Counseling Connections

~ Jill Sarnow, HNR School Counselor ~

Let's celebrate!

Hello there,


It may be hard to believe, but we are in the "final count down" for the 2020/2021 school year! This year has definitely had its ups and downs, but we have worked tirelessly, overcame obsticals, and persevered in a year that was filled with questions and uncertainty at its very beginning. We should celebrate ALL that this year has taught us, not just academically but also socially and emotionally as well. I know this last stretch of school can seem to carry on forever, and current behaviors can show the unrest of excitement for warmer weather and freed-up days. BUT, I have no doubt we will finish this school year strong and excited for what lies ahead for the 2021/2022 school year:)

Summer SEL Camp!

Summer is the PERFECT time to help your kiddos sharpen their social and emotional learning! If you are looking for ideas or ways to help your child improve their friendship skills, social awareness or enhance their understanding of the importance of honesty, please reach out and let me know! I have a wonderful Summer SEL camp journal that I can send home with your child to help spark some ideas on how to strengthen their social/emotional learning:)

How we are wrapping up the year with counseling lessons

Elementary Lessons

To wrap up the year at the elementary, I have been focusing in all grades about personal safety, who their trusted adults are, impulse control, and the good they see in themselves (self-esteem). Students have been wonderful talking through safety plans, when, and how to assertively say NO!, and what responsibilities they have both at school as well as at home!

Intermediate Lessons

To finish the year with my 5h through 8th graders, I have been talking about the following with each grade:


  • 5th - growth mindset; your conscience and why to listen to it; conflict-resolution using I-messages; how to manage frustrations; and words of wisdom for incoming 5th graders:)
  • 6th - growth mindset and the power of YET; stress and how to tame it; the wellness triangle (physical health, emotional health & social health); cognitive distortions.
  • 7th - growth mindset; stress and how to manage it; warning signs of anxiety and depression; why it's so important to have a trusted adult you can talk to; how to find your "natural high".
  • 8th - growth minset; stress and who they can turn to when they need some extra support; anxiety and depression warning signs; "If You Really Knew Me".
Big picture
I came across this visual and thought it was a great reminder on how the mind of a middle schooler works!

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

This month's awareness theme speaks directly to what I work hard to help students understand: sometimes, it's OK to NOT be OK! We all have those days that don't go as planned or moments that frustrate us and leave us feeling less than pleased with ourselves. I have been working all year with kiddos in ALL grades to help them learn tips/tools/strategies they can use to help themselves work through difficult emotions and overcome perseverating negative feelings or thoughts. I have TONS of information I would love to share with you, but have chosen just a few you might find helpful when talking with your child(ren) about mental health. If you would like anything more, please don't hesitate to reach out and ask!! I am happy to share:)
Let's Talk About Mental Illness - Kids Mental Health Video