The GMS Counseling Connection

1st Quarter Review

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Welcome Hornet Nation!

The Gunston counseling team is excited to present our first edition of "The GMS Counseling Connection"---a new quarterly newsletter that highlights all the latest news and events happening in the GMS Counseling community. We hope you enjoy this 1st Quarter Review! Read on to learn more about how your GMS counselors have spent the beginning of this very busy school year.........

Our First Few Weeks...

We have had an exciting and busy first 9-weeks of school! The counselors began the year by working on schedules, schedules (and more schedules!) for approximately 945 students! Since then we have facilitated dozens of 504's and parent meetings, all while helping students (& their families) transition to a new year of middle school. A busy start to say the least--but we are energized by the students & teachers we work with everyday and are looking forward to the many new, exciting initiatives and activities to come!


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After schedules were settled & kids began to adjust, we dove head first into counseling lessons. First up was Bullying/Harassment Prevention. These lessons given through all grade level PE classes, addressed and defined the different types of bullying and harassment behaviors and provided students with strategies to help combat and cope with these issues. We also held a Bully Prevention Awareness Week to highlight the importance of having a bully-free school climate. Each day was intended to bring awareness to the entire school community about this important issue that affects students. Short lessons about how to be an "upstander" and how to be bully-free online were also highlighted through all TA classes.

All students have seen a copy of, and signed, the GMS Anti-Bullying Pledge. A copy of this pledge can be found HERE. We want all of our students to revisit this pledge throughout the year so they understand the importance of keeping Gunston BULLY-FREE and SAFE!

What We Are Up To Now....

We can't believe that it's already the 2nd Quarter of the school year with Thanksgiving and the Winter Holiday right around the corner! Yet another very busy time--but we are ready for what this time of year brings! We are working steadily in counseling on several different events and initiatives---here is a quick preview on things we are currently working on......

Ramping Up!

This year, we are planning and preparing to apply for R.A.M.P. recognition through the American School Counseling Association (ASCA). We are sure you a wondering what that exactly means!

RAMP stands for Recognized ASCA Model Program. Earning this recognition means that our counseling program is committed to delivering initiatives that are comprehensive and data-driven. It gives us the opportunity to truly evaluate our counseling program for areas of success and areas for improvement based on student success and achievement. It also gives us the confidence and assurance that our program is aligned with the nationally accepted and recognized model through ASCA.

If you would like to learn more about the RAMP meaning and process, feel free to visit the ASCA website at for more information.


You might call it a silent epidemic. Up to one in five kids living in the U.S. shows signs or symptoms of a mental health disorder in a given year. So in a classroom of 25 students, five of them may be struggling with the same issues many adults deal with--depression, anxiety, substance abuse...experts say schools could play a role in identifying students with problems and helping them succeed (NPR, August 2016).

The emotional & social well-being of our students is so important during these middle school years (and beyond). The Counseling Department will be making adolescent mental health awareness our focus for the month of December. Stay tuned for more information on the different topics we will be addressing along with some helpful resources and coping strategies to help make our students healthier and happier tweens!


Mark Your Calendars!

*Middle School Information Session: Nov 14th @ 9:30am

*Rising 6th Grade Spanish Immersion Visit (Key ES): Dec 5th

*Rising 6th Grade Spanish Immersion Visit (Claremont ES): Dec 6th

*Rising 6th Grade Orientation Session (In Spanish): Jan 17th @ 7pm

*Rising 6th Grade Orientation Session (In English): Jan 18th @ 7pm

About Us

Briana Milton-Director of Counseling Services

Marlene Cordero--8th grade Counselor

Barry Leopold--7th Grade Counselor

Sharon Kolody--6th Grade Counselor

Sam King--Program Coordination/6th Gr Montessori

Ana Rodriguez--HILT counselor Gr 6-8

Cynthia Sturdivant--Registrar