The Middle School Guidance Office

Parent Newsletter

Helping to inspire students to be knowledgeable, responsible, healthy and compassionate citizens.

February 2014

Guidance Counselor versus School Counselor?

I am NOT a Guidance Counselor. I AM a School Counselor.

What's the difference? A Guidance Counselor is a term from the dark ages of school counseling. A Guidance Counselor is a person who had little training in the role of a counselor. Their job duties included "guiding" students in their college applications and high school course selection. A lot has changed in the field of counseling and the modern School Counselor has a Master's Degree specific to School Counseling. School counselors must be able to handle a wide variety of counseling issues, from suicide and ideation, grief, LGBT, cutting, absenteeism, social skills, relational aggression, technology, academic, career, giftedness, special education, group dynamics, and family relationships. School Counselors also develop a comprehensive school counseling program that focuses on 3 domains set forth by the American School Counselor Association. Those skill sets include Personal/Academic Development, Career and Decision-Making Skills, and Interpersonal Skills. Professional School Counselors develop lesson plans aligned to the common core and present on a wide range of topics. At the high school level, college planning and course selection, are a major focus of the job, but fall within these categories. At the middle and elementary levels, the focus shifts slightly. Issues regarding bullying, interpersonal skills, and academic success are the predominate areas of support, coupled with promoting a culture where all students are career and college ready.

Lunch Bunch

Lunch Bunch is continuing to work on friendship lessons, learning bullying statistics, and creating our own Mean Stinks video. Recently kids finished an affirmation book, where each LBer wrote something nice about each of their peers, which was then compiled into a book for each student.

See the video below to take a look at what has happened over the past year.

My Life As A Middle School Counselor


A study skills group has been meeting in grades 7-8. These students have been learning and creating SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific~Measurable~Attainable~Relevant~Timely. Students have learned that making goals that are too broad, and too far away, are most likely to be forgotten about or given up on. By having a SMART goal, students are focusing on one thing at a time and trying to make improvements to academics in small steps. Think of it this way, anyone can have a goal of driving across country, but with a SMART goal you are driving across country with a map.

With a SMART goal, students have moved from stating their goal as “I want to pass my class” to “I want to get above a 70 in math class by the end of the marking period. To do this I will study with a partner for tests, do all my homework, and ask my teacher for help. This goal is important to me because I want to get my phone back from when I had poor grades last marking period. I will meet this goal in 10 weeks and I will know I met this goal because of the grade on my report card.”

What is your SMART goal for 2014?

You in Just 6 Words?

Ernest Hemingway has said that he wrote his best piece of work in just 6 words. "For Sale: Baby shoes. Never worn." After discussion the possible meanings of what Hemingway meant, the 6th grade girls' Lunch Bunch were asked to write their own memoir in just 6 short words. After their first round of writing (which included memoirs like, "I really Heart this green squeaky frog.") the girls talked about the legacy they would leave behind. What did they want others to know about them, and how were they going to define themselves.

The girls did an excellent job with this project. In fact, many wrote more than one memoir. You can see their project via Haiku Deck below. In Fact, the girls did such a great job with this project that even Haiku Deck took notice and their slideshow is in their gallery of Most Popular Decks! Congrats girls!


I Can Run is a group for boys and girls to inspire them to be self-confident, healthy, and discover their potential to solve problems and reach their goals. By providing fun games, team building activities and running, students will learn that there is nothing they can't do. Volunteer coaches will train small teams of boys or girls through a curriculum covering team work, goal setting, understanding ourselves and running games. Coaches and teams meet twice a week for 10 weeks with a goal of completing a 5K race at the conclusion of the program. Meetings will begin in March and will meet twice a week after school from 3-4:30 pm.

We are currently looking for volunteers to help put together this unique program for students. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or want to know more about this program for your son or daughter, please contact Carol Miller in the Guidance Office by calling 533-3020 ext 2150.

Want to be a volunteer? Click here:

What you need to know as a parent about Social Media

I know that a lot of middle school students are interested in joining, if not already a member of many social media sites. While technology is growing in leaps and bounds of being able to connect people who share similar interests, talents, and learning opportunities it has great potential for pushing us beyond our own expectations and boundaries. It is these boundaries, however, that we must protect. Twitter, Instagram,YouTube, Pinterest, Instant Messenger and Facebook are just a few examples of the many sites out there that attract young people. As a parent it is important to talk to our children about Social Awareness. Many colleges, universities, and employers often look at social media sites when reviewing applications. For employers, there is a certain credibility for applicants to be using social media, but it must be used correctly. Informing teens about digital imprinting is important. Teens need to know that as they use online communications they are leaving traceable trails leading to themselves. It is important for kids to know never to share their passwords with anyone else, to block and report anyone who sends them inappropriate communications, and to remember not to believe everything that they read online. Having a social media contract and setting parental controls on your internet helps to send the message to children about the dangers and impact of their actions on these social sites.

For more information check out these sites:


PTSO just approved the purchase of a popcorn maker for the Middle School. The popcorn maker is a commercial sized machine and will be available to group events, drama, musicals, dances, and incentive programs for students.

Who sees the counselor?

The Guidance Office is a place for all students and not just for those experiencing problems. Programs include Lunch Bunch with the counselor, Classroom Guidance activities on careers, job skills, bullying, and early college awareness, small group and individual counseling, arranging parent-teacher conferences, and parent groups.

Other Info: