Goals for the Elementary Guidance Program: To help students… Resolve problems that interfere with learning Develop an understanding of self and others Learn effective ways of communicating and interacting to enhance positive relationships Accept responsibility for one’s behavior Acquire positive attitudes toward the school environment Learn effective problem solving and decision making skills Goals for the Middle School Guidance Program: The goals of the Middle School Guidance Program are the same as the ones for the Elementary Program with the addition of the following: To help students… Develop an identity and to make decisions independent of adults Learn effective coping skills with the transition from childhood to adolescence Learn about societal and peer pressure and practice strategies for combating negative influences Services Provided Classroom Guidance Classroom guidance is the sharing of information and skills through an organized curriculum for each grade level. The lessons I have designed for Walsingham students are based on the American School Counselors Association National Model that was adopted by the Virginia State Department of Education in January of 2003. The guidance curriculum is organized into three units of study: Social/personal Issues Academic Skills Career Awareness Below is a sample lesson for each grade level and the National Model Domain that it corresponds to. Grade Lesson Domain Kindergarten “Beau Do-Do Learns to Listen” (listening) Academic & Social/personal 1st grade “Rosie Shops” (Importance of education) Careers & Academic 2nd grade “Band-Aid Chicken” (Picking on others) Social/personal 3rd grade “Caring Community” (9 month unit on Social/personal bullying) 4th grade “The Disorganized School Counselor” Academic study and organizational skills 5th grade “What’s Up With Middle School?” Academic 6th grade Interest Inventory using VaView.vt.edu Career 7th grade “What’s Your Learning Style?” Academic In the beginning of the school year, students in grades 5 – 7 complete a needs assessment. This enables me to incorporate lessons that are better suited to each class’s particular needs. Stress Reduction, Worrying, Time Management and Decision Making have often been the top picks. Every class will have a 35 – 40 minute guidance lesson a month. All classroom guidance lessons are mentioned in the monthly newsletters and often I will send home an activity sheet or parent letter with the students. All lessons are developmental and a variety of activities (art, books, role playing, songs, journaling, share pair, group activities and games) are used. Rarely is homework given with the exception of 4th grade in which all students are required to make a “Drop Zone” with their parents. Individual Counseling “It is easier to build a child than to repair an adult” The goal of individual counseling is to develop a one-to-one relationship between the student and the counselor in order to facilitate a positive change in the student’s behavior. This change should improve the child’s success in the classroom. Counseling is not therapy but rather a learning process in which the student can learn to solve his or her own problems. An individual counseling session is usually 20 to 30 minutes. The number of sessions varies, depending on the issues that the child wishes to discuss. A parent, a child or a teacher can make referrals. Sessions vary so that the student does not miss the same class each visit. I also use lunch periods and see children from 3- 3:30 whenever possible. Small Group Workshops “A Party with a Purpose” Small group counseling has often been called “A Party with a Purpose”. I do have to invite the participants. I do serve cupcakes at our closing meeting and I often plan games and energizing activities. However, the participants in small group counseling have a common concern, problem or goal that is discussed in 6-8 sessions which generally meet once a week for 30-40 minutes. A variety of techniques are used: role-playing, rehearsing, games, journaling, drawing, and puppetry just to name a few. The main purpose of a group is for the group members to realize that they are not the only one with a special concern or problem. One of the best facilitators of change is positive support from adults and from a child’s peers. Groups are designed based on the needs of the students. Input from parents, teachers, the administration and the students are necessary in deciding what types of group are needed. Notification of the groups that are offered will be posted in the school newsletter, on the web page and through flyers. Some examples of small groups that have been offered are: “Testing, Testing 1,2,3”: Stress reduction techniques and test taking strategies for students with test anxiety. Friendship Groups: The purpose of this small group is to provide activities that reinforce positive relationships and teach interpersonal skills. Coping with Divorce: Small group counseling for children whose parents are separated or divorced. Facing Fears and Anxieties: This group is usually offered for grades 1-4. Stress Reduction Technique: This group is usually offered for grades 5-7. TOPS: Organizations skills for middle school students Stop and Think: Impulse control strategies and reinforcement Coping with Deployment: Helping children whose parents are serving in the military Coordination of School-wide Guidance Program The school-wide programs that are planned for this year are: The new student orientation” for new 6th and 7th graders “Popcorn-Popins” for all newcomers in every grade The “Caring Community” program to combat bullying “Lunch Bunches” for students “Coffee Talks” for parents Standardized Testing Coordinator As testing coordinator I organize, and implement the TerraNova testing program in the spring. I disseminate all testing materials to the classrooms and collect and process the completed test booklets for scoring. In May I review test scores and provide additional feedback and interpretation to parents, students and teachers. Collaboration and Consultation As the guidance counselor I am an advocate for the child, for the parents, and for the teachers. I not only sit on both sides of the fence, but I frequently straddle it. I review all student referrals for requested services and consult with teachers in developing individual strategies for academic success in the classroom. I work with parents individually and also organize, coordinate and plan parenting groups. I also act as a liaison with community agencies and consult with several private counselors, doctors and social workers. I am a member of the child study team, which meets weekly. All of this collaboration insures that your child is receiving the most effective and efficient services that can be provided.
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