Welcome back to another school year. My name is Rebecca Schwam and I am the guidance counselor at WES. I would like to take this opportunity to explain my roles as the guidance counselor. As the elementary guidance counselor, I support children with their academic and social development. I explain my role to your children describing myself as the feelings teacher in the building. This means that I make sure that every child feels safe and comfortable here at school. To you, this means I support your child with self-esteem, social skills, making friends, family changes such as divorce or death in the family, bullying, anxiety, peer relationships, organizational skills and conflict resolution. I see students through guidance lessons, one-on-one, in groups, lunch bunch sessions, and conflict resolution. Here is a more detailed description of my programs.
The counselor helps mediate conflicts amongst peers. This means that I help children resolve problems with their peers that might happen on the playground, cafeteria, bus or in the classroom. If this problem should become ongoing, I would contact parents for their support.
The counselor meets with students who need to talk about their feelings regarding topics such as friendship, schoolwork, or family issues. Parents, teachers, and support staff can refer a child to the guidance counselor. Parents are notified if more than a few meetings are scheduled with a student.
Students are also able to refer themselves to the guidance office through self-referral mailboxes throughout the building. Many times children seek me out for a friendship problem, a conflict with a peer, or family changes. If children are seeing me on an ongoing basis, you will receive contact from me and a permission slip to receive my services.
Small Group Counseling
At various times, small group counseling occurs with 2-6 students. Group topics include such areas as friendships, social skills, and organization. Parents, teachers, and students can request that a child participate in a particular group.
Throughout the school year students have the opportunity to eat lunch with me in my office. Children are given the opportunity to pick a friend to eat lunch with and play a game. This helps students develop new friendships and social skills in a smaller setting than the cafeteria. Parents and students can request a lunch bunch session.
New Student Orientation
I meet with every new account student to assist with his/her adjustment to our building. At the beginning of the year we had the “New Kids on the Block” bulletin board. It was right outside the office. It introduced and welcomed all the new students to our school.
I am in the classroom each month for classroom guidance. During the school year, I will be teaching the Second Step Program in Kindergarten through 2nd grade classrooms. It teaches students empathy, impulse control and anger management. In addition, for 3rd and 4th grade I use Steps for Respect, which is a bullying prevention program. Students learn how to recognize, refuse, and report bullying. Lastly, 5th grade participates in our Positive Psychology Program. Students learn to explore their character traits through recognizing their strengths. You will see many projects come home during this program in which you will be asked to participate.
Feedback is a classroom exercise designed to encourage children to give their peers compliments or concerns. Children learn how to use “I Statements” to communicate their feelings. An “I statement” follows this format: I feel __________ when you _________ because __________. Children can use either “happy” or “sad” feelings to share with their friends. I facilitate feedback sessions in the classroom based on the needs of the teachers.
This is a school-wide morning announcement program that teaches character education, which in turn decreases bullying and behavior incidents in school. Students in the 4thand 5th grade will have a chance to read a “Project Wisdom Announcement” over the loud speaker.
These are some of the programs the guidance department will be running this year. I look forward to working with your children.
Wallingford Elementary Guidance Counselor