National School Counselor Week | Jessica Vocatura, Norwich Free Academy

Jessica Vocatura is a school counselor at Norwich Free Academy (NFA) in Norwich, Connecticut. Norwich Free Academy is an independent 9th through 12th-grade high school that supports students from 14 different towns. Jessica has been with Norwich Free Academy for 24 years and has been the department chair for school counseling since 2014. Jessica’s team works hard to ensure that all their students not only have a plan after high school but also know how that plan will be executed. 

Some of the amazing work Jessica has spearheaded includes creating a culture of collaboration in their school. To ensure that her team can get in front of all students throughout the year, they partnered with the history department. Since history is a subject all students take at each grade level at the same time, Jessica can ensure they can maximize their student reach. History teachers provide time for students to take the various Naviance assessments that help them identify their strengths and interests. Then, Jessica and her team come in for a lesson to dive deeper into those results. In their time with the students, Jessica helps students understand what their learning styles, personality types, and interests are and then tie them into future careers that might be a good fit for them. 

Jessica is a member of the NFA School to Work Committee. This initiative helps build a bridge between the community and the school to help students get into sustainable career tracks. Jessica is also involved in a new program called Senior Seminar that provides seniors with courses to learn technical and interpersonal skills as well as participate in monthly lunch and learns with partners from local industries. Knowing that there is no one size fits all plan for students; that every student will take their unique path after high school, Jessica’s team ensures they are available to provide students with as many resources as possible. 

When we sat down to speak with Jessica it was evident how passionate she was to ensure all students at Norwich Free Academy left high school ready to find success in whatever postsecondary path they take.  Thank you, Jessica, for your dedication and passion! 

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