School Counseling Newsletter

West Hempstead School District #RAMFAM- spring edition

Warm Greetings!

Greetings! As spring is upon us it is full of new growth and a continuation of us staying strong, and moving forward to complete this school year. Plans are well underway to help students prepare for the next year and beyond. Please enjoy this edition of our newsletter as we feature information about course scheduling, college and career resources, and information for our entire school community. Enjoy the final stretch of the school year, summer is just around the corner!

Teacher Appreciation Week

Teacher Appreciation Week was celebrated during the week of April 3rd- April 7th. Thank you to all of the educators who stayed strong especially during this challenging school year. Your determination to not give up on your students shows how dedicated your are to your to them!

Why Reading is Important?

Reading is important for children because it helps improve their vocabulary, communication, and grammar skills; it ultimately improves their writing skills as well. It is important to start at a young age and teach your child the value of reading so they will grow to practice it often and value their ability to do so.

Reading allows us to be transported from our own world to another. Between the pages of a book, we can become immersed in the lives of fictional characters and learn about a culture entirely different from our own. We can also learn new words and phrases, experience a range of emotions, and acquire skills and knowledge.

The importance of reading for children cannot be underestimated. Reading for pleasure can benefit a child’s education, social and cognitive development, their wellbeing, and their mental health.

Numerous pieces of research conducted have discovered the profound benefits of reading for a child’s development. One study details the effects of reading on later literacy skills, facilitating social interaction between adults and children, and encouraging children to engage with the world around them. It also states how reading can be a ‘stable source of information’ throughout a child’s life. This stability allows them to access text in a constant fashion and can be especially beneficial for children growing up in challenging circumstances.

There are multiple other benefits that reading can have on a child’s development, including:

Assisted cognitive development. Cognitive development refers to how we perceive and think about our world in reference to our intelligence, reasoning, language development, and information processing. By reading to children, you provide them with a deep understanding about their world and fill their brains with background knowledge. They then use this acquired background knowledge to make sense of what they see, hear, and read, which aids their cognitive development.

Developing empathy. When we read a book, we put ourselves in the story in front of us. This allows us to develop empathy as we experience the lives of other characters and can identify with how they are feeling. Children can then use this understanding to empathise in the real world with other people. Additionally, children will gain a greater understanding of emotions, which can help them understand their own emotions and those of others. This helps dramatically with their social development.

Gaining deeper understanding. A book can take us anywhere: to another city, to a different country, or even to an alternative world. By reading a book, a child learns about people, places, and events that they couldn’t learn otherwise. This gives children a deeper understanding of the world around them and cultures that are different from their own.

Building stronger relationships. If a parent reads with a child on a regular basis, then they will undoubtedly develop a stronger relationship with them. Reading provides parents with an opportunity to have a regular and shared event that both parent and child can look forward to. Furthermore, it provides children with feelings of attention, love, and reassurance which is key for nurturing and wellbeing.

How to Become a Digital Citizen

1. Treat others online as you would like to be treated.

2. Never share personal information with anyone, even if it’s with a friend.

3. Don’t say something online that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face.

4. Stranger Danger! Be careful who you speak to online- if they say they’re your friend, text your friend to confirm or ask them a question only that friend would know the answer to.

5. Nothing is ever private online. “Delete” doesn't mean “erase.” Homework that's shoved in the bottom of a backpack isn't visible, but it's not gone. Similarly, things that you delete from your timeline or profile aren't fully removed from the internet.

6. Tone can be misread online. Tone is easily lost online and over text, causing misunderstanding. Using Emojis can clarify meaning. Recently, fourth graders were asked to say “Hello” in different ways. There are very different meanings depending on the way it’s said, which can easily get lost in text.

7. Tell a trusted adult if you notice any inappropriate or mean behaviors online. When mean behaviors or cyber-bullying arise, apply the STOP technique:

Step away

Tell a trusted adult

Okay sites firsts

Pause and think on-line


We the Digital Citizens video:

https://youtu.be/Z-Fb4evePQA


What does it mean to be a Digital Citizen video:

https://www.commonsense.org/education/videos/what-does-it-mean-to-be-a-digital-citizen


Family Tips: Help Kids Fight Cyberbullying and Other Mean Online Behavior

https://www.commonsense.org/education/sites/default/files/grades_k12_family_tips-cyberbullying_digital_drama_hate_speech-english.pdf

Technology Free Activities to Try in the Spring!

Sometimes we need a break from all of the technology. Below is a list of some ideas to try with your children that do not involve Google meets, social media, video games, etc. Click on the links under the activities for some recommendations on Long Island.



  1. Take a drive- https://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=scenic+&find_loc=Long+Island%2C+NY
  2. Take a walk or run- https://northforker.com/2020/03/7-great-walks-ev ery-long-islander-take/
  3. Take a hike through a state or national park ○ https://trip101.com/article/hiking-in-long-island
  4. Go to a museum ○ https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g150134 3-Activities-c49-Long_Island_New_York.html
  5. Make cookies, cakes or candy with your kids ○ https://www.pillsbury.com/everyday-eats/dessert s/easy-desserts-to-make-with-kids ○ https://www.parenting.com/food-recipes/gluten-fr ee-desserts/
  6. Get ice cream ○ https://northforker.com/2020/08/the-best-ice-cre am-shops-on-long-island/
  7. Go to the zoo ○ https://mommypoppins.com/likids/animal-farmsand-petting-zoos-on-long-island
  8. Cook dinner with your kids ○ https://www.thekitchn.com/dinner-recipes-kids-c an-help-with-254233
  9. See the Fire Island Lighthouse ○ https://www.fireislandlighthouse.com/
  10. Do an art project ○ https://leftbraincraftbrain.com/40-best-art-project s-for-kids

The Benefits of Journaling

Journaling may seem like a trendy wellness practice, but it actually has several benefits that have been studied and tested. Studies have also found that writing in a journal can lead to better sleep, a stronger immune system, more self-confidence, and a higher I.Q. Here are a few benefits to journaling:

· Goal Setting: Writing our goals down automatically tells our brain that it's important. When we put pen to paper our brain automatically starts looking for opportunities that allow for goal achievement.

· Stress Management Tool: When feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list of homework, extra-curricular activities, and assignments, journaling in bullet points can be helpful in terms of prioritization. This is an especially great hack when you're lying awake late into the night with a million things on your mind. Write it down. That brain dump helps promote relaxation and reduce stress.

· Mood Booster: Utilizing a journal to write down things we are grateful for and making space for positive self-talk lays the foundation for self-love and abundance. It’s so easy to focus on what we don’t have and our deficits, but if we can write down one to two things we are grateful for each day, it can reshift our entire perspective, and mood!

· Promotes Creativity: Stream of consciousness writing brings out thoughts and ideas and loosens up expressive muscles. We all have the ability to be creative and imaginative. Writing our thoughts down helps us access those expressive ideas.

Free Money for College $$$

Attention seniors!

As you start to hear back from colleges, you are faced with the decision of where to attend next fall. There are many factors to consider and, among them, is the important factor of finances. Scholarships are free aid that do not have to be repaid. There are many resources to help you in your search. Remember, you should never pay an application fee for a scholarship! Below is a few:

Monthly Scholarship bulletin: a monthly scholarship bulletin is posted on the school counseling website. http://www.whufsd.com/schools/hs_guidance_scholarships

Naviance Student : Click on “Colleges”, “Scholarships and Money”, “Scholarship List” to find college-specific and local and regional scholarships.

Fast Web: Complete a profile and get access to a database of more than 1.5 million scholarships.

Collegeboard: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/scholarship-search

College Scholarships: A website created by parents who went through the college financial aid process and wanted to improve ease of access to scholarships. An additional tip - log onto an individual college website, click on the Financial Aid and Scholarship link, and see what scholarships are available through the institution.


**If you have any questions make an appointment with your counselor. We are here to help!

Ways to Support Our Students During Covid

It’s been an overwhelming a year for all of us. Parents and guardians have done a tremendous job tackling various challenges we’ve experienced during COVID. You continue to persevere and remain optimistic as we trend towards returning to a life without restrictions and limitations. Here are some helpful tips in continuing to support your child during various learning models:

1. Validate their feelings. Children want to be heard, so let's continue to give them a chance to use their voice and express their feelings. Some ways to ask open-ended questions are:

1. What did you learn today?

2. What is something interesting you heard about?

3. What was the toughest part of your day?

4. What are you most looking forward to tomorrow?

2. Your child needs reassurance more than ever.

Every moment is a teachable one and continuing to encourage your child to overcome obstacles allows us to remain connected.

3. Continue to take an interest in their academic lives. Schools’ biggest allies are our parents and guardians. Carving out time to check in on your child’s academic progress, speaking with the teachers and counselors, exploring a Google Classroom to gain more insight on how things work, are all productive ways to demonstrate interest in your child.

4. Develop a structured routine. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges we face is figuring out how to best spend our time. Your child is used to after-school activities, school-wide events, and social gatherings to look forward to. Creating a routine, whether for an in-person or remote learner, encourages kids to be in control and hold purpose to their day. Ideas include:

a. Setting an alarm when a ‘normal’ school day begins and reminding children of the importance of an alarm.

b. Reviewing the daily schedule over breakfast. Talking about the importance of upholding their academic responsibilities.

c. Scheduling short breaks to allow your child to detach or “veg out.” Consistency is key with the start and stop times for success.

d. Suggesting an activity or hobby to explore. How can your child market themselves and put themselves in the best position to succeed?

5. Being a strong role model or positive influence. Children look up to parents and guardians. Having them observe positive qualities and habits will lead to similar results.

Push In Lessons

The mental and school counselors have been continually pushing into classrooms to address various topics from grades K-12. Some of the topics that have been covered are:


  • Social-Emotional Learning: Making Positive choices, bullying
  • Career exploration- grades k-8
  • Naviance- students' learning styles for grade 7 and Strength Exploration- 8th grader
  • The College Process- individual Junior conferences
  • Transition to high school- High School 101- high school students pushed into 8th grade classroom to discuss the expectations of high school.
  • Why is it important to have a positive digital footprint- grade 7
  • Coping strategies- how to deal with stress
  • Habits of Mind- what are the habits of mind and how to use them both in and out of school

Scheduling

The school counselors in both the middle school and high school have completed individual student meetings with students to review course options for the upcoming school year. Please note, schedules will not be available for students until the end of the summer.

The Final Stretch- End Strong!

As we approach the final stretch of this school year- end strong! Here are some tips to help students achieve this:


  • Students should review their class notes on a daily basis to review what they learning in class.
  • Students should ask questions in class for clarification of topics they don't understand
  • Students should attend Extra Help/Office hours on a regular basis that their teachers have every week:


Middle School Extra Help: http://www.whufsd.com/Assets/MS_Links/020821_extra_help_2021-2-5.pdf?t=637483967376500000

High School Extra Help: http://www.whufsd.com/Assets/WHHS_Links/100720_Office_Hours_2020-2021.pdf?t=637376836276570000




  • Students should check their PowerSchool account weekly to review their grades and any missing assignments.
  • Students should complete their homework, and hand in all projects and assignments in on time.
  • Start projects and assignments early- do a little bit each day. Students shouldn't wait until the last minutes to complete their school work.
  • Remember- the school counselors and the mental health support staff are always here to help students navigate through challenges both in and out of the classroom.

Final Thoughts

As we come to the end of this school year, remember how far we have all become this past year. We have become stronger in many ways and overcame many obstacles. Please take a moment and pat yourself on the back. As we move forward there will be challenges along the way, but remember we can get through it together as a RAMFAM!


"Believe in YOURSELF and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is GREATER than any obstacle". Christian Larson


Please contact Mrs. Angela Sigmon (School Counselor-newsletter editor), if there are topics or resources you would like to see in the next newsletter.

Mrs. Angela Sigmon-School Counselor

West Hempstead Middle School/High School grades 7-9

(516) 390-3230

asigmon@whufsd.com