Counselor's Corner

January 2016

What is Happening in the World of Counseling This Month?

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Fun Activities with the Counselor!

The Great Kindness Challenge 2016

During the week of January 25th - 29th, Pine Forest Elementary students and staff are participating in "The Great Kindness Challenge"!

This is a week dedicated to performing millions of acts of

kindness on campuses nationwide!

Support PFE in creating a bully-free, safe and caring school environment by asking your child how s/he has shown kindness towards others!

The Great Kindness Challenge

Kind-Hearted Hand - The Great Kindness Challenge Theme Song

Kindness Challenge for Home!

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The Great Kindness Challenge Infomercial

No Place for Hate® Crew

No Place for Hate® helps to create and sustain inclusive school environments where all students feel valued and have the opportunity to succeed by promoting respect for individual differences.

This month our fabulous No Place for Hate® Crew and Panther P.A.L.S. are working on The Great Kindness Challenge for our school!

PFE Watch D.O.G.S.

As a portion of a grant I received in May 2015 from The Humble ISD Education Foundation, our school has the opportunity to have this incredible program! WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) is a one-of-a-kind, school-based father involvement program that works to support education and safety.

Who are Watch D.O.G.S.? Fathers, grandfathers, step-fathers, uncles, and other father figures who volunteer to serve at least one day a year in a variety of school activities as assigned by the school counselor and parent involvement coordinator.

Thank you to two special people for helping with this year's Watch D.O.G.S. Program:

  • Nicole Lino - helping to coordinate this special program with me
  • Cory McDonald - volunteering to be our "Top Dog" with the program
Watch D.O.G.S. Sign Up Schedule

Please note, if you did not attend the Watch D.O.G.S. Launch Event and orientation in the fall, you will receive a short orientation with Ms. Vandenbrook prior to initiating your Watch D.O.G. schedule for the day.

Panther P.A.L.s!

Over forty-five students applied and were chosen to participate in Panther P.A.L.s this year!

Since there are so many eager students patiently awaiting "giving back to their school" through acts of service, students have been placed into groups:


1. Helping a Teacher

2. Working with a Student

Creative Team:

1. Craft Team

2. Drama Team

Please click on this website for Panther P.A.L. updates!

This special program, "Panther P.A.L.s" (Peers as Leaders) is for fourth graders as an opportunity to show leadership by volunteering their time in various areas on our campus.


I have partnered with Kids Hope USA to bring in community mentors from a local business to provide ten mentors who will meet weekly for an hour with their assigned student.

The PFE leadership team has also volunteered to donate their time to be a mentor to additional students on campus.

Mentoring helps to foster positive, supporting relationships to help students achieve personal/social and academic successes.

Guidance Lessons

All of the guidance lessons are aligned with the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) guidelines for school counselors. Many of the lessons are based on the metaphors within the WhyTry Curriculum.

During this third nine weeks all classes will be learning about Relationship Skills.

Teaching Empathy and Working as a Team

Introducing Comfort Dog Lila Belle

In May 2015 I was awarded a grant from The Humble ISD Education Foundation called "PAWS-ITIVELY POWERFUL COUNSELING". This dynamic, multi-faceted innovative grant proposal tackles key affective and academic needs on our campus. One facet of this proposal details the incredible addition of male volunteers through the “Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students)” program. The second tier of this grant proposal includes the addition of a four-legged counselor/comfort dog. This entire project will be instrumental in encouraging the emotional well-being of at-risk students, increase students’ confidence in reading, decrease stress, eliminate test anxiety, promote social interaction and create positive connections with peers and adults.

Lila Belle has been in a very comprehensive training the entire fall semester to become an AKC Certified Comfort Dog through the amazing Let's Go! Positive Reinforcement Dog Training, LLC. She will complete her training by the end of January. Lila is the second Sheltie I have rescued through the fabulous Houston Sheltie Sanctuary!

While she is on campus, Lila Belle will have a specific role to play. She will always be under the care of her handler, me, the counselor! Lila is an extremely sweet dog who shows zero aggression towards others. The students will have special opportunities to read to her and other positive interactions as supervised by the counselor.

Pine Forest Elementary is one of six schools in the Humble ISD school district who have the incredible opportunity for comfort dogs through grants funded by The Humble ISD Education Foundation.

All students will learn the following about safety with animals:

5 Things to know about me (and all pets):

1. Be gentle and calm.
Please don't make sudden moves and startle me. Please don't pet me too hard or pull on my ears or tail.

2. Understand that I am not a toy.
I'm always happy to see you, but sometimes I don't want to play.

3. There must always be an adult present when children play with me.
I feel safer for both you and I when there's an adult nearby. Don't you?

4. Help take care of my basic needs and respect my moods.
I need my owner to feed me, give me fresh water every day, give me a safe place to sleep and play, and help keep me clean.

5. Treat me with kindness and make me feel safe.
Please don't pinch me or pull on my tail or ears. Please don't do anything I wouldn't expect.

Parenting Corner

Attention Fifth Grade Parents

Creekwood's Parent Night for incoming 6th graders will be held on

Tuesday January 19th at 6:30 in the CMS gym.

Please stay tuned to updates on Ms. Vandenbrook's webpage for Middle School Transition information for AMS and CMS:

Middle School Transition

*ALSO - if your child is attending a different middle school than where s/he is zoned, you must complete a request for a transfer with the district in order for your child to attend that school. (Transfer window ends January 19th)

Please click this website for instructions on transfers:

District Transfer Office

Feeling Puzzled? Looking for ideas to help you at home?

Check out the

Counselor's Lending Library:

Parenting Resources

Referrals to See the Counselor

Would you like to request for your child to visit with Ms. Vandenbrook for some counseling?

All students have access to the counselor through whole group guidance. Individual students may self-refer to the counselor using individual counselor passes. Teachers and staff may also refer individual students to the counselor. In addition to guidance lessons, some students visit with the counselor in small group counseling sessions.

Referrals to the Counselor

Click this button to complete a confidential request for counseling.