Camelot Academy of Chicago’s Jenelle Hoyt Named Counselor of the Year by the Illinois School Counselor Association
Camelot Education’s teachers and staff view their positions as fulfilling their life’s passion. They make significant impacts in the lives of students, families and the communities they serve. They strive for the educational and life success for the students they educate.
When their work is acknowledged beyond their own schools and communities, it provides a special honor that is shared by all.
For Jenelle Hoyt, counselor at Camelot Academy of Chicago, her work wasn’t just recognized locally, but showcased statewide. Last month, the Illinois School Counselor Association (ISCA) honored her with being the “Middle/Junior High School Counselor of the Year.”
“It was truly humbling being acknowledged for the amazing work we do at Camelot Academy,” said Hoyt, who has been with Camelot Academy of Chicago for the last five years. “It really is a team effort.”
The ISCA awards those who possess the personal qualities to be an exceptional counselor. The recipients must be responsible for innovations in the counseling program, provide leadership in the further development of existing services, and perform outstanding service to the school or community.
“Camelot staff bring experience and passion to everything we do at our school,” said Joseph Haley, Executive Director of Camelot Academy. “Our passion is to make sure we help all students achieve. Our commitment to our work benefits all staff members and those we educate and serve. Jenelle exemplifies that.”
The program that earned Hoyt this statewide honor is a special mentoring program for students called Building Others to Hire (B.O.T.H.). The program is designed to increase interpersonal skills in young black and Latino students. The skills are personal attributes that enable people to interact harmoniously with each other. The program was created in February, and is funded through a grant that Hoyt applied for and won.
“I want to provide students with the necessary skills to help them maintain summer jobs,” said Hoyt. “I was able to secure a grant to create the B.O.T.H. mentoring group and help students increase their level of professionalism for any job. These are skills most of us take for granted but they are not common sense. They have to be learned and it is a real enhancement to what we accomplish with our students.”
At Camelot Education, the path to learning starts with getting to know our students and their unique needs. Relationships are the bedrock of each Camelot school. Camelot Education’s positive normative school culture and climate differentiate it from other schools. Students are intentionally empowered so that they’re able to share leadership with teachers for the betterment of the collective school community. It’s about students taking responsibility for their behavior, leading by example, and enforcing pro-social norms.
Camelot Academy is a transitional school and part of CPS’s Alternative Safe Schools network, which serves students referred by CPS because of behavioral violations. At Camelot Academy, students work on their social, emotional, academic, and behavioral challenges and then transition back to their home school with a stronger foundation from which to tackle challenges.
Hoyt has been with Camelot since 2015. She has a Bachelor of Education degree from Chicago State University and taught fifth grade for several years in the Chicago Public Schools system before coming to Camelot, where she completed her counseling degree.
“I have always believed that I was called to do what I do right now,” said Hoyt. “It is important that we reach our young people, to guide and show them they have more with them than they realize.”