Counselor's Corner

Liz Parker, School Counselor, Hominy Valley Elementary

Dear HVE Families,

Welcome to the unusual start of another school year at Hominy Valley! For those of you who are new to our school, my name is Liz Parker and I am the school counselor at HVE. It's been a few years since I sent out a regular newsletter to our families, and this year seemed like the right time to bring my newsletter back. My plan for this year is to send out a newsletter once a month, to share information with you about ways that you and I can work together to support your student.

What does the school counselor do?

I teach important skills.

One part of my job, in which I work with all our students, is that I lead classes called Guidance where we do social-emotional learning. During a regular school year, I typically see each of our classes twice a month. While we are virtual, I am sending out lessons during the Friday specials time, mostly in the form of videos. In a typical school year, we cover topics like listening, focusing attention, empathy, emotional regulation, problem-solving, goal-setting, and bullying prevention. For this fall, I'm mostly focusing on emotional regulation and self-care skills, because it seems like that's what is most necessary in our current situation. Sometimes teaching these skills involves a puppet named Bob, because my job is really fun.

I meet with students.

I meet individually or in small groups with students who have a particular issue they'd like to discuss, or particular skills they need to work on. In a typical school year, I do that in person, and I receive requests to meet with students from teachers and staff, from families, and from the students themselves (there's a mailbox on the door to my office where students can leave me a note). In our virtual setup, the easiest way for me to meet with a student or group of students is via Zoom. If you would like to set up a Zoom meeting with me and your student, you can send me an email using the contact information below. If your student is a 3rd or 4th grader (and therefore a student who has access to a BCS email account), they are also welcome to send me an email themselves.

I support teachers and families.

Sometimes the best way for me to support a student is by touching base with the adults in that student's life. Teachers might reach out to me for strategies to use with a student in the classroom, or parents and caregivers might contact me for ideas about how to handle something going on at home. I am frequently present in team meetings, to offer a social-emotional perspective on addressing student needs. If your student or family is facing some particularly big challenges, I could also help connect you to resources in our community for support. Please feel free to reach out to me with any concerns!

I do a lot of different things around the school.

My schedule can be very different from one day to the next, and over the course of the day I may go from supervising the Safety Patrol in the morning, to putting up the flag in front of the school, to visiting classrooms in every grade level, to giving tours to new families in our school community, to opening car doors in the afternoon. Being a visible presence in our school helps me build relationships with students and families, which is the heart of the work that I do.

Homework from Ms. Parker

  • Take some deep breaths. This is all hard, and you need to take care of yourself! Try breathing in for a count of four, holding your breath for a count of four, breathing out slowly for a count of four, and then holding your breath for a count of four. Try breathing in slowly but breathing out like a dragon. Pretend you're holding a cup of coffee (maybe you are?) and breath in slowly through your nose to smell it, and then blow on it slowly to cool it off. Does all this make you feel a little silly? Then laugh at yourself. That's good for you too.
  • Have a drink of cold water. Notice how it feels to have the water travel down your throat. I don't know about you, but wearing a mask all day seems to mean I'm not drinking as much water as I usually do. Stay hydrated!
  • Go for a walk outside. Stretch your muscles. Enjoy this beautiful weather. Notice what you can see, smell, hear, and feel while you're outside.
  • Let me know how I can support you and your student. I am so grateful to get to work with all the amazing people in our school community!