Once a month, I teach a Character Education lesson to each classroom while they are in the library. My topics can include Issues of Character, Bullying, Career Development, Manners, Friendship, and Problem Solving. My lesson usually includes literature that ties into a discussion about how that particular issue affects their lives. We usually follow-up with a game, drama, journal or art activity. Additional lessons on issues specific to certain classes (such as grief, cliques, or tolerance) may be scheduled as necessary.
Small Group Counseling
A small group is created to meet the needs of 3 to 10 students who share a similar situation. Common themes for groups are self-esteem, social skills, divorce, grief, anger management, making new friends, and dealing with family changes. Groups usually meet once a week for 30 minutes and generally last 3 to 7 weeks. Students are recommended for group counseling by their teachers or their parents. My groups typically run at 9am during announcements and morning meeting time, to avoid taking away from instructional time.
A small group experience gives a child the tools they need to solve problems on their own, thus giving them back some control in their lives. This can help them to appreciate themselves and others and to perhaps see their difficulties in a new light. It helps to assure them that they are not the only ones in their situation and they are not alone.
I meet one-on-one with students in a crisis situation or when that is what is best for the student. Parents and teachers refer students to me, but students may also request to see me.
Please keep in mind, there is client confidentiality protecting what a student shares with me in a session and keeping that information private. However, I am a mandated reporter, so if I am told anything relating to the student being hurt, or them hurting someone else, or about two other people they know hurting each other, (I tell the students that we call these "dangerous secrets") then I will call the appropriate authorities and the parents will be notified.
Usually though, after I meet with a student, I ask them if it is ok if I call their parent and share with them the main points that we talked about. They almost always give their permission, then I am able to talk freely about our session. I never share information with anyone else about our conversation. If you have any questions about this policy, please don't hesitate to give me a call.
Teacher and Parent Consultation
I meet with teachers and parents to identify and remove barriers that may impede student achievement and/or social-emotional growth. This may include conferences, RTI's/IEP's, meetings with students present, or just a simple phone conversation to clarify a misunderstanding.
I can also help with the home-school connection to ensure consistency, especially if you are trying to initiate something new or to break a bad habit. Together, we can design a behavior plan with a reward system for home, if that is a major concern. But most importantly, if I am not able to help, I have connections to find someone who can. Please feel free to use me as a resource to point you in the right direction.
Family and Community Outreach
I assist the PTA Benevolence Committee with the Thanksgiving Food Drive, assure there are gifts and food for our needy families at the holidays, and I lead the Change for Children Campaign in the Spring, which is a global outreach to Ghana, Africa. If a family needs assistance from resources outside of the school, (food, clothing, financial, medical, counseling, utilities, etc.) I have contact information for community agencies. I also coordinate our Reading Buddies program that pairs community members, parents and high school students with struggling reading and math students.