The Pulse - Feburary, 2016

National School Counseling Week!

Thank You to Our Hard Working and Dedicated Counselors!

As we celebrate National School Counseling Week (February 1-5), I want each of you to know how much your expertise and commitment to our students, parents, and schools, are appreciated. Your work is essential for student success in school, college, career, and in life. Thank you for encouraging the heart and modeling the way. I have included the excerpt from last week’s Friday Notes to district and school leaders below. Dr. Bearden and I sent each of you a Certificate of Appreciation that you should have received yesterday.

Have a wonderful week, and please know how much you are valued and appreciated! J

The Wisdom of Play

Research continues to emphasize the importance of PLAY...not only for children, but also for adults. Dr. Jamie Rife shared the article below from Edutopia, "Cultivating a New Leadership Archetype" recently. Please take a moment to read and share with your administrative teams and teachers. The information is important! Remember Shawn Achor's message from the Happiness Advantage, "Be postive in the present". If you spend two minutes a day, for 21 days in a row focusing on one or more of the items listed below, you can actually "retrain" your brain to focus on positive outcomes.

1. Three Gratitudes

2. Journaling

3. Excercise

4. Meditation

5. Random Act of Kindess

Scan the world for the positive and refrain from multitasking!

Congratulations to Amy Gamez

Amy Gamez was recently highlighted as one of Forsyth County's Most Facinating People, for all of the community support and leadership she provides for schools and for students. Thank you, Amy, for all of your hard work and dedication. Thank you to all of our team for the care and commitment you provide each and every day!

Model Court Program

Peer Court is recruiting youth in 8th-11th grades as well as adult volunteers to serve in a model court program to represent and provide consequences for peers who have been involved in minor delinquent acts (underage consumption, criminal trespass, shoplifting, etc ). Youth and adult volunteers are expected to attend Peer Court training and hearing dates at least once a month. They will conduct the fifth cohort training March 3rd (5p-8p), March 5th (9a-4p) and March 7th (5p-7:30p). The location is not yet determined. For more information, please contact Jessica Stowe at or visit the website at

Suicide Prevention Policy and Procedures

Our Prevention Team (Dr. Jamie Brown, Dawn Densmore, Gail Fruend, Nicole Lea, Lindsey Simpson, and Sha Wortman) are to be commended for all of their work in creating our new Suicide Prevention Training video. The new policy and procedures have been presented to the Board and will be approved at their next Board of Education meeting. The link below will take you to the presentation.

Here are additional details:

- Emaze Link: See Below - Because of the way the Emaze video and sound had to be aligned, be sure to hit play and do not pause or try to skip around within the clip. This will cause the sound not to work properly. Also, remember that you must open the Emaze with Google Chrome!

- You will need internet access in order to show the Emaze presentation. Emaze is not supported by Internet Explorer, so please use Google Chrome or test out your internet browser to make sure if is compatible before your presentation.

- Presentation Script: There is a sample presentation script and training recommendations for you to utilize and modify to fit your staff audience and style in itslearning. (FCS Student Support Services>Emergency Response>Suicide Prevention)

- Documentation: Please remember to document the instances of suicidal ideation for a particular student in Infinite Campus. It can be found by going to Student Information – Counseling – General – Suicidal Ideation and entering the date the emergency notification form was completed. We are working on a paper version of a meeting tracking sheet as that seemed to be requested at the January 4th professional development and will have that out to you next week. We are also working on a document that you can use to guide your 30 and 90 days meetings if you want to utilize it. If you prefer to use a paperless tracking system, you can document the meetings in the Contact Log in the infinite Campus Counselor tab: Student Information – Counseling – General – Contact Log. If you need IT support, please phone a friend or the IT person at your school.

- Remember, please work with your administrators to have the training on the calendar to complete by Spring Break. It would be best to have the training before testing gets in to full swing and the end of the year activities.

- Each school should have received the “More Than Sad” supplemental information and DVD. This is a resource from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention provided by the GA DOE for you and your staff to utilize as needed.

- Thank you in advance for your efforts and support which will help us in ensuring students receive the help that they need. As we mentioned, we are learning as we go and are open to feedback and suggestions.

RTI Core Team and RTI Desktop

Information for RTI core Team and RTI Desktop are being shared once monthly at the Teaching and Learning meetings. This is a great way for our team to collaborate and brainstorm as we work to get the RTI process implemented and documented district wide. If you have anything you would like for us to share, please contact Betty Fernandez or Jennifer Schau.
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Parent Guide to High School Options 2015-2016

We created a 2015-16 High School Options Chart for parents to help them understand the many different choices available for students. Thank you to our social workers for helping to compile this data! Feel free to post this on your webpages and include as a link in newsletters to parents.

Important Information for Counselors

I hope you are all having a great start to 2016! Below is a link to information shared by Josh Owens from North Forsyth High School. I think this is great news for all of our Professional School Counselors. Please see the link titled "Final Report" embedded in the link below.

Just as a reminder, all of the information shared at our Student Support Vertical Team Meetings can be accessed through itslearning>FCS Student Support Services>Vertical Team Information. the information, handouts, and minutes are located in each high school folder.

I would like for all of our team to begin thinking about what social emotional learning looks like at the Tier 1 level, and how can we support our teachers with embedding SEL skills into daily instructional practice. How can we create classroom cultures that develop academic tenacity, self confidence, goal setting, accountability, and readiness for college and/or career? Finally, what does this look like in classrooms at each grade level? I've provided a link to the ASCA Mindsets and Behavior Standards, ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors Program Planning Tool. We will be having future discussions around this work.