SMHS Counseling Department

WINTER 2020

WELCOME TO THE SMHS COUNSELING DEPARTMENT

Welcome to our winter 2020 school counseling newsletter! The mission of the Stowe Middle High School School Counseling Program is to provide comprehensive school counseling in grades 6-12. The program is centered around an engaging curriculum that encourages the highest level of student achievement through their growth in academic, career and personal/social domains. In partnership with teachers, administrators, parents and a caring community, the school counselors will help all students to be successful lifelong learners and problem solvers.This newsletter is for all grades 6 - 12. You may choose to read just the information relevant to your child’s grade or you might look ahead to see what’s coming up in future years. This newsletter does not replace the daily announcements so be sure to check those as well.

School Counseling Website

Be sure to check out our website - there are many available resources for you. Since they are used frequently, we’ve added them to our website versus including them in daily announcements or these newsletters. For example, did you know you can enroll in up to two college courses before you graduate from high school for free? Check it out here! Are you wanting to learn more about school refusal? Do you need help in understanding substance use? Have you ever wondered about resources available for mental health? See our student/family resource page.


6th Grade Mindfulness

Expanding upon the mindfulness integration into 6th grade wellness the school counseling team is partnering with the 6th grade teachers and local mindfulness/yoga teacher Heather Neff to integrate mindfulness skills into the classroom. The more the students are exposed to these skills early in their middle school path, the more likely they are to use. It will lead to an improvement in self-regulation skills and assist students in better managing their stress.


Here are some mindfulness and relaxation apps you can use with your youth.

-Calm App

-Stop Breathe and Think App

-Smiling Mind App

-Insight Timer (use this for meditation and they have a kids section)

8th Grade Visit to GMTCC

In mid March the whole 8th grade will go visit Green Mountain Technical & Career Center to tour the campus, visit the wide range of programs they offer and enjoy lunch from the culinary program. After this initial visit students who are interested in shadowing a specific program for a day will have the opportunity to sign up for a shadow day in the spring.


GSA Update

A collaborative team of faculty, Mairead Harris, Jenn Childress and Lauren Conti are working to establish a GSA at SMS and further the growth of the SHS GSA. Below are some updates of either past or upcoming events.


GSA Coffee & Bagels Event, Thursday 1/23 7:45-8:30am

As January is now upon us, I wanted to let you all know about an event coming up that I will be hosting along with the two other faculty members who have been working to get a GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance, or Gender & Sexuality Alliance) off the ground at SMHS. This morning event is for students & families interested in learning more about what a GSA can do to promote an inclusive learning environment for all students in middle school. A big thank you to all the students, parents and community members who attended!


GSA Movie Night, Thursday 1/23, 3:00-5:00pm

Our next GSA Movie & Pizza event will be after school on Thursday, January 23 ~ the movie we're showing is The Imitation Game! If you like history, computer science, war stories, or Benedict Cumberbatch, this one is for you. Come one, come all!


GSA "Love is Love" Coffeehouse on Valentine's Day, Friday 2/14

SHS's second student-run coffeehouse will be held on Friday, 2/14 in the cafeteria. All acts welcome; proceeds from the bake sale and student vendors will go to GLSEN, an organization that promotes inclusion of diverse sexual orientations and gender expressions & identities in education. SMS students encouraged to attend!

Girls on the Run at SMS

Last spring 4 faculty members support Girls on the Run middle level program Heart and Sole and we are excited to bring that back to SMS again this year. The focus of the program is building girls self-esteem and confidence along with creating and strengthening friendships. Look for information about registration in the coming weeks. Please email Lauren Conti at lauren.conti@lssu.org with any questions.

UMatter Work

Why “Umatter”? Everyone has a place in the Big Picture. Everyone has a contribution to make, something important to do, and a purpose waiting to be fulfilled. Sometimes people experience mental health challenges, disorders, or illnesses that are significant and require extra help. The message is: you matter because you may need help, and you matter because you may be in a position to help. Umatter training promotes natural and professional helping based on best practice, with a focus on communication, coping and help-seeking skills.


Students in Stowe High School’s prevention group, Bettering Our School Surroundings and Stowe Middle School’s prevention group, Making A Different Stowe attended a student lead training on November 14, 2019. Students attending a variety of workshops to talk about stress, anxiety, ways to help a friend, and started the process of developing a UMatter Suicide Prevention Project. This group of students will be working for the remainder of the year to bring awareness and prevention to our school. Please look for more information about their project in the near future.

Faculty UMatter Suicide Prevention Training

The SMHS School Counseling will be training faculty on suicide prevention, including information on risk factors, warning signs, and protective factors. The School Counseling team will be presenting and training faculty on March 30, 2020.


Paul Foxman

On December 17, 2019, Stowe Middle High School, School Counseling Team, hosted Dr. Paul Foxman, an expert in stress and anxiety. Dr. Foxman presentation included information about how anxiety develops in children and adolescents, practical strategies that can be applied immediately, and cognitive-behavioral, mind-body, solution-oriented and family system approaches.


Book Group: In follow up from the Paul Foxman community evening in which he explored anxiety in youth, the Stowe Middle High School School Counseling Team is hosting a book group. The book we will be reading is Dancing with Fear by Paul Foxman to continue the conversation. The book group will meet on March 10th from 8:30-9:30am at Stowe Middle High School. Please RSVP by completing our google form by March 5th. Please check out the book at your local library or purchase your own copy.


Quick read: What to Do (and Not Do) When Children are Anxious

Big picture

Getting to ‘Y’

Students in Stowe High School’s prevention group, Bettering Our School Surroundings, will be hosting an in-school retreat to analyze the 2019 YRBS data. The 2019 YRBS data for individual high schools will be available March 9, 2020. Bettering Our School Surroundings will then host a retreat to analyze the data to determine areas of concern and areas that are assets to our school.


Big picture

VKAT and OVX

Our Voices Xposed (OVX) is a youth-created brand focused on high school youth established in 2001 with a $1.5 million-dollar grant from the American Legacy Foundation to the Vermont Department of Health’s Tobacco Control and Prevention Program.Vermont Kids Against Tobacco (VKAT) began in 1995 with support from the Health Department. Since 2016, VKAT has been supported by the Health Department’s Tobacco Control Program and the Vermont Agency of Education.


Students in Stowe High School’s prevention group, Bettering Our School Surroundings, are working in conjunction with VKAT and OVX to bring awareness of tobacco use in our school. Students are currently creating public service announcements, posters, and are participating in a new logo competition for VKAT and OVX.


Growing Community Partnerships



The Clarina Howard Nichols Center (“Clarina”) works to end domestic, sexual, and stalking violence in Lamoille County. Part of that work entails outreach and education, including within schools. Ally Scanlon, Clarina’s Family & Youth Advocate, will be partnering with the SMHS School Counseling Team to create educational opportunities for students. The focus of the sessions will primarily be safe use of technology (such as social media, apps, and the internet). Ally Scanlon will also be a guest for the freshman seminar class and the middle level 6th and 8th grade wellness class.


Green Mountain Technical Career Center (GMTCC)

On December 19, 2019, 10th grade students had the opportunity to visit the Green Mountain Technical Career Center (GMTCC) to explore the various programs GMTCC offers. Students going into 10th, 11th, and 12th grade have the opportunity to attend GMTCC if they are interested in a program. If you are interested in learning more or scheduling a tour, please visit GMTCC and schedule an appointment with Abbey or Patti.


Junior Meetings

Thank you for attending our junior meeting in November. It was great to see students and families. We’re excited to start meeting with juniors for post-secondary planning. As we discussed in the meeting, we’d like you to sign up for an appointment now. We are dividing our larger group of 11th grade students into two smaller groups. Students with last names A - Land will see Abbey Allen and students with last names Lang - Z will see Patti Tomashot.

VSAC Presentation: Paying for College

Attend a free Financial Aid & Managing College Costs presentation. At this presentation, we will provide an overview of how families pay for college costs and the different types of financial aid. We will also share with you several resources and websites that can help you get ready to file financial aid forms.


When: March 24, 2020

Location: Stowe Middle High School Auditorium

Time: 5:00pm-6:15pm

Mid-Year Grade Reports

If you have applied to colleges they may have asked you about your mid-year grade report, which is an updated transcript with your semester 1 grades on it. If you already requested initial transcripts for your colleges your school counselor will automatically send your mid-year grade report when it is ready. You do not need to request it again.

Scholarships

Searching for scholarships is a continuous effort from now through your last year in college. There are many places for scholarships in Naviance and also a few more places:

The list on Naviance includes many local scholarships, some of which get only a few applications which increases your odds of success. If you need a transcript for a scholarship please contact Judy O’Neil, registar. Be aware of scholarship scams. If a scholarship sounds too good to be true it probably is!


VSAC Scholarship Application Due Soon!

  • Reminder: If you are applying for VSAC scholarships, your deadline is February 12, 2020.

  • Please pay close attention to instructions for formatting documents for these scholarships. You can find Instructions on page 1-3 of the VSAC 2020-2021 Scholarship Booklet.

Senior Slump - What is it?

January is upon us along with your final semester of high school. In a few short months the sun will shine and the warm weather will tempt you away from your studies along with the glory of high school coming to an end. Colleges know about this and will look at your final grades closely. Some colleges may even rescind their acceptance if they see your grades have deteriorated. Colleges also take note of schedules that have been reduced. Before you decide to drop semester 2 classes, think about how that will impact your college admissions decisions.


Governor’s Institute Winter Weekends (also posted in Daily Announcements)

Winter Weekends are two-day intensive learning experiences for Vermont 9th-12th graders. You’ll live on Goddard College campus all weekend and explore a topic you’re interested in in-depth with professional mentors and new friends who love the same things you do. Winter Weekends are jam-packed with fun, learning, and community-building and are a smart way to get a taste of what GIV summer Institutes are like. For information on tuition, please visit their Winter Tuition page.

College Transitions Blog

We love reading the updates from College Transitions. If you haven’t heard about this group, feel free to browse their current article about extracurricular activities. They also have a tool called Dataverse that features a comprehensive array of tables, lists, and data designed to help students, parents and counselors more effectively navigate the college admission and financial aid process. We’ll feature other topics from this source in future newsletters.


PSAT and Khan Academy

If you haven’t done so already, 10th and 11th grade students can link their PSAT results to Khan Academy for developing a personalized learning plan for SAT preparation.


ACT Academy

ACT also offers a personalized learning plan for ACT preparation.


Naviance

Naviance is a great tool for students who are planning on going to college and those still exploring their options. This comprehensive program includes career interest and personality profiles as well as extensive career information. Students can also access college search engines, links to helpful websites including the Common Application, College Board (SAT), and ACT. In addition, our counseling office has set up individual grade level folders loaded with helpful documents and forms. For example, we have a comprehensive post-secondary planning guide as well as a four year plan worksheet, which we review with students. All have access to each folder so feel free to browse any and all folders! Parents also have their own accounts in Naviance. Please contact the counseling office if you need help accessing this tool.


Co-Curricular Activities

High school is so much more than the classroom. We strongly encourage students to choose meaningful after school activities to enrich their high school experience. Whether it’s clubs, volunteering or athletics, students can form meaningful relationships and learn about teamwork, responsibility and time management. Please see a counselor if you need help finding an activity you might enjoy.


College Courses

All Vermont high school students have the opportunity to take two FREE college courses. Students should stop by the counseling center for additional information.


Dr. Paul Foxman Book Group

Tuesday, March 10th, 8-9am

Stowe Middle High School

In follow up from the Paul Foxman community evening in which he explored anxiety in youth, the Stowe Middle High School School Counseling Team is hosting a book group. The book we will be reading is Dancing with Fear by Paul Foxman.

Please RSVP by completing our google form by March 5th.

Please check out the book at your local library or purchase your own copy.

VSAC: Paying for College

Tuesday, March 24th, 5-6:15pm

Stowe Middle High School

Attend a free Financial Aid & Managing College Costs presentation. At this presentation, we will provide an overview of how families pay for college costs and the different types of financial aid. We will also share with you several resources and websites that can help you get ready to file financial aid forms.

Advisory Council Meeting

Wednesday, March 25th, 8-9am

Stowe Middle High School