For those of you new to the district or unfamiliar with my role, the position is essentially that of an elementary school social worker.
Here's a quick summary of the counseling position beginning with annual programs:
Aside from these annual programs, other counseling responsibilities include:
- New Student Support Group meets in September/October to warmly welcome new additions to the school.
- Weekly counseling support is provided for students identified for special education services.
- 8 Lifeskills lessons (i.e. substance abuse prevention program) are provided to 4th and 5th grade classrooms. These lessons are taught over the course of the school year.
- Group counseling is offered through a Banana Splits' Program (i.e. for children whose parents have separated or divorced).
- Annual Bullying Behavior lessons are presented to grades 2-5.
- The school counselor is an annual guest presenter for 5th Grade Wellness Day on dealing with stress. Students and parent chaperones practice relaxation through guided imagery.
- Assessing social struggles and bullying behavior allegations.
- Assisting teachers and/or parents in assessing early indicators of academic, emotional and behavioral struggles.
- Making referrals to community-based agencies or mental health practitioners when necessary.
- Providing individual student counseling support for low level emotional and behavioral concerns.
The most common behavior patterns we see each year are: children with exagerrated worrying (anxiety), difficulty staying calm (anger management), struggles with focus, attention and impulse control (ADHD), and indications of low self-esteem (often a result of distorted feelings of shame). In my experience, very few children mature without growing pains and missteps. If there is any assistance I might provide, please contact me. Intervening early is much simpler on both parents and students. Please don't hesitate to call.
Matthew G. Heyn, LCSW