Counseling update!

HELP WANTED!!

I’m in desperate need of parent volunteers for the school store this year.  The Legacy PTO website will have the days listed and you can sign up there or send me an email at Figall_Leena@svvsd.org letting me know what days you can do. The open spots are all Fridays on Sept. 16th, Oct. 7th, Oct. 21st, Nov. 4th, Nov. 18th, Dec. 2nd, Dec. 16th, Jan 6th, Jan. 20th,  Feb. 3rd, Mar. 3rd, Mar. 17th, Apr. 7th, Apr. 21st, May 5th and the day before the last day of school, May 23rd.  The time is 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

In the month of September I am working on getting the Peer Pals program up and running. This program allows 5th grade students to mentor younger students at Legacy who may need some extra one on one time (i.e. a big buddy) and/or help with academics. The mentor and mentee meet once a week, for 30 minutes, in the lunchroom. 5th graders who are interested need to be recommended by their teacher and fill out an application.

I will also be assisting with the 100 mile club again this year.   This will be run by Brian Bianco, our PE teacher, but Cherie Oatman and I will be helping out in the mornings and running/walking with the kids.

In addition, this month I will solicit feedback from teachers regarding students who may benefit from one of my groups. I hold groups once a week, for 30 minutes, on various topics such as Social Skills/Friendship, Study Skills, Divorce/Separation, grief, anger management, and self- control, just to name a few. The group sessions go for six weeks. I hold three six week sessions a year (one before holiday break and two after). If you would like your child to be in any of my groups please let me or his or her teacher know.  My first round of groups will be starting the week of Oct. 3rd.

On Thursday, Sept. 8th, Eric and Angelyne (his deaf Cattle dog) will be doing a character education assembly for the K-2nd graders.

“ Angelyne was born completely deaf. She is an outstanding exception to what usually happens with deaf dogs. Most deaf dogs are abused, misunderstood, neglected, abandoned and left in shelters or euthanized. Eric took her in and gave her a meaningful life with a different purpose. Her normal job would have been as a cattle herding dog but Eric taught her over 40 different hand signals and non-verbal commands including obedience and tricks. Eric created a unique set of hand commands unlike American Sign Language with amazing results. Angelyne is very focused, intelligent and loves to entertain. Since 2007 Eric and Angelyne have been very busy speaking and performing at schools, churches, special events, fairs, carnivals, festivals, pet expos, for at-risk youth, centers for the disabled, senior care centers and much more.”

On Sept. 27th, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival will be performing their anti-bullying presentation of “The Taming of the Shrew” for the 3rd-5th graders and having three student workshops to follow.

“Kate and Petruchio (the two main characters) are two people who have behaved badly their whole lives, acting as bullies toward other people, toward siblings,” Keith says. “And yet, by the end, they both have learned how to be nice and have a healthy relationship. So we hope that’ll lead to kids asking, ‘How can we stop bullying each other and become more of a team?”

Last but not least, the Legacy trait of the month is “Listening Actively” and the luncheon for this trait will be held on Wednesday, September 21st. If your child is displaying this trait and is chosen for the luncheon they will receive an invitation. I will also be doing classroom lessons on this trait. Parents are encouraged to attend the luncheon with their children as it makes for a special experience for them!

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The new In-Focus curriculum

St. Vrain Valley School District is currently piloting a new brain-based social-emotional curriculum called “In-Focus”, written by Tom McSheehy, a former teacher and licensed clinical social worker. It is considered a tier one intervention which uses daily repetition to get results. This curriculum will most likely be mandatory for all elementary schools in the district for the 2017-2018 school year and helps students do the following:

 

  • Improve intellectual development
  • Succeed academically

 

    • Manage and express emotions positively
    • Gain focus and improve attention

 

  • Reduce stress and calm themselves
  • Reduce bullying and impulsive behavior
  • Elevate self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Strengthen social skills
  • Improve teamwork and collaboration
  • Develop problem solving skills

This program uses ten to fifteen minute a day lessons that build on each other day after day.  Background information and a script are provided for each lesson and lessons can be paraphrased to meet the needs of the teacher and/or classroom.

Lessons are designed to meet the needs of all three parts of the brain which are the brain stem (safety), the limbic system (emotions and motivation) and the cortex (thinking).

Thompson Valley School District did a pilot this past school year and used the DAP (Development Assets Profile) to gather data.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome Back!

I hope everyone had a great summer! Here are some “back to school” tips from the http://www.pbs.org site.

 

Back-to-School Tips for Parents

Starting the new school year can be a time of great excitement… and anxiety. Help calm your child’s fears (and your own) with these teacher-approved tips.

Meet the new teacher.
For kids, one of the biggest back-to-school fears is “Will I like my new teacher?” Breaking the ice early on is one of the best ways to calm everyone’s fears. Take advantage of your school’s open house or back-to-school night. Some teachers welcome phone calls or e-mails — another great opportunity to get to know each other before the year begins.

If personal contact with the teacher isn’t possible, try locating the teacher’s picture on a school website or in a yearbook, so your child can put a name with a face. If your child’s teacher sends a welcome letter, be sure to read the letter together.

Tour the school.
If your school hosts an open house, be sure to go. Familiarizing your child with her environment will help her avoid a nervous stomach on the first day. Together you can meet her teacher, find her desk, or explore the playground.

With an older child, you might ask him to give you a tour of the school. This will help refresh his memory and yours.

Connect with friends.
A familiar friend can make all the difference when heading back to school. You might try calling parents from last year’s class and finding out which children are in your child’s class this year. Refresh these relationships before school starts by scheduling a play date or a school carpool.

Tool up.
Obtain the class supply list and take a special shopping trip with your child. Having the right tools will help him feel prepared. While keeping basic needs in mind, allow for a couple of splurges like a cool notebook or a favorite-colored pen. These simple pleasures make going back to school a lot more fun.

School supply lists also provide great insight into the schoolwork ahead. Get your child excited about upcoming projects by explaining how new supplies might be used. Let him practice using supplies that he’s not used before — such as colored pencils or a protractor — so he will be comfortable using them in class.

Avoid last-minute drilling.
When it’s almost time to stop playing, give a five-minute warning. Giving clear messages to your child is very important.

Chat about today’s events and tomorrow’s plans.
While it is important to support learning throughout the summer, don’t spend the last weeks of summer vacation reviewing last year’s curriculum. All kids need some down time before the rigors of school begin. For some kids, last-minute drills can heighten anxiety, reminding them of what they’ve forgotten instead of what they remember.

Ease into the routine.
Switching from a summer to a school schedule can be stressful to everyone in the household. Avoid first-day-of-school mayhem by practicing your routine a few days in advance. Set the alarm clock, go through your morning rituals, and get in the car or to the bus stop on time. Routines help children feel comfortable, and establishing a solid school routine will make the first day of school go much smoother.

Counseling update

I wanted to post an update because I haven’t posted one in awhile.

I plan on starting my third and final round of groups starting March 28th. So far I have five groups formed from teacher and student referrals.  I also plan on doing lessons in March on Careers. We do not have a Legacy Luncheon in March, usually due to testing, although the state changed the testing dates this year. Testing will take place in April instead of March.

The 5th grade field trip to CU-Boulder had to be cancelled due to the April testing dates. I booked the field trip date back in August for April 15th.  Unfortunately, this day turned out to be a testing date and when I tried to change the field trip day with CU they were all booked up already. I will try again next year.

In April we will have our last luncheon of the year for “You’re a Leader.” I will be inviting some community and district leaders to join us, as I have done in the past.

In the beginning of May I will have pizza parties for all my Peer Pal mentors and their buddies. It will be held during the 5th graders lunch period at the outside picnic tables, weather permitting.The exact day and time are TBD.

Happiness=Success

We’ve always been told that working hard equals success and success equals happiness. Turns out that the opposite is true. Happiness equals success and there is data to back it up.

Instead of throwing happiness out there as something that is obtainable only after we have reached some goal and once we reach that goal we have to reach another and so on and so on, we are happy now which leads to success.  The following Ted Talk explains it best.

ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Study

Last week I went to the Colorado School Counseling Conference and learned about this very interesting study done on how abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction affects health and social well-being throughout life.

The higher the amount of ACE’s a person has the more likely they will have health problems such as heart, lung and liver disease, not to mention drug/ alcohol abuse, depression, and suicide.

Teaching resiliency, including self-efficacy, self-control, optimism and self-esteem can help combat adverse childhood experiences.

For more information on this study go to http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/about.html or the the ted talk at http://www.ted.com/talks/nadine_burke_harris_how_childhood_trauma_affects_health_across_a_lifetime