Position: Seventh Grade Guidance Counselor
School: Woodbury School
School District: Salem School District
City, State: Salem, New Hampshire
About the Nominee: LifeChanger is the perfect word to describe Marcia Murphy. She goes above and beyond to improve the health, wellness and overall well-being of the students at Woodbury Middle School. Over the past several years, she has taken on ambitious initiatives such as her mission to support her school's homeless population. She and a partner created a program called TIPS (Technology is Power). This program provides Woodbury's neediest students with opportunities to stay after school and complete homework with teacher assistance. Throughout the year, students in the TIPS program have the opportunity to make food for their families and do a variety of fun activities. Students also attend meaningful field trips when school is not in session to provide them with educational experiences they may not get to have with their families. Ms. Murphy ensures that the students in the TIPS program have access to a computer at home during the school year.
Over the past several years, she has also reached out to students that are part of Woodbury's free and reduced lunch program to ensure they are getting proper nutrition while they're at school. Additionally, she has provided food for students and families in need over the weekend through the End 68 Hours of Hunger Program.
Another passion of Ms. Murphy's is working with students on team building and self-esteem. She is in charge of the ABE Program, also known as Adventure Based Education. Every student in grades 6-8 participates in ABE. Ms. Murphy continues using ABE strategies in an after-school program called Adventure Club. Students are given the opportunity to work together in smaller groups to practice the skills they learn in ABE. Along with ABE, Ms. Murphy has set up a student advisory board that meets with the school principal. This advisory board has become a leadership opportunity for students. They have had training outside of school with Ms. Murphy and the principal to build their leadership skills.
Finally, Ms. Murphy heads up the Signs of Suicide program (SOS). She worked closely with staff members this year to implement this new initiative. Every seventh grade student participated in a class taught by Ms. Murphy and other Family and Consumer Science teachers to understand how to identify a person contemplating suicide. They also learned the steps they can take to prevent a tragedy. This program has been well received by staff, students, families and the local community.
Ms. Murphy is Woodbury's LifeChanger. Her school is a better place because of her dedication to students, whether she is helping a homeless student after school, teaching students to be team players or helping them understand how to help a friend.