Getting to Know CHS’s New Guidance Director Falynn Balassone

by The Village Green
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This article was updated on February 24, 2020, with a clarification of Balassone’s role as Summer School Coordinator.

Earlier this week, the South Orange-Maplewood School District announced that Falynn Balassone would take on the role of Guidance Director at Columbia High School effective March 1. “She has been a terrific counselor for the past decade for our students,” wrote Interim Director of Guidance Scott White in an email to parents and guardians. “I will continue to support her and work on the master schedule through April 15.”

“She is a true asset to the school and I am so happy to be able to announce her appointment,” continued White. “She is committed to carrying out the improvements we have instituted in the past two years and has many new ideas and initiatives that she is planning. I wish her years of continued success!”

Upon request, District Spokeswoman Anide Eustache provided the following information about Balassone:

Ms. Balassone is deeply committed to promoting the emotional and social health of all students as well as increasing academic opportunities through an action-oriented, culturally responsive, proactive Counseling program. Priorities include programming focused on mental health awareness, college, and career readiness, the transition to Columbia HS and increased parent/guardian collaboration for all students.

In addition to providing counseling services to her students as a School Counselor at Columbia High School for nearly a decade, Ms. Balassone has created a postsecondary planning program in Haitian-Creole, received grant funds from the Achieve Foundation to bring EOF [Educational Opportunity Fund]-eligible students on college tours, and served as MAC Mentor for the College Now program. She has also been the AP Coordinator, Summer School Coordinator [described as “Credit Recovery Coordinator” in an earlier version of this article], and has mentored 12 counselors new to CHS. [On Feb. 24, the District sent the following clarification stating that Balassone was not involved in the attendance-related credit recovery program that was reviewed recently. The credit recovery program referenced here is the CHS Summer School program — not related to attendance and the attendance recovery program.]

Ms. Balassone graduated with a B.A. from Muhlenberg College, an M.A. in Counseling from Montclair State University, and an M.A. in Educational Administration from Kean University. After working in college admissions, Ms. Balassone began her school counseling career at North Star Academy Charter School in Newark before joining the Columbia High School Counseling department in 2011.

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