Gateway School Counseling

February 2022 Family Newsletter


Hello from your Gateway School Counselors, Kelsey Buglewicz-Miller and Alison McGovern! We are so excited that you are checking out our monthly newsletter. This is a space for us to share fun activities for you to do with your family, updates to our program, resources you may be interested in, and other information related to school counseling. If you have any questions about the items posted, please feel free to reach out to a Gateway School Counselor via email.

About Us

National School Counseling Week

"National School Counseling Week 2022 (#NSCW22) is Feb. 7-11, 2022, to focus public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors within U.S. school systems. National School Counseling Week, sponsored by ASCA, highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career. National School Counseling Week is always celebrated the first full week in February. The 2022 theme is School Counseling: Better Together." - American School Counselor Association

During this week, students, staff, and families can learn more about the Gateway School Counselors, Ali & Kelsey, as well as what a school counselor does, and what the Gateway School Counseling team has done so far this year by checking out the new display outside of the counseling offices.

If you would like to learn more about school counseling, you can check out the ASCA website at

Everything You Need to Know About Middle School Registration

Middle School Selection

For our students transitioning to Middle School next year, the preparation process has begun! School selection forms were due back to the school by Jan. 28th and they have been turned into the placement office for review.

During the week of March 7th, letters will be mailed from Student Placement to your house stating the school that your child is enrolled in for the 2022-2023 school year.

If you have any questions about middle school or school selection, please let us know! Our contact information is located at the bottom of this newsletter.

This Month at Gateway

Finishing Up Goal Setting Lessons

This month, students in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade will finish up their goal setting unit. These students have been setting classroom goals and individual goals. They have been learning about the benefits of making a goal specific, challenging, and doable. These students have also practiced writing plans for accomplishing their goals, checking their progress, and reflecting on their process.

Starting Safe Body and Drug Prevention Lessons

This unit will focus on teaching students about keeping their bodies safe. We will focus on making healthy choices, not shaming drug use or addiction. This unit flows perfectly from goal setting because, especially with our older students, we can use this time to identify choices that can be roadblocks to them achieving the goals we recently discussed. If you have any questions about the content of this unit, please feel free to reach out to Kelsey or Ali using the contact information below.

February Celebrations

International Month for Building Self-Esteem

February is International Boost Self-Esteem Month, an annual event dedicated to improving self-esteem among people across the globe.

Self-esteem is how you view yourself in terms of worth and capability. When it’s high, you’re confident and positive. When it’s low, you can become self critical and feel down about yourself. Self-esteem goes beyond the mere psychological, too: your actions, your relationships, and even your health can be related to your self-esteem.

Why Self-Esteem Matters

Children who feel good about themselves have the confidence to try new things. They are more likely to try their best. They feel proud of what they can do. Self-esteem helps children cope with mistakes. It helps kids try again, even if they fail at first. As a result, self-esteem helps children do better at school, at home, and with friends.

Children with low self-esteem feel unsure of themselves. If they think others won't accept them, they may not join in. They may let others treat them poorly. They may have a hard time standing up for themselves. They may give up easily, or not try at all. Children with low self-esteem find it hard to cope when they make a mistake, lose, or fail. As a result, they may not do as well as they could.

See below for practices and strategies to help boost your child's self-esteem this month. This is also a great opportunity to boost your self-esteem as well!

Building Self-Esteem in Yourself

    Improving Your Self-Esteem:

    There are a number of ways in which you can improve your self-esteem.

    1. Identify and Challenge Your Negative Beliefs

    The first step is to identify, and then challenge, your negative beliefs about yourself.

    Notice your thoughts about yourself. For example, you might find yourself thinking ‘I’m not clever enough to do that’ or ‘I have no friends’. When you do, look for evidence that contradicts those statements. Write down both statement and evidence, and keep looking back at it to remind yourself that your negative beliefs about yourself are not true.

    2. Identify the Positive About Yourself

    It is also a good idea to write down positive things about yourself, such as being good at a sport, or nice things that people have said about you. When you start to feel low, look back at these things, and remind yourself that there is plenty of good about you.

    In general, positive internal dialogue is a big part of improving your self-esteem.

    If you catch yourself saying things like ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘I’m a failure’, you can start to turn things around by saying ‘I can beat this’ and ‘I can become more confident by viewing myself in a more positive way’.

    3. Build Positive Relationships—and Avoid Negative Ones

    You will probably find that there are certain people—and certain relationships—that make you feel better than others.

    If there are people who make you feel bad about yourself, try to avoid them.

    Build relationships with people who make you feel good about yourself and avoid the relationships that drag you down.

    4. Give Yourself a Break

    You don’t have to be perfect every hour of every day. You don’t even have to feel good about yourself all the time. Self-esteem varies from situation to situation, from day to day and hour to hour. Some people feel relaxed and positive with friends and colleagues, but uneasy and shy with strangers. Others may feel totally in command of themselves at work but struggle socially (or vice versa).
    Give yourself a break. We all have times when we feel a bit down or find it harder to maintain our self-belief. The key is not to be too hard on yourself. Be kind to yourself, and not too critical. Avoid criticizing yourself to others, because this can reinforce your negative views—and also give other people a (possibly false) negative opinion of you.

    You can help to boost your self-esteem by giving yourself a treat whenever you succeed in doing something hard, or just for managing a particularly bad day.

    5. Become More Assertive and Learn to Say No

    People with low self-esteem often find it hard to stand up for themselves or say no to others. This means that they may become over-burdened at home or at work, because they do not like to refuse anyone anything. However, this can increase stress, and make it even harder to manage. Learn to manage the things you have to do with the things you can say "no" to when needed. Practice saying "no" more often and reflecting on how that experience felt.

    The Importance of Small Steps

    It is very unlikely that you will go from poor to good self-esteem overnight. Instead, you will probably find you make small improvements over a period of time. The key is to look over the long term, rather than day-to-day, and focus on the big picture, not the detail of how you felt at a particular moment yesterday. When you feel good, or you do something good, celebrate it—but don’t beat yourself up if you occasionally slip back into negative patterns of thinking. Just pick yourself up again and try to think more positively. Eventually, this will become a habit and you will find that your self-esteem has quietly got better.

Helping Your Child Build Self-Esteem

How Caregivers Can Help Build Self-Esteem:

Every child is different. Self-esteem may come easier to some children than others. And some children face things that can lower their self-esteem. But even if a child's self-esteem is low, it can be raised.

Here are things caregivers can do to help children feel good about themselves:

Help your child learn to do things. At every age, there are new things for kids to learn. As your child grows, things like learning to dress, read, or ride a bike are chances for self-esteem to grow. Find new things to introduce your child to.

When teaching kids how to do things, show and help them at first. Then let them do what they can, even if they make mistakes. Be sure your child gets a chance to learn, try, and feel proud. Don't make new challenges too easy — or too hard.

Praise your child, but do it wisely. Of course, it's good to praise kids. Your praise is a way to show that you're proud.

Here's how to praise your child:

  • Don't overpraise. Praise that doesn't feel earned doesn't ring true. It's helpful to say, "I know that wasn't your best game, but we all have off days. I'm proud of you for not giving up." Add a vote of confidence: "Tomorrow, you'll be back on your game."

  • Praise effort. Avoid focusing praise only on results (such as getting an A) or fixed qualities (such as being smart or athletic).

    -Instead, offer most of your praise for effort, progress, and attitude. For example: "You're working hard on that project," "You're getting better and better at these spelling tests," or, "I'm proud of you for practicing piano — you've really stuck with it." With this kind of praise, children put effort into things, work toward goals, and try. When children do that, they're more likely to succeed.

Be a good role model. When you put effort into everyday tasks (like raking the leaves, making a meal, cleaning up the dishes, or washing the car), you're setting a good example. Your child learns to put effort into doing homework, cleaning up toys, or making the bed.

Modeling the right attitude counts too. When you do tasks cheerfully (or at least without grumbling or complaining), you teach your child to do the same. When you avoid rushing through chores and take pride in a job well done, you teach your child to do that too.

Avoid harsh criticism. The messages children hear about themselves from others easily translate into how they feel about themselves. Harsh words ("You're so lazy!") are harmful, not motivating. When children hear negative messages about themselves, it harms their self-esteem. Correct children with patience. Focus on what you want them to do next time. When needed, show them how.

Focus on strengths. Pay attention to what your child does well and enjoys. Make sure your child has chances to develop these strengths. Focus more on strengths than weaknesses if you want to help kids feel good about themselves. This improves behavior too.

Let kids help and give. Self-esteem grows when children get to see that what they do matters to others. Children can help out at home, do a service project at school, or do a favor for a sibling. Helping and kind acts build self-esteem and other good feelings.

Random Acts of Kindness Week

Random Acts of Kindness Day® is Thursday February 17, 2022.

Random Acts of Kindness Week is February 13-19, 2022.

The work to create a kinder world never ends. There is no limit on the amount of goodness we can put into the world, but we need your help! We invite you to join the annual Random Acts of Kindness Day (RAK DAY) celebration on Thursday, February 17, 2022 and help #MakeKindnesstheNorm

If you would like to participate in the Random Acts of Kindness Week or Day with your child, here are some random acts of kindness you can choose from:

1. Go through old clothes and toys and donate to those in need.

2. Write a thank you card to someone in your life.
3. Go outside and pick up trash around your neighborhood.

4. Help clean up around the house without being asked.

5. Compliment someone in your life.

6. Volunteer in the community.

7. Smile at everyone you see.

8. Offer to help a neighbor with something they need.

9. Say 'hello' to someone new.

10. Spread joy by looking up jokes and sharing them with loved ones.

For more information, please visit:

Black History Month

Celebrating Black History Month at Home

This month is a great opportunity to celebrate the black and African American communities with your student(s). Here are a few ideas on how you can educate and celebrate at home!

1. Read a book together: There are tons of great books about historical black figures, black culture, and racial injustice. A few to explore are "Separate is Never Equal", "Ghost Boys", "My Daddy, Martin Luther King Jr.", "Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Boy", "Don't Touch My Hair", "Mixed Me", and "Skin Again".

2. Watch a movie or video: Some movies and videos that educate about and celebrate black lives are "Hair Love", "The Princess & The Frog", "Hidden Figures", "Fruitvale Station" (for adolescents +).

3. Cook some African or American Southern food: One great way to explore different cultures is through food. Find a local restaurant that serves either of these foods or find some recipes to try on your own. Some black owned restaurants here in Omaha are Okra African Grill, Smokin Jay's BBQ, A Taste of New Orleans, and Caribbean Delights. There are many more so go explore!

Winter Clothing Support

Winter is here which means cold weather is on the way! If your family needs support with winter clothing and gear, such as coats, gloves, scarves, hats, or socks, please let us know and we can help!

Panera Bread Program Update

This year, Gateway started a new partnership with a local Panera Bread location by receiving weekly donations from them containing freshly baked breads, bagels, and other baked goods.

These donations were available on Wednesdays during dismissal on a table near the main 'Exit' doors of the building.

This semester, we will be distributing donations differently and will no longer have a table outside on Wednesday afternoons. Instead, each classroom will receive Panera coupons that teachers can give out to students either based on need or achievement. Donation amounts may vary each week. Some weeks only one student per class will get to pick from the table. This will give more students an opportunity to take home Panera for themselves and their family members.

If you are in need of food assistance throughout the school year, please call Gateway and ask to speak with a school counselor.

General Resources

Contact Us

Ms. Ali McGovern

If you have a question about a resource, please feel free to reach out via email or by calling our offices. If you would like to refer your student for a meeting, please utilize our QR code!

Mrs. Kelsey Buglewicz-Miller

If you have a question about a resource, please feel free to reach out via email or by calling our offices. If you would like to refer your student for a meeting, please utilize our QR code!

Student Referral Form

Please utilize this QR code or the link attached if you would like your student to meet with a School Counselor!