Holston Middle Counseling Update

Ms. Ault & Ms. Jackson

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Welcome Holston Students & Families!

Welcome Holston students and families! The HMS school counselors are excited for another great school year in Hurricane Nation! We've missed our students over the summer and can't wait to see new faces. As your school counselors, we are committed to supporting the academic, career, and personal development of all students. We are involved in many aspects of student support including individual counseling, peer mediation, academic planning, career exploration, and a variety of other school activities.

This quarterly newsletter will serve as a way for parents and students to know current events and information coming through the counseling department. Each newsletter will contain upcoming lesson topics, events, and parenting resources.

Mission Statement

Holston Middle School’s counseling program strives to work collaboratively with school staff, parents, and the community to meet the specific and varied academic, personal, and social needs of each student. Our goal is to instill a desire for learning within an atmosphere that respects all cultures, values, and perspectives.

Classroom Counseling This Quarter

Classroom counseling is a series of classroom lessons presented by school counselors and designed to provide all students with the knowledge, attitudes and skills appropriate for their academic, personal/social, and college/career development.

This year, students will have 1-2 classroom counseling lessons per quarter. Each newsletter will give an overview of the topics covered in each grade level each quarter. The classroom curriculum has been sequenced through Knox County Schools utilizing the TN State Counseling Standards.

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Minute Meetings

New to Holston's counseling program this year are Minute Meetings! Each counselor will spend 1-3 minutes face-to-face with each student on their caseload during the first quarter of school. The purpose of a minute meeting is for the counselor and student to get to know one another and give the student an opportunity to address any presenting issues. We hope to give every student an opportunity with their counselor before Fall Break.

Attendance Awareness Month

September is Attendance Awareness Month! All month long we will be sending home reminders of the attendance policy and information about why good school attendance is so important. Showing up for school has a huge impact on a student’s academic success starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school.

Did you know?

  • By 6th grade, absenteeism is one of three signs that a student may drop out of high school.
  • By 9th grade, regular and high attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than 8th grade test scores.
  • Students can be chronically absent even if they only miss a day or two every few weeks.

Knox County Schools Attendance Policy

  • Students are allowed 10 unexcused absences per school year.
  • Parents are allowed to write notes to excuse absences only up to 10 times per year.
  • When students are absent, they should turn in any doctor or parent notes in the basket in the front office as soon as they return to school.
  • Any student who dismisses school before 12:00 pm or arrives at school after 12:00 pm will be counted absent for that day. Please schedule any doctor's appointments accordingly.

How You Can Help

  1. Make school attendance a priority
  2. Help your teen stay engaged
  3. Communicate with the school
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Stuck in the Middle

Most will agree that the middle school years can be the toughest for parents and students alike. Each newsletter will include an article or resource that may assist with parenting your middle school student.

“I didn’t know that by missing one or two days a month, [my son] was being chronically absent. When I went to have a meeting with the teacher, she told me he was behind. Now my son is in the eighth grade… and attendance has become something in our household that we make very important.” - Olga Nunez, mother of three.

Chronic absenteeism affects as many as 6.8 million students nationwide. That’s 14% of our total student population! Age doesn’t seem to be a determining factor— it affects our youngest students, as well as teenagers. In fact, chronic absenteeism is one of the earliest signs that students are off track academically, whether they are learning to read or gaining the knowledge they need to graduate from high school. The good news is that parents and teachers can make a huge difference in whether students get to school every day!

Tips for Parents to Help Reduce Chronic Absenteeism

  • Make attendance a priority at home. Set daily routines such as regular bedtimes for younger kids. Make sure middle and high school students understand the link between chronic absence and school success.
  • Make your child’s teacher a partner in your child’s attendance goals. Teachers may have insights into why your child might not want to attend, such as bullying or academic challenges.
  • Reach out to your child’s school for help. The teacher, principal, counselor and nurse are all available to provide support. Some schools can refer you to resources to help the whole family.

For the rest of the article, visit https://ptaourchildren.org/ten-tips-reduce-chronic-absenteeism/ and for more tips on reducing absenteeism, visit AttendanceWorks.org.

Need to speak with a counselor?

If you have questions or concerns regarding your student or any of the items listed above, we are happy to speak with you! Please call the front office at 865-594-1300 or use the email for the appropriate counselor listed above.

You may also submit an online counseling referral through the following link:

Refer Your Student