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SCHOOL COUNSELING & GUIDANCE


INTRODUCTION

An effective guidance program exists only through the combined and coordinated efforts of all school staff members and parents. Counselors, teachers, and administrators work together to accomplish the implementation of a good guidance program. School Guidance is designed to help each child achieve academically, emotionally, and socially, to his/her maximum potential in the educational setting.

A great deal of a child's personal and social growth is completed before leaving elementary school. Sometimes, children encounter learning blocks such as:

  • Classroom adjustment difficulties
  • Issues on the playground and/or bus
  • Poor peer relations
  • Home-oriented issues Lack of study skills
  • Shy or withdrawn behavior
  • Lack of self-confidence

These concerns can prevent maximum learning from occurring. As the counselor at Taft Elementary School, I am here to help your child cope with these hurdles. Please feel free to call me to discuss your child's needs.


SERVICES FOR STUDENTS

As the elementary guidance counselor, I meet with students to help them:

  • Learn about themselves
  • Their attitudes
  • Interests
  • Talents
  • Feelings
  • Values
  • Learn strategies to get along with others
  • Feel worthwhile and important
  • Express their concerns
  • Learn how to make decisions
  • Establish effective study skills
  • Build a positive self-esteem/self concept

SERVICES FOR PARENTS
  • Assist parents through consultation, to understand the normal, developmental needs of their children
  • Help parents understand how the home environment, as well as the school environment, affects academic achievement
  • Consult with parents in order to increase awareness of the social/emotional needs of their children
  • Assist parents in understanding an Individualized Educational Program (IEP) developed for their child.

SERVICES FOR SCHOOL FACULTY AND STAFF
  • Conduct diversity presentations
  • Conduct workshops on topics such as bullying, peer pressure, self-esteem and behavior management
  • Consultations with teachers to follow-up on individual student counseling sessions
  • Consultations about children with specific learning problems
  • Assist teachers in maintaining positive learning climates
  • Consultations with staff members to assist them in developing appropriate individualized programs
  • Consult with other supportive services personnel on the special needs of some students

GOALS

My goal is for students to become:

  • Aware of themselves: Conscious of their feelings, thoughts, and actions
  • Emotionally flexible: Able to deal with their feelings
  • Secure: Confident, able to meet their needs
  • Considerate: Concerned about how their behavior affects others
  • Involved: Voluntary participation in activities
  • Tolerant: Acceptance of others' differences
  • Cooperative: Able to work and play well with others
  • Friendly: Demonstrating kindness, interest and good will
  • Adaptable: Able to deal with changes
  • Polite: Kind and courteous to others
  • Responsible: Able to do what is expected
  • Expressive: Able to make their needs known
  • Creative: Able to use their imagination
  • Independent: Able to think for themselves

RATIONALE

The use of mediation in schools has emerged across the nation and in other parts of the world as an alternative means of dealing with students' conflicts. Schools have found such characteristics of the mediation process as communication, neutrality, empowerment and confidentiality useful in allowing students to resolve their own problems. The effects upon schools that support mediation as an alternative, range from a more cohesive school climate to a marked reduction in various types of acting-out behaviors such as substance abuse, truancy and low academic achievement.

In the Peer Mediation Program, students negotiate their differences with the assistance of trained peer mediators. The goal of a mediation session is a written agreement which serves to structure the future relationship of the conflicting students.

Typical types of school related conflicts that are amenable to mediation are verbal arguments, threats, rumors, physical fighting, as well as other seemingly minor disputes that school staff traditionally find developing into major altercations. Although fourth and fifth grade students can be referred into mediation by any staff member, administrator, or by a fellow student, mediation is ultimately a voluntary process. Peer Mediation is available to any fourth and/or fifth grade student who chooses to use this program to find a solution to his or her conflict.


PEER MEDIATORS

Peer mediators serve in teams as neutral third parties to help disputants reach mutually agreeable solutions to their problems. The peer mediators learn the skills of:

  • active listening
  • understanding the needs and concerns of others
  • neutrality
  • bias awareness
  • how to facilitate the mediation process, so that constructive communication and problem solving can occur

The disputants in a mediation session learn to deal with conflict by negotiating a resolution which suits their needs. The major lesson learned is how to take responsibility not only for one's own actions, but the resolution of the problem as well.

The peer mediators are scheduled during their free time to mediate conflicts between students. An adult coordinator supervises the peer mediators and is the advisor for the program.

The long range goals of a peer mediation program are to provide the school with an alternative method of resolving conflict that can become an integral piece of the problem solving strategies already in place within the school environment.

The program also provides leadership training for students largely selected by their peers, who will be seen as role models for the school, and who will then have the ability to resolve their own conflicts in constructive ways.