WEB (Where Everybody Belongs): Trained 8th grade leaders “adopt 5-7 incoming 6th grade students, they present an orientation day before school begins with a rally, information and games; throughout the year they will check-in with their students to remind them of events, encourage participation, make sure all is well, or simply to say HI. They also teach periodic lessons throughout the year in 6th grade classrooms. National website: http://www.boomerangproject.com
Conflict Management: Training Each year in the fall, students “apply” to become conflict managers; after the application process they undergo 10-16 hours of training in communication, problem solving, perception, etc.; this is open to all grade levels; sometimes student may go through the training simply to improve their social skills (may be recommended by parents or staff). They use the skills to serve as peer mediators with regular meetings to debrief, brainstorm, troubleshoot and fine tune their skills.
Lunch Enrichment: The counseling office, room #27, is open almost every lunch for a “safe hang-out”; students play games, cards, listen to music, talk, etc. in a smaller controlled social environment where they do not realize they are learning social skills for group behavior.
Lunch W.R.A.P. Lunch With Responsible Action Planning; Many times children make unwise choices in their actions, first-time offenders for minor misbehavior, post-suspension, etc., may be directed to the counselor by the administrators for lunch-time lessons, contracts and problem solving in order to avoid repeat offenses.
Counseling Groups: Various counseling groups are formed and run on an as needed basis throughout the school year addressing such issues as motivation, organization, school stress, social skills, grief, anger management, problem solving, healthy choices, etc.; contact the counselor for more information, referrals can be made by parents, staff or the student.
Individual Counseling: Open door policy to “put out fires” and deal with minor crisis’s both large and small, limited to very short term and immediate problem solving.
Academic Watch: Immediately following the 1st 2nd report card and 3rd progress report, every student with a failing grade is notified with an academic warning letter and scheduled for a Student Academic Progress [SAP] meeting with the counselor and AP to form a plan of action for school success. Academic warning letters are sent our at first and second progress report time for all students receiving F's. SAP meetings also occur the first trimester of each year based on test scores of below basic and far below basic and F’s on the last year third trimester report card.
Character Counts! A school wide recognition program focusing on the six pillars of character-Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, Trustworthiness, Citizenship [website: www.charactercounts.org]
Student Parent Resources: Many handouts, pamphlets, websites, and other materials concerning academic success, substance use, college, discipline, LDs, etc., are available to take and/or borrow in the counseling office.
SST (Student Success Team): Meetings are scheduled on an as needed basis; parent requests go through the counseling office, the parent is mailed a checklist and response letter, once the criteria is met the parent returns the checklist and an SST meeting is scheduled.
RtI Case Management (SST Coordination): Tracks all meetings and interventions with students as RtI cases: SST, 504, SAP, Parent-Teacher Conferences, and Parent-counselor conferences. Reduces number of formal SSTs and IEP requests significantly.
Whole School Classroom Guidance Lessons: Counselor taught lessons spread out throughout the year on – School Success, Bullying-Harassment-Friendship, Test Taking Skills, etc.
Class Change Request: Classes and scheduling is not done through the counseling office as it is in high school; elective selection is done in the springs via a form; MV does not accept requests for specific teachers; forms are available in the office to request a class change and must state an academic reason, be signed by the current teacher and parent; request is then reviewed at the Leadership Meeting which occurs the 2nd week of each month, reason, class numbers, scheduling options, and other factors are considered by the team consisting of 6th, 7th, 8th grade teachers, counselor, classified and administrator representatives.
School to Work Introduction to the Hiring Process: 7th grade students may “apply” for teacher’s aide positions in lieu of an elective their 8th grade year; GPA, behavior and other criteria must be met; the students will undergo an interview and sign a contract if “hired”; students should fill out an elective sheet stating TA as their first choice in addition to undergoing the application process.
Work Permits are available in the counseling office; the student must pick-up the intent to employ form, have it filled out by the potential employer, and return it to the counselor; after a grade check and administrative approval, the work permit is issued; all permits expire on or before the first day of the next school year; in accordance to California state law, minor may not work without a work permit issued by their school, there are penalties for both employer and employee.
Crisis Counseling Plans are executed as needed from individual students, to classrooms to whole school procedures. Counselor acts as the liaison and student advocate if outside mental health, medical or law enforcement agencies are needed.
Program Planning: The counselor is an integral member of the site Leadership Team, District CHEC [Coordinated Health Education Committee], staff meetings and development, academic department and grade level collaboration, collaboration with school support services personnel, etc.
Staff Development: Assist in staff development as needed on subjects such as gender equity, sexual harassment, crisis response, intervention processes, etc.
Staff Support: Done 1:1, in meetings and in the classroom. Support may include observation of a student to assist in behavior intervention strategies, or contacting a parent with a concern of a teacher they are uncomfortable speaking to the parent about [i.e. a student with his hands down his pants constantly]
Professional Development: Subscribe to school counseling journals, membership in school counselor associations, subscribe to several email newsletters regarding behavior, school success, national programs, national recognitions of students, attendance in conferences and workshop as time and money allows.
Teacher.org: You have decided to become a teacher? Great! Becoming a teacher is one of the most rewarding journeys a person can embark on. Here are the steps to help you become an educator in California.