School Counselor Corner

South Elementary - April/May 2021

Dear Families and Staff,

Wow, we're almost at the end and this is my final newsletter for the year! I don't think any school year has proven our ability to adapt to change like this one. I'm looking forward to what's ahead and I'm excited about the ground we've been able to cover together despite navigating a school year that has been anything but normal. Keep reading to view South's School Counseling Report for this school year to date. I think we all deserve an elbow bump to celebrate each other and to encourage each other to keep pushing. We're making great things happen together. May we continue to be well, stay safe, and find joy in the things that matter.


Yours in the interest of education,


Libra Boyd


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What's Happening in School Counseling?

Problem-Solving

Students are learning that inevitably we all encounter problems. The skills to problem-solve are important and can improve each time we use them. In classroom counseling, students learned how to analyze problems to find good solutions. Problems can often seem overwhelming until we pause to consider all possible solutions as well as the consequences for each. Once we weigh our choices and consequences, it usually becomes a bit easier to find the best solution for the problem. Families and staff, you may find this article useful as you continue to foster problem-solving skills in the classroom and at home: How to Teach Kids Problem-Solving Skills

Career Awareness and Exploration: Vitual Campus Tour

I said in my last newsletter that career exploration is one of my favorite units to teach, partly because I love hearing students' aspirations. Students in upper grades have continued to explore their career interests as well as how their personal preferences can influence their post-secondary school and career choices.


Thanks to the school counseling program's partnership with the UNC Tarheel Outreach Program, fifth grade students were able to receive a virtual campus tour of UNC-Chapel Hill. In years past, we have taken a field trip to the campus. The pandemic required an adjustment but our students still got to meet some university students and learn a bit about the college experience.


I encourage students to continue exploring the opportunities available to them after high school. NCcareers.org is one of the sites I introduced upper elementary students to during our career unit. It allows students to explore occupations based on their interests, abilities, location, and more. It also has a section with college planning resources. Families, nccareers.org is an informative site for you and your child(ren) to explore together, and it's never too early to start preparing for the future!

End of Year Activities

In my final classroom counseling visits, I invited students to reflect on their growth over this past school year. Specifically, I asked them to reflect on how they are different and what they are most proud of. The range of responses included making new friends, learning Spanish, learning all the sight words, becoming nicer and kinder, getting into less mischief, becoming more mature, and improving their test grades and scores.


It's been a big year with new experiences. Sometimes, we tend to focus on our disappointments while overlooking our accomplishments. All our students have been able to accomplish this year is worth being celebrated. I am absolutely proud of their growth in whatever area it may be! Families, I've asked them to share with you what they're most proud of about their school year as well as what they're most excited about for next year. If they don't initiate the conversation, please ask them. They have made it through a school year under some extraordinary circumstances and I want them to celebrate themselves at home among others who are proud of them too!


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As EOG testing approaches, it is common for some students to experience feelings of worry, anxiety, and fear. Families, here are four simple tips to help your child(ren) do their best on test day:


  1. Prepare for test day the night before. This way, they don't feel rushed in the morning.
  2. Help them get to bed early to get a good night's sleep.
  3. Make sure they eat a healthy breakfast either at home or at school.
  4. Reassure them that you're proud of them and you know they will try their best. Affirmation goes a long way!

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YEAR-END SCHOOL COUNSELING REPORT

I can't tell you how often I'm asked what school counselors at the elementary level do. One author puts it this way: "They listen. They teach. They advocate. They care. They do a lot more than you may have realized. And they support students holistically in ways no one else can" (Brandman University, 2018).


The report below provides just a snapshot of the ways in which our students have been served so far this year through the school counseling program. I collect data daily and will continue to do so through the end of the school year. It is my great pleasure to serve as our school's professional school counselor. I look to the future with great anticipation.


Note: This report has been updated to reflect services through June 1.

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is designated as Mental Health Awareness Month. According to Mental Health America, a non-profit organization, "While 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health." Mental health is essential to everyone's overall health and well-being. The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound impacts on the mental health of people of all ages, and now more than ever it is critical to reduce the stigma around mental health struggles that commonly prevents people from seeking help.


There are practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase resiliency, regardless of the situation one is dealing with. Several suggestions and tips are offered in this resource sheet and can be helpful to staff, families, and students: Self-Care 101.

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Character Education Spotlight

May's character trait is reliability. Reliability is demonstrated by:

  • the quality of being trustworthy or of performing consistently well.


June's character trait is perseverance. Perseverance is demonstrated by:

  • Being persistent in the pursuit of worthy objectives in spite of difficulty, opposition, or discouragement.

  • Exhibiting patience and having the determination and strength to try again when confronted with delays, mistakes, and failures.


Families, here's an article that offers some ideas about fostering reliability in children: Three Tips to Teach Reliability for Kids


And here's a resource that offers tips for teaching perseverance: Teaching Grit & Perseverance to Children


Discussions of these attributes are an ongoing component of my weekly classroom sessions with students. The more we take opportunities to discuss, model, and praise these acts when we notice them, the more we help our students recognize how positive behavior and good character strengthen our home, school, and community.


The Character Recognition program is a district-wide initiative to increase character education throughout Person County Schools. A character trait is spotlighted each month. At South, I ask teachers to select a student from their class who has consistently modeled this trait for his/her peers.

About Your School Counselor

Libra Boyd is an educator with school counseling experience across the K-12 grade level span. She is a National Board Certified Teacher in School Counseling/Early Childhood through Young Adulthood and holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Educational Studies as well as the Master of Education degree in school counseling.