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Monthly Counseling Newsletter

COUNSELING

The Counseling Team!



 

Ms. Katie Phelps

kphelps@ssfusd.org

(650) 877-8848 x5621

Last Name: A - Leach
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Ms. Taryn Richards

trichards@ssfusd.org

(650) 877-8848 x5604

Last Name: Lee - Z

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Ms. Mercy Fernando

mwalker@ssfusd.org

(650) 877-8848 x5608

Counseling Assistant

What Do Our School Counselors Do?

They:

  • are responsible for providing academic and social/emotional support for students
  • monitor grades and behavior
  • teach guidance lessons
  • schedule classes
  • make counseling referrals to YSB
  • review test scores
  • support students as needed
  • work with parents, teachers, administrators and students to ensure the needs of the students are being met

Our doors are always open!

The Need for Counselors in Middle School:

“Today’s young people are living in an exciting time, with an increasingly diverse society, new technologies, and expanding opportunities. To help ensure that they are prepared to become the next generation of parents, workers, leaders, and citizens”, every student needs support, guidance, and opportunities during adolescence, a time of rapid growth and change. Early adolescents face unique and diverse challenges, both personally and developmentally, that have an impact on academic achievement."

Middle School Students’ Developmental Needs:
Middle school is an exciting, yet challenging time for students, their parents and teachers. During this passage from childhood to adolescence, middle school students are characterized by a need to explore a variety of interests, connecting their learning in the classroom to its practical application in life and work; high levels of activity coupled with frequent fatigue due to rapid growth; a search for their own unique identity as they begin turning more frequently to peers rather than parents for ideas and affirmation; extreme sensitivity to the comments from others; and heavy reliance on friends to provide comfort, understanding and approval.

Meeting the Challenge
Middle school counselors are professional educators with a mental health perspective who understand and respond to the challenges presented by today’s diverse student population. Middle school counselors do not work in isolation; rather they are integral to the total educational program. They provide proactive leadership that engages all stakeholders in the delivery of programs and services to help students achieve success in school. Professional school counselors align with the school’s mission to support the academic achievement of all students as they prepare for the ever-changing world of the 21st century.

From American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Website, 2015.

https://www.schoolcounselor.org/school-counselors-members/careers-roles/why-middle-school-counselors

 

Additional Counseling Services: YSB

 Ms. Jenny Valdez

Youth Service Bureaus (YSB) 

We have an amazing YSB counselor, referred to as an SSA (School Safety Advocate) joining us this year at Westborough. Jenny Valdez will be working to address the needs of our students. Jenny and her intern, will be running counseling groups as well as 1:1 check-in counseling.

  • On-Campus Counseling - Students often perform poorly in school as a result of stressful home lives, difficult peer relationships, or more serious mental health issues. School based counseling provides support to these students in dealing with problems that don’t normally get addressed during the school day. For most of the students we serve, this will be their only resource for counseling. By treating the underlying cause, students are able to refocus their attention on positive growth and success in school.

2017-18 Groups

  • CALM - Communication and Life Skills Management group for girls and boys provided in middle and high schools. The group focuses on identifying anger provoking triggers, improving communication styles, and strengthening coping and anger management techniques.  It provides a space for adolescents to talk about high risk behaviors in a safe place and identify personal strengths to address real-life challenges.
  • Girls UnitedA psycho-social group provided at middle and high school campuses to empower girls, develop strong peer support, and give them a safe place to deal with life pressures which may affect them such as drugs & alcohol, gang involvement, academics, relationships, social pressure, abuse, sexuality, depression, anxiety, bullying/harassment.  The group focuses on building girls’ self-esteem, strengthening healthy decision making, becoming more responsible at school & home, encouraging leadership skills as well as discussing body image, values, pregnancy prevention, conflict resolution, communication skills, and future goals. 
  • First Stop - Substance abuse education and prevention and life skill groups for youth involved in drug and/or alcohol related offences, or who may be at risk for future use.

*If you'd like to sign your student up for any of these free services, email Ms. Phelps or Ms. Richards with your name, your student’s name and what kind of services you are interested in. 

Confidentiality

One of the services we provide our students and take very seriously is to preserve the confidentiality of information that is shared. As a result, the confidentiality of information received, and of any written or pupil records, is protected. The counselors do not disclose information that a student has shared within the context of the counseling relationship, unless such disclosures are necessary to protect the student from posing a serious threat to him or herself or to others.

Counseling Mission Statement

The mission of the Westborough Counseling Department through collaboration with home and community, is to facilitate and cultivate the academic and character development of all students, regardless of individual differences with the intention of providing the foundation for students to succeed within the competencies of academic, personal/social and career domains (learning to learn, learning to live, learning to work) necessary to function and contribute in a changing, multicultural world

F.A.Q.

How do I see a Counselor?
Ask your teacher for a pass, ask the counselor to send you a pass, request by the counselor, principal or assistant principal request, parent/guardian request, teacher request and friend request. Please contact Ms. Fernando (Counseling Secretary) to schedule an appointment.

When can I see the Counselor?
Ms. Phelps & Ms. Richards are on campus from 8am-3:30pm Monday through Friday.

Where is the Counselor's office?
Our offices are located in the main office, located in the front of the main building and front doors.

How and why do parents/guardians contact the school counselor?
Parent/Guardians can call and make an appointment to discuss concerns over student achievement, health problems, Smarter Balance testing, special needs of their student, potential crisis/trauma, family difficulties or concerns, schedule changes, IEPs, 504 plans, and Student Success Team (SST) meetings.

Am I in trouble if I see the School Counselor?
When you receive an appointment slip with your Counselor's name on it, it does NOT mean you are in trouble or have done anything "bad".  Counselors send out slips for a variety of reasons including but not limited to: ask you a question, check in with you and see how you're doing, connect you with a peer tutor, or
discuss ways to improve your study habits or time management skills. We offer a safe place for students to share any issues or concerns and work together to find possible solutions to any situations a student might be dealing with.

Transitioning from Elementary to Middle School

Starting Middle School can be a difficult transition for some new 6th graders. Students now have lockers spread out throughout the school, have to memorize their locker combinations, and carry around appropriate books/supplies for different periods. Students are suddenly following a block schedule with 4 different periods each day, which can be tough to get used to.

There are many ways to ensure a smooth transition for your child from elementary to middle school:

- Stay involved in your student's school experience. Attend "Back to School Night", join the PTA and attend monthly meetings, participate in "Coffee with the Counselors" before school, chaperone field trips, volunteer for school sponsored events, read the Monthly Counseling Newsletter, and use School Loop to stay in contact with teachers and counselors to monitor grades and voice concerns.

- Model lifelong learning and the value of education.

- Recognize the important of regular attendance and reduce the amount of time you take your child out for vacation time, dentist or doctor appointments, etc...

- Encourage curiosity, problem solving, and independent thinking with your child.