What Does An Elementary School Counselor Do?
The Springfield Elementary School Counseling program is designed to support, advocate and nurture all learners. School Counselors help children, parents, and teachers promote student achievement through a comprehensive school-counseling program. By using a developmental approach, school counselors are able to address academic, emotional and personal needs. School counselors will communicate and collaborate with students, educators, parents, guardians, and community members to provide a supportive culture, and the necessary skills to produce self-directed leaders and successful citizens of our global society.
How Do We Accomplish Our Goals?
Springfield Elementary School Counseling Program goals are aligned with our school counseling mission that gives focus to our school-counseling program. An Elementary School Counselor works with students in the following ways:
Character Education Lessons
Our Character Education curriculum consists of some of the following topics: respect, cooperation, responsibility, consequences, coping strategies, teamwork, active listening, conflict resolution, caring communication, individual strengths, goal setting, making good decisions, positive attitude, peer pressure, bullying, respecting differences, and career education. Aforementioned topics may be modified, and additional topics may be added, in order to meet the needs of any individual classroom environment. The goal is to help our students become caring, productive leaders in our society.
Small Group Counseling
Throughout the year, we conduct several small group-counseling sessions. We offer our children the following groups:
- Newcomers Group - This group is for children just entering the school or new to the town/district. We meet approximately three times to make sure the children understand the school rules and to meet new friends who are also coming into the school at the same time.
- Changing Families Group - This group is for children of families who are experiencing separation, divorce, or remarriage. The goal of the group is to give children strategies for communicating their feelings about the challenges inherent to their changing family
- Friendship Group – This group works to develop the social skills necessary for making and keeping friends.
- “Cool Kids” – This group is for children who benefit from learning how to effectively manager their anger. Students will focus on identifying the causes/triggers of anger, and developing productive anger reduction techniques.
In all groups, we work on coping strategies and communication skills for the children. Groups are limited in size.
Individual Counseling Sessions
A parent or teacher may request that the school counselor meet with a particular student for a one on one counseling session. Our students may also seek out the opportunity to meet with the school counselor. The school counselor will collaborate with the classroom teacher to determine when the best time would be for the student to see the counselor. School counselors may also conduct mediations between students, in order to assist them with resolving their conflicts. School counselors satisfy short-term individual counseling needs. Outside referrals are available for parents who are seeking long-term intervention and support from community mental health agencies and private practitioners, for their children.
What Else Does The School Counselor Do?
School Counselors serve as the Anti-Bullying Specialists and are responsible for organizing I&RS meetings.
What Is I&RS?
I&RS (Intervention and Referral Services): In July 1994, the State Board of Education adopted rules to provide district boards of educations with standards for the delivery of intervention and referral services for pupils in the general education program. (NJAC 6:26, Intervention and Referral Services for General Education Pupils). These rules replace the preceding regulations that required the establishment of Intervention and Referral Services Committees (I&RS) in all public school buildings. Under this regulation, the Springfield Public Schools have established and implemented procedures for the delivery of intervention, and referral services for pupils who are experiencing difficulties in their classes and have not been determined to be in need of special education programs and services. To this end, the Springfield Public Schools have established the I&RS Committees at each school. The I&RS Committee is required to provide the following building based functions in support of intervention and referral services for general education pupils:
- Identify pupils in need and plan and provide for appropriate intervention and/or referral services to school and community resources based on desired outcomes.
- Identify roles and responsibilities of building staff.
- Provide support, guidance and professional development to staff who identify and refer pupils.
- Involve parents/guardians in the development and implementation of intervention and referral plans.
- Coordinate access to and delivery of school services for identified pupils.
- Coordinate the services of community based social and health provider agencies.
- Review and assess the effectiveness of the services provided in achieving the outcomes identified in the intervention and referral plan.
The Walton I&RS Committee is comprised of the Principal, teachers, a Child Study Team member, and parent(s), Additional member may include the school nurse, and others as determined by the Committee. Intervention and assistance plans may be developed to help students within the regular education program who are experiencing problems in learning, behavior, or health, that are not related t the educational process. If a referral to the child study team is made, we follow the prescribed procedures as described in NJAC 6A:14, subchapter 3, NJAC 6A:, subchapter 2, and the official policies of the Springfield Public Schools. Further information may be obtained by contacting the school principal or the Director of Special Services.
All of these activities and duties can make a real difference in students’ lives, improving their self-understanding and self-confidence, motivation, decision-making, goal-setting, planning and problem solving, interpersonal relationships, communication skills, respect for others and more.
Contacting the School Counselor
Parents can contact a school counselor to help their children with a variety of issues, such as academic achievement; new school registration, orientation and transition; test interpretation; special needs; student crisis situations; family transitions; and higher education issues.
Your child’s school counselor can assist you with seeking out the answers to questions such as the following:
- How is my child doing in school?
- What are my child’s strengths and weaknesses?
- Are there any areas of concerns or delayed development?
- What are my child’s goals for this year?
- What are some suggestions for action at home?
- What programs are available to help my child to do better?
- Does my child get along well with adults?
- Does my child get along well with his/her peers?
- What can I do to improve discipline at home?
- Are there ways I can improve communication with my child?
- What can I expect after a change in the family (death, divorce, illness, financial status, moving)?
- What resources are available at school?
- What resources are available outside of school?
- What do I do? My child is (sad, not sleeping, not eating, overeating, has temper tantrums, etc.)
- What do I do if I don’t like my child’s friends?
The Walton School Counseling department recognizes that parental involvement is critical in helping children to be successful in school. Our school counselors are committed to partnering with parents, teachers, and students to build strong relationships and partnerships.
Please contact us at anytime:
Mrs. Christine Saliceti, counselor for PK-1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs. Bonnie Loew, counselor for Grades 2-5, email@example.com
Mrs. Marnie Cunningham, counselor for Grades 2-5, firstname.lastname@example.org
Website Resources for Kids
"Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don't listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won't tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff."
~Catherine M. Wallace~
Acknowledgement isn’t condoning our child’s actions; it’s validating the feelings behind them. It’s a simple, profound way to reflect our child’s experience and inner self. It demonstrates our understanding and acceptance. It sends a powerful, affirming message… Every thought, desire, feeling — every expression of your mind, body and heart — is perfectly acceptable, appropriate and lovable."