Thank you for visiting my web page. I hope that by the end of your visit, you will have a better understanding of my role as an Elementary Guidance Counselor in the Parkland School District. School Counselors provide a wide range of services to the school community. Counseling, consultation, coordination, and assessment are the primary delivery methods in an effective school counseling program.
Our school counseling program is designed to provide all students with opportunities and resources to help them reach their goal of becoming contributing members of society. The counseling program is developmental and systematic in nature and is delivered through large group, small group, and individual experiences. The Parkland School District Counselors believe in the dignity and worth of all students and are committed to their role as advocates for students in the educational setting.
Counselors meet with students individually to facilitate their growth and development through the exploration of feelings and concerns related to issues impacting their lives. Parents and teachers refer students for individual counseling throughout the school year. Students are also encouraged to complete a need to talk form or to stop by the guidance office at any time to make an appointment for some “talking time”.
DUSO, which stands for “Developing an Understanding of Self and Others”, is a dolphin puppet who visits with all Kindergarten classrooms several times throughout the school year. A storybook and cassette tape are used to present the stories to the children, and then a brief discussion follows.
Some of the stories and topics which have been presented include:
- The Underwater Problem Solvers – 5 rules of group discussion
- The Red and White Bluebird – importance of being yourself
- Duso Talks about Friends – friends are important, they help & understand
- Gordo and Molly – sharing, taking turns
- The Outsider – playing fair
- A Spoonful of Sugar – being nice is more advantageous
- Good Guy and Old Lazy – decision making
- John Teaches Himself – feeling proud for trying
- The Loafers – decide consequences for “loafing”
- The Big Race – evaluation and redirection
- Peekaboo Emu – everyone is important
Children in the elementary schools are going through many phases of growth and development. During these years children normally experience many stresses due to academic demands, social relationships, and typical family issues.
In small group counseling, the counselor works with two or more students at a time, during a 30-40 minute period for 6-8 weeks. All groups are held during regular school hours. Group discussions may be relatively unstructured, or based on structured learning activities. The goals of the group are to improve problem solving and social skills, as well as to increase self-esteem.
During the group sessions, students will become involved in fun activities such as playing games, drawing, role-playing, reading books, and group discussions. Students will learn ways of getting along with others, communicating more effectively, controlling their behavior, and resolving conflict.
Some examples of the typical groups which may be offered during a school year include:
Banana Splits – for children who’s parents are divorced or separated
New Kid Chat – for students new to our school
Friendship Group – teaches social skills
Cool Down Group – teaches anger management
Groups are added throughout the school year depending on the needs of the students. If you feel your child may benefit from being in a group, please let me know.
Large group instruction offers a good opportunity to provide support to the largest number of students in the school. The school counselor presents lessons that are developmentally appropriate for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Lessons focus on understanding self and others, coping strategies, peer relationships, problem solving, decision making, and conflict resolution.
Some examples of classroom guidance lessons I have presented at Kratzer School are:
Kindergarten: “DUSO the Dolphin” helps students understand self and others. This puppet helps students express feelings and solve problems they may encounter in everyday life. For a complete listing of all the DUSO lessons presented, please refer to the DUSO for Kindergarten Classes link.
Grade One: Feelings awareness and identification are taught to the students at this age. This is a concept that, I believe, is important to learn early in life. DUSO also makes some brief appearances throughout the year!
Grade Two: Social skills are stressed in these guidance lessons. We discuss ways to make AND keep friends!
Grade Three: Third Grade begins the focus on conflict resolution and getting along with others. This is a topic which is touched upon at every grade level but begins to be stressed more starting now. We do many activities focusing on teamwork and coping skills.
Grade Four: Again, conflict resolution and social skills are the primary lessons. The conflict resolution program which I have designed teaches the same basic skills through all grade levels but presents them in a different way each year.
Grade Five: At the fifth grade level we continue with the conflict resolution material through the Peer Mediation Program.
Make your reservation!!!!
Lunch Bunch is a great way for me to spend time with the students in a very informal, fun way. I distribute tickets to the teachers the day of the lunch bunch meeting. Usually there are four students and myself that eat together that day in the guidance office. The students are encouraged to finish eating prior to recess so they can still get the fresh air they need.
The Peer Mediation Program provides students the opportunity to find peaceful solutions to their conflicts with a little help from their peers. The program begins with the counselor presenting several lessons to all fifth grade students on conflict resolution. At the final lesson, the students are given applications for Peer Mediation. It is their choice as to whether or not to return them to me for consideration of this position. I generally choose 20 mediators. The selection is based on a team decision between myself, the classroom teacher, and the principal. The role of a mediator carries many responsibilities!
The chosen students must then attend a few hours of training. The training takes place in school. They are engaged in a variety of activities designed to exercise and sharpen their listening, communicating, interviewing, and reflecting skills.
The Peer Mediators at Kratzer School work primarily on the playground during all recess times with all grade levels, first through fifth. Students, teachers, principal, school counselor, playground aide, or Mediator can refer students for mediation. Wanting to work out problems peacefully and agreeing to make compromises are skills all students can learn and benefit from in life. I am proud of the Kratzer Peer Mediators!
No Bully Zone
Parkland School District has taken an active role in reducing the incidence of bullying in all of our schools. Assemblies have been presented to the students and classroom guidance lessons have been taught and reinforced at all grade levels. This year we’ve asked the students and staff to participate in our Kratzer Bully-Free Quilt. Each member has signed a square stating they recognize and will practice our anti-bullying rules and pledge. Kratzer students and staff pledge to “Treat Each Others With Respect.”
It is the intention of the Parkland School District that these activities have given the students the initial tools they need to recognize and handle bullies in an appropriate and safe manner. Through the use of weekly class meetings and reinforcement from all of our staff, there is hope that our students will begin to utilize the various skills presented to them to ward off and stop bullying from occurring at our elementary schools.