Counselor Corner

First Quarter 2019-2020

Welcome (back) To Pollard!

We are so excited for the 2019-2020 school year! After a restful summer, we are ready to kick this school year into gear and are implementing new features into our school counseling program! We will send out quarterly newsletters to let you know what is going on in and around the school counseling department each quarter. Please feel free to reach out with any questions!


Briana Kelly - Sixth Grade Counselor

Kali Abu-Sharr - Seventh and Eighth Grade Counselor

Nicki Checkla - Counseling Intern

Meet the Counselors!

How to Contact Your Counselors!

Ms. Kelly is at Pollard part-time and will serve sixth grade. Ms. Abu-Sharr is at Pollard full time and will serve seventh and eighth grades. Ms. Checkla will be interning at Pollard three days a week for the whole school year and will serve all grade levels. That being said, we work as a team and our main objective is to meet the needs of our students, staff, and families as efficiently as possible!

Ms. Kelly:

Ms. Abu-Sharr:

Ms. Checkla:

(919) 969-0070

School Counselor Appointment Request Form

Sixth-Grade 101

How Does Pollard Support Rising Sixth-Graders?

I'm so glad you asked!

We have a lot of exciting plans to help your incoming sixth-graders transition to middle school. It is a major change from elementary school, and we will do everything we can to create a positive and nurturing environment for our sixth-graders. See below for ways you can help out at home!

Sixth-Grade 101

During the first two weeks of school, the sixth-grade team, along with the administration, counselors, and curriculum coach, will implement a variety of activities to introduce our new sixth-graders to middle school life.

Lessons in homeroom will include an overview of rules and expectations, an introduction to the online tools students will use throughout middle school, lessons on how to use a planner and how to prepare for long-term projects, digital citizenship, and how to use a computer appropriately. We will also provide planners, locker assignments, and logins/passwords to students during this time.

We will also have cooperative games set up during the first two weeks of activity time to help foster new friendships and a sense of belonging in the new school. Sixth-grade 101 will end with a celebratory picnic on the second Friday of the school year!

First Quarter Groups

One of the roles of the school counselor is to conduct small group sessions with students. Working with teachers and staff members, counselors create positive group environments in order to teach new skills, help students develop relationships, and provide other supports as needed. See more information here, as explained by the American School Counselor Association.

During the first quarter, groups will be focused on supporting students during the transition to the new school year. Small groups are limited in number based on the topic, ranging from about 5-12 students. If you feel that your child is struggling with the transition to middle school, please do not hesitate to reach out to your school counselor to find out more information about small groups!

New Student Groups

New student groups will support students who are new to the school, district, state, etc., or who are coming to Pollard from alternative environments, such as home-school or Montessori school. This group typically meets during the lunch period in order to help foster a sense of belonging in the school building, as well as an opportunity to make new friends!

Organization Group

Organization groups will support students who are struggling with the academic transition to middle school. Topics covered include managing the new workload, organizational skills, how to use a planner or online calendar effectively, and more! This group typically meets during the discovery block in the morning, as it requires more hands-on learning.

Middle School Transition

Tips for Sixth-Graders!

  • ORGANIZE ORGANIZE ORGANIZE! Create an organization system that works for you! It can be overwhelming now that there are multiple different classes & teachers. Being organized will help you keep on top of each class and make it less stressful!

    • Example: Pick a color for each class and have a folder, binder, and/or notebook that are all the same color for each subject

    • Example: write your homework down in your planner! It only takes a second and it’s helpful to have all your information in one place!

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Whether it’s academic, social, or emotional help, there are adults at school ready and willing to help you! Reach out to your teachers, counselors, administrators, etc. if you need help.

    • Find an adult you trust to talk to when you have problems

  • Get involved! Find things that you enjoy – sports, clubs, activities, etc. This is a great way to meet new people, have fun, and find things you love!

  • Come to school and have fun! You can’t learn if you are not at school. Attendance is crucial to being successful!

Tips for Sixth-Grade Parents!

For children going into middle school, there are many anxieties, apprehensions, and fears to deal with and overcome. Middle schools are larger than elementary schools, the school work is harder, there are more classes and more teachers – all with different expectations and personalities. Students who routinely earn A’s may find that their grades take a dip. If A’s are important to you and your child, encourage them to put in the hard work and effort. Communication is key. Talk with your child’s teachers and school administration.

Don’t be too anxious about your child going to middle school. Talk about the middle school experience in a positive way! Your enthusiasm and support can help make this BIG change in your child’s school life a positive one.

  • Help your child develop an organizational strategy

    • Designate a study space, conduct a weekly clean-up, keep a master calendar, etc.

    • Provide help and support while your child is learning to become more organized!

  • Talk about social skills

    • Talk about traits that make a good friend

    • Discuss how words and actions can affect other people

    • Practice skills needed for difficult social situations

  • Openly communicate with your child

    • Keep the lines of communication open between your child and school staff

    • Be informed, listen, and talk to your child

  • Encourage your child to get involved in school activities!

    • Check the Pollard website occasionally and listen to the weekly Mustang Minute phone call for activities coming up that week!

  • Help your child to be their own advocate!

    • Encourage your child to discuss problems and solutions with teachers on their own, but be ready to help as needed.

    • Encourage your child’s independence and help them learn to deal with situations so they become effective problem solvers

Developmentally, your child is starting to seek independence, make more of their own choices, and develop a sense of self. Do not be surprised if they begin to seek out their peer group and create space from their parents. This is normal!

That being said, you are still an excellent support system for them, even as they push away. Middle schoolers may need some alone time following a long day at school before they are able to talk about their day and what happened. Middle schoolers are also very sensitive to disapproval or judgment, no matter how slight! When your child talks to you about what has happened at school or the choices they have made, try and respond with warmth and support, even if you do not agree with all their choices. If adolescents feel judged, they will be less likely to communicate.

See this link for great ways to ask how school went today, without asking, "how was school today?"