Counselor's Corner

Hillside Elementary: January 2020


Dear Hillside Families,

For the month of January, our school-wide theme is Perseverance. Newt Gingrich defines perseverance as, "The hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did." It is important to teach our children that life is full of challenges. Life never goes just like we plan. If our children are prepared to handle these challenges in stride, they will be much more successful in life. Mrs. Snyder's January lessons focused on perseverance and having a growth mindset. Growth Mindset is a concept developed by Carol Dweck, a professor of Psychology at Stanford University. It is the belief that a person's abilities and intelligence can be developed through practice, hard work, dedication, and motivation. When students believe that dedication and hard work can change their performance in school, they grow to become resilient, successful students. Even at such a young age, it is essential for us to teach our students that their intelligence can be grown or developed with persistence, effort, and a focus on learning.

The Second Step lessons taught by your child's teacher during the months of January and February focused on problem-solving. Students were taught how to use the Second Step Problem-Solving Steps: S: Say the problem, T: Think of solutions, E: Explore consequences, P: Pick the best solution. The first letter of each step spells the word ”STEP.” Remembering “STEP” helps students solve problems with each other in safe and respectful ways. Second Step lessons specifically teach students to use each step and reinforce the message that solutions need to be safe and respectful.

On Friday, January 31st, we held an SEL school-wide assembly on Perseverance. During our assembly, we discussed the importance of perseverance, having a growth mindset, and the power of YET. Safety Patrol students performed skits that modeled these essential skills. Additionally, our kindergarten and first-grade students helped sing Sesame Street: Janelle Monae- Power of Yet. Lastly, we honored two special people here at Hillside for having a growth mindset daily and for their work in leading our recycling effort, Mr. G and Mr. Duffy!

If you notice your child using a growth mindset, perseverance, or the problem-solving steps, please give them praise and reinforcement. Thank you for your continued support!

Warm regards,


Dr. Bloom, School Psychologist

Mr. Forcinito, School Psychologist

Mrs. Snyder, School Counselor

Big picture

Perseverance how you can help your child:


  • High, but reasonable expectations are an important part of persistence. Let your child know that you believe they can do hard things. It is important, though, that our expectations do not exceed the child's abilities, and that they have the tools they need to succeed.


  • Tell stories about times in your life when something didn’t go as planned. Explain how you persisted through challenges and why.

  • Share stories in current events that focus on people who have persisted through challenges.

  • Model positive reactions to setbacks in your own life. An example is, “This didn’t go the way I planned, but it will be okay and I will think of a new way to solve this problem."


  • Help your child set reasonable goals (academic and/or SEL) and make a plan to achieve them.

  • If possible, track the progress toward their goal with a graph or table.

  • Help them connect the “hard work” to their successes.


  • Remind them of times they persisted and were successful.


  • Breaking larger tasks into smaller, more manageable ones.
  • Ask, "How can I help you?"
  • Resist the urge to "rescue" or give answers.
  • Take a break and come back to it later.

Helpful Resources:

Problem-Solving Books:

A Peace Rose, by Alicia Jewell

What Do You Do With a Problem, by Kobi Yamada

Persistence Books:

Fall Down 7 Times, Get Up 8, by Debbie Silver

Thank You, Mr. Falker, by Patricia Polacco

Stuck, by Oliver Jeffers

Growth Mindset Books:

When Sophie Thinks She Can't, by Molly Bang

The Girl Who Never Makes a Mistake, by Mark Prett and Gary Rubinstein

The Most Magnificent Thing, by Ashley Spires

The Dot & Ish, by Peter Reynolds

Additional Resources:

Developing a Growth Mindset: Carol Dweck-please click here