity toward those goals. As a part of the sessions, the team works collaboratively to develop group values and goals, has used a magic “helium hoop” to discover communication breakdowns, and gathers to hold each other accountable and celebrate interim success during the year.


Through these sessions, the team members became more focused on and continue to be motivated and inspired to achieve their goals. As a tangible result of this team development process, the department applied for and received a unique award, R.A.M.P., which required them to work together on the application, show specific outcomes and metrics from their work, and demonstrate shared goals and values within the department. As one counselor stated, “Relationship-building happens in the halls!” The team also received an 8.3 rating out of a possible 10 based on a recent survey.

“The team members now feel good about themselves and what they are accomplishing; that filters down to our community and the students, which is our ultimate goal.” – Robyn Lady, Director of Student Services