Gateway School Counseling

October 2021 Family Newsletter

Welcome!

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

Weekly Guidance Lessons

As School Counselors, Kelsey and Ali have many different components to their role. We meet individually and in small groups with students, but we also teach weekly classroom lessons in every room at Gateway! We have split our classes so that we each work with every grade level from kindergarten to sixth grade. If you would like to know which school counselor works in your students' classroom(s), refer to the list below!


During our classroom lessons, we follow a curriculum purchased by the OPS School Counseling department. This curriculum is called Second Step. Second Step lessons teach students about feelings, kindness, academic skills like goal setting, coping skills, and about different postsecondary paths! This year, OPS purchased an updated digital version of the Second Step curriculum that is more inclusive and modern.


If you have any questions about our classroom lessons, please feel free to reach out to a Gateway School Counselor!

This Month at Gateway

Bullying Prevention Month

National Bullying Prevention Month (NBPM) is a campaign founded in 2006 by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. The campaign is held during the month of October and connects communities around the world to help prevent bullying.


During this month at Gateway, our classroom guidance lessons will be focused on bullying prevention. We will discuss empathy, kindness, how to identify bullying behavior, how to report bullying behavior, and how to be an Upstander against bullying!

Help at Home

My Student is Being Bullied

Children who are bullied can experience negative physical, social, emotional, academic, and mental health issues. Children who are bullied are more likely to experience:


  • Depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy.
  • Health complaints
  • Decreased academic achievement—GPA and standardized test scores—and school participation. They are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.



How to identify if your child is being bullied and how to support:



1. Help your child understand bullying. Children who know what bullying is can better identify it. They can talk about bullying if it happens to them or others. Children need to know ways to safely stand up to bullying and how to get help.


2. Give comfort, support, and advice, even if you can’t solve the problem directly. Encourage the child to report bullying if it happens, whether that is to you or school staff.


3. Keep the lines of communication open. Research tells us that children really do look to parents and caregivers for advice and help on tough decisions. Sometimes spending 15 minutes a day talking can reassure kids that they can talk to their parents or caregivers if they have a problem.


Start conversations about daily life and feelings with questions like these:


  • What was one good thing that happened today? Any bad things?
  • What is lunch time like at your school? Who do you sit with? What do you talk about?
  • What is it like to ride the school bus?
  • What are you good at? What would do you like best about yourself?


Talking about bullying directly is an important step in understanding how the issue might be affecting children. There are no right or wrong answers to these questions, but it is important to encourage children to answer them honestly. Assure children that they are not alone in addressing any problems that arise.


Start conversations about bullying with questions like these:


  • What does “bullying” mean to you?
  • Who are the adults you trust most when it comes to things like bullying?
  • Have you ever felt scared to go to school because you were afraid of bullying? What ways have you tried to change it?
  • What do you think parents or caregivers can do to help stop bullying?
  • Have you or your friends left other kids out on purpose? Do you think that was bullying? Why or why not?
  • What do you usually do when you see bullying going on?
  • Do you ever see kids at your school being bullied by other kids? How does it make you feel?
  • Have you ever tried to help someone who is being bullied? What happened? What would you do if it happens again?



These are simple, yet profound, ways that parents and caregivers can keep up-to-date with the lives of their children and help identify and support if your child is experiencing bullying.




If you suspect that your child is being bullied, reach out to a School Counselor or Gateway Administrator.

My Student is Bullying Others

All of our students have potential to be wonderful learners and friends, but some students struggle more than others to treat people with kindness.


When a student is bullying others, there are a few things that administration can/will do. The definition of bullying in the OPS Code of Conduct is, "any intentional ongoing pattern of written or verbal expression, electronic abuse, physical acts, or gestures intended to cause distress/harm upon one or more students and includes an imbalance of power". Bullying can be considered a level 3 violation of the Code of Conduct. "Level 3 violations may involve the short-term removal of a student from the school environment due to the severity of the behavior. The duration of the short-term suspension, if issued, is to be limited as much as possible while adequately addressing the behavior. In the case of repeated need for short-term suspension, an assistance plan (Behavior Intervention Plan, Student Assistance Plan) should be developed." Administration will work with the teacher and family, as well as additional support staff as needed, to create a plan for the student bullying others.


School counselors are often consulted when bullying happens in the school. Kelsey and Ali have met with students on both sides of the bullying to create restoration between the students. School Counselors can also refer to outside resources like community counseling organizations or programs who work with the family to create plans for students who are bullying others. We are not a part of the administration team and do not enforce consequences for violations of the code of conduct. Instead, we work with students to create other strategies, build healthier relationships, and cope with their own feelings in an effort to prevent further instances of bullying.


Family members play an extremely important role in preventing bullying. If you know or suspect that your child is involved in bullying, there are several things you can do. Recognizing the warning signs is an important first step in taking action against bullying. These warning signs can also point to other issues or problems, such as depression or substance abuse. Talking to the child can help identify the root of the problem.

Kids may be bullying others if they:

  • Get into physical or verbal fights
  • Have friends who bully others
  • Are increasingly aggressive
  • Get sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently
  • Have unexplained extra money or new belongings
  • Blame others for their problems
  • Don’t accept responsibility for their actions
  • Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity


So, why do kids bully? According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "Children and teenagers who feel secure and supported by their family, school, and peers are less likely to bully. However, some youth do not have these types of support. Every individual is unique and there are many factors that can contribute to bullying behavior. A youth who bullies may experience one, several, or none of these contributing factors." Peer, family, emotional, and school factors can all impact students who are at risk to bully others. Students may bully to attain or maintain social power or to elevate their status in their peer group. They may come from a home where their parents or caregivers respond in an authoritarian or reactive way or are extremely lenient with low parental involvement. Many bullies have been bullied in the past or are currently being bullied. They may have feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem, so they bully to make themselves feel more powerful. Some bullies do not understand the emotions of others or may have a hard time controlling their own emotions. Some bullies may experience being excluded, not accepted, or stigmatized at school.


In order to help ensure that your student is not involved in bullying, have frequent conversations or check ins about how they are doing. Do they have friends in their classroom? Do they feel welcome at the school? How are they talking to others on social media or through online games? When we as caregivers open the doors for communication without judgement, our students are more likely to treat themselves and others with less judgement.


If you suspect that your student may be bullying others, reach out to a School Counselor or Gateway Administrator.


Find additional information about bullying at www.stopbullying.gov

For more information on the OPS Code of Conduct follow this link: https://district.ops.org/DEPARTMENTS/Student-and-Community-Services/Due-Process

Communicate With Your Kids Month

"October is National Communicate with Your Kid Month. Conversation flows naturally when adults and children are doing creative activities. Arts and crafts projects like these help your kids open up, express their thoughts and feelings and share their dreams, fears, and memories!" - Crayola

Find out more by following the link below:

https://www.crayola.com/for-parents/party-ideas/communicate-with-your-kids.aspx

Panera Bread Program

Gateway is starting 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 will be available on Wednesdays during dismissal on a table near the main 'Exit' doors of the building. Please feel free to park and visit the table to take home items if you need! Donation amounts may vary each week and will be provided on a first come, first served basis. If you are in need of food assistance throughout the school year, please call Gateway and ask to speak with a school counselor.

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!


https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=tm3mWBshN0q36A72lnQgwXjQzrwBtz9Lp8yUFdaYqqRUMjZXRVdBMjhNV0NHSTlYSlIzMjlZMEVNRy4u