Making Their Marks: Randolph School Counselor Wants Students To Feel Like They Belong

From left, seniors Jaclynn Flood, Jacob Zink, Michael Bohall, and junior Avery Morrison, listen to directions given by Bayley Johnson. The Randolph Central High School students were assisting Johnson during a celebration of International Dot Day in Mrs. Harkness’ fourth grade class at the Gail N. Chapman Elementary School in Randolph. P-J photo by Michael Zabrodsky

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of stories this school year focusing on those working in our region’s schools. To suggest an educator, email mzabrodsky@post-journal.com.

RANDOLPH – Bayley Johnson feels most comfortable when she is working behind the scenes.

She will be the first to admit the fact.

And when she is not leading, she is listening as Bayley is a counselor at the Gail N. Chapman Elementary School where she also loves working with a team of teachers.

She will also admit that she loves working in education.

Dot Day began when teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot on Sept. 15, 2009.


“I chose education because working with kids brings me true joy,” Bayley said.

On Sept. 15, Bayley was in charge of the school’s International Dot Day, a global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration.

According to internationaldotday.org, Dot Day began when teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot on Sept. 15, 2009. The Dot is the story of a caring teacher who dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark”. What begins with a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing, which has gone on to inspire countless children and adults around the globe.

In full disclosure, this reporter read the book, and and it made it’s mark on me. The book had two takeaways: in a non-confrontational way, it shows students how to own their work, and it shows students how to be accountable.

Counselor Bayley Johnson stands in front of many school “Dots” made by Gail N. Chapman Elementary School students during International Dot Day. P-J photo by Michael Zabrodsky

Also in full disclosure, this reporter was at the school on Sept. 15, and saw firsthand how Bayley connects with her colleagues and students.

Students in each class were busy making their own dots – and making their marks.

And what was ironic is that when Bayley leads, she does it from a place of respect and joy. Colleagues and students react positively.

“I just truly love that,” she said about working with kids. “And it’s so rewarding the excitement when they, persevere over something or try something new and succeed at it. I also love working with a team of teachers, especially here at Randolph where their (the teachers’) main focus is kids. And I love working as a team. And that just also brings me a lot of joy.”

Bayley wasn’t a teacher before moving into a counseling position as some educators do. She started an undergraduate teaching program at St. Bonaventure University until she received some great advice that she needed to be helping people, and she needed to be in education. She was steered into the path of counseling.

At school, Bayley is very visible to her students and her goal is to make sure they feel safe when they walk through the doors of school. She is there for her students.

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“And that is something so important, no matter what happens outside of this building, when they come in, I want them to feel safe and good, and enjoy being here,” Bayley said.

It is evident that when you watch Bayley engage with students that she strives for building a sense of community.

And that’s exactly what she did during Dot Day.

“And these great (Dot) days, build that sense of community. And that’s something I do strive for. I want to be a community where we are all here together. And that gives a sense of belonging. We all belong here. I want kids, and staff and everyone to feel that sense of belonging,” Bayley said.

During Dot Day she also received help from seniors Jaclynn Flood, Jacob Zink, Michael Bohall, and junior Avery Morrison. Flood, Zink, Bohall were helping as part of an assignment in Mrs. Congdon’s high school leadership class while Morrison was volunteering her time.

The best part of her job, Bayley said, is when she goes to different classrooms and sees students thriving in their environment, and watching teachers encourage the students to thrive.

“I just love seeing kids so excited and proud of what they did in their classroom – they get to show me,” Bayley added.

And it’s not just one student that she gets to work with, but practically the whole school – pre-kindergartners to sixth graders.

But just as she is enthusiastic about the best part of her job, sometimes she experiences the other side of the coin – the difficult part.

She said she can be a guide, a mentor, a supporter, but sometimes she doesn’t have the power to change or fix everything.

“So I can be a lot of things. And sometimes that’s all anyone needs. But sometimes I would love to have a magic wand to change something. And that’s something I can’t always do as a counselor. I have to just be that listener, that support, that mentor to someone, whatever it might be. But sometimes you wish that you could just have a wand to change something,” Bayley said.

Aside from being a counselor, Bailey also finds time to be another kind of educator – the varsity girls volleyball coach at Randolph.

Sometimes during the volleyball season, she puts in long days. But Bayley will tell you it’s worth it.

“Yeah, I have a passion. I love coaching. I love the opportunity to work with high school students as well sometimes, in a different environment, a different setting. So, volleyball is my passion, and I love coaching,” Bayley said.

And during the summer months, Bayley and her family are avid campers and boaters.

“We love the outdoors,” Bayley said.

Elementary Principal Kristy Carlson also praises Bayley’s connection with students, and said she is an instrumental member of the elementary school’s social and emotional learning team.

“She helps in organizing, planning, and co-ordinating our entire team of about twelve teachers and staff members in creating these events for our students. … She does an amazing job for the kids here in Randolph,” Carlson noted.

Working with teachers, Carlson added, Bayley is all about doing what’s best for students, and focuses on making everybody in the building feel a part of the school.

“I was born and raised in Randolph. I love this community. I love this school, and I’m so proud that I get to be part of it,” Bayley said.


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