Welcome to the School Counseling Program!
I am so excited to be the school counselor here at McGilvra Elementary School. As children begin their school years, it is our job as adults to help them develop the knowledge, attitudes and social skills necessary for them to become healthy, competent and confident learners. School counselors work as part of the whole team, in partnership with the school staff, parents, and the community, to create a caring climate and atmosphere where students can thrive. By providing proactive education, social skills teaching, prevention, early intervention, school counselors can help all children achieve greater academic and personal success. I am thrilled to be part of the dynamic team of educators at McGilvra who believe in educating the whole child and helping them to develop strong social/emotional skills while in school.
What is the general role of the School Counselor?
- Leads whole group guidance lessons on a regular basis in classrooms
- Leads small group counseling lessons / groups for students who need extra support/skill-building in various areas of need (friendship/social skills, self-regulation skills, processing family changes, grief/loss, etc.)
- Works 1:1 with students for brief periods of time to help with family crisis, behavioral concerns, grief/loss, and other individual needs
- Consults and collaborates regularly with teachers to assist students, to help identify students of concern and develop plans of support
- Collaborates with families by linking parents with community resources, trainings, and problem-solving ideas to help children succeed.
- Helps to develop school-wide events, curriculum, and lessons to target individual and group needs. Some of these include: facilitating the school-wide character trait program, teaching families about “RULER/ family charters” at Caring for the Community event and more.
- Acts as the building 504 Program Coordinator for students in need of accommodations
- Participates regularly in Student Intervention Teams (SIT) and MTSS meetings to help identify students in need of more support
Classroom Guidance/ Social skills lessons:
- Implements a positive school climate for students by working proactively with students on school-wide expectations for behaviors.
- Implements a data-based preventative curriculum to foster students’ academic, career, and personal/social development. Topics for classroom lessons include skills for improved learning, empathy, problem solving, emotional management/ self-regulation, conflict management, and mindfulness.
Please note that it is the district’s expectation that school counselors in SPS deliver short-term, direct service (either 1:1 or in small groups) to empower students in problem solving and to assist with concerns. Please note that in a school with 250 students, a part-time counselor cannot fill the role of a child or family therapist. The counselor can help families connect with community organizations that provide regular counseling and family support services.
How to refer a student for a possible group and/or short-term 1:1 counseling:
- If you have concerns about a child, please speak with the counselor directly (email, set up a meeting or call).
- The counselor will periodically seek student referrals from parents and teachers to form specific social groups to address topics such as building friendship skills, learning about self-regulation, processing changes in families/ transition support, handling anxiety, and more).
- Primary teachers will refer students in K-2 for extra support as needed. Intermediate students can self-refer/ ask to talk with the counselor by filling out a “student request form.”
- As needed, the counselor is also available to meet with students “in the moment” to provide a safe space to de-escalate, problem-solve, handle an immediate situation.
Connecting with community resources and needs
The school counselor can help families link with valuable resources, community programs and agencies. Please ask if you have a need!