Ms. Rush's Last 2016-17 Newsletter

Let us make our dreams tomorrow's reality. ~Malala Yousafzai

A Fond Adieu!

Dear 8th Grade Parents: I am on the verge of completing my 10th year as a school counselor at Daniels. Prior to that, I was a high school English teacher and thought there was nothing better than introducing students to the literary gifts of Zora Neale Hurston and Walt Whitman, or helping students see that they could finely hone their own writing skills through commitment and practice. Being a middle school counselor tops even all of that. There is definitely something special about the middle school years. A middle schooler will always find ways to surprise you (and just when you thought you knew them!). But thanks to current research, we know now that the adolescent brain is a very special brain, indeed. I have enjoyed this group of students immensely. I am excited for them to go to high school (they are ready!), but I am also sad to see them leave after working with all of them so closely for three years. I thank you for your partnership, and will hold your children closely in my heart as they embark upon their high school years!

Important Work for These Last 9 Weeks

High School Course Selection

High school registration went well. Please make sure that you have carefully reviewed your student's course selections. This was a very busy time and I hope I addressed all questions or concerns that were expressed via phone, email, or Remind. If you still have questions, please don't hesitate to contact me. The registration portal has closed for our students, but I can always send your questions/concerns to the appropriate person at your student's high school.

Kids playing the "Choices and High School" Game at lunch

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Daniels Teachers Say...

In January, I surveyed the 8th Grade Elective and Team Teachers to find out - in their professional opinions - areas of continued need for our 8th Graders. Below is a listing of their observations, and I have placed the most significant areas of need in bold font. We continue to work with students in these areas, and parents will need to continue to offer support at home.

Adequate study skills (52%)

Adequate organizational skills (68.4%)

An ability to identify appropriate high school classes to meet educational needs/goals (26.3%)

An ability to identify educational goals (47.4%)

An ability to identify skills required for career (47.4%)

An ability to identify the recreational and leisure activities that interest them (10.5%)

An ability to identify and utilize coping skills that help them when things are difficult (52.6%)

Participation in at least one leisure or recreational activity that interests them (31.6%)

An ability to set and monitor goals (52.6%)

An ability to self-advocate with teachers when they have questions or concerns (47.4%)

An ability to verbalize needs and concerns appropriately in social interactions with peers/friends (73.7%)

An ability to take responsibility for own actions (78.9%)

An ability to adequately manage their time (63.2%)

Ms. Rush's School Counseling Topics This Quarter

Career Interest Inventory/"Choices and High School" Game/

All 8th Grade students will complete a career interest inventory, play a game about "Choices and High School", and write a goal/letter to their future 9th grade selves. Some of the students have played the "Choices" game already at lunch. Ask your students about this lesson/activity!

Study Skills

Student Services will present a series on study tips/strategies. The strategies will be aired during the Morning News, announced by teachers in homeroom, and posted on the classroom TVs each Friday as a reminder for the students. Some of the tips will come from the book, Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning. If you'd like to find out more about the book, you can read the reviews on

Human Trafficking (mandated by WCPSS)

This lesson will be presented during Smart Lunch. A letter will be sent home to 8th Grade parents in advance of the lesson.

Picture of kids playing the "Choices" Game with Silver Surfers Teachers

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Last Tips for High School! (A "to-do" list for the students and talking points for parents.)

1. Get a current physical, if you want to play sports, and submit that documentation to the school in a timely manner.

2. Review all clubs/extracurricular activities listed on the school website. Make a list of a few that interest you.

3. Make a list of important dates/deadlines - 9th Grade camp/orientation, workout dates for sports, application deadlines for certain clubs, etc.

4. Anticipate areas of difficulty for you. Create a plan now to overcome those challenges.

5. Schedule a session with your school counselor each year. Review your grades and course selections with him/her to ensure that your efforts are meeting your long term goals!

6. Remember the power of reputation. Make good choices!

7. Take responsibility for your own learning. Be your own advocate.

8. Enjoy high school. Have fun!!