Counselor's Corner

Liz Parker, School Counselor, Hominy Valley Elementary

Dear HVE Families,

Welcome to the 2021-2022 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. This is my 14th year working at the school, so you know it's a place that I love to be! I'll be sending out this newsletter once a quarter to share resources and information with you. I look forward to working together with you to support your child!

What does the school counselor do?

Short answer: I help kids. Specifically, I help our students to solve problems they might have, or to deal with big things that happen in their lives. There are lots of ways I do that. Here are some of the ways I might work with your child this year!

I teach important skills.

One part of my job, in which I work with all 460 of our students, is that I lead classes called Guidance where we do social-emotional learning. I will be meeting with your child's class once every few weeks to talk about topics like being a good listener, focusing attention, showing empathy, managing emotions, solving problems, and responding to bullying. These lessons hopefully help our students to build skills they can use for managing different problems in their lives, and they also give me a great chance to build relationships with our whole student body.

I meet with students.

I meet individually and in small groups with students who have an issue they'd like to discuss or a social-emotional skill they need to work on. Parents and teachers sometimes request that I meet with a particular student, and sometimes the students approach me on their own or leave a note in the mailbox on my door. If you would like me to meet with your child, feel free to call or email me at school, using the contact information listed below.

I support teachers and families.

Sometimes the best way for me to support a student is by working with the adults in that student's life. Teachers might ask 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 at home. I frequently sit in on parent conferences and team meetings, to offer a social-emotional perspective on meeting a student's needs. If your student or family is facing some big challenges, I can also work with our social worker, Mr. Eden, to connect you to resources in our community. Please feel free to reach out to me with any concerns!

I do a lot of different things around our school.

My schedule is very different from one day to the next. Over the course of the day I may go from supervising our Flag Duty team, to visiting classes in different grade levels, to delivering lunches from the cafeteria, to meeting with small groups of students, to helping with the car line in the afternoon. I stay so busy that I have to keep a walkie talkie in my pocket in case our staff needs to track me down! 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.

I look forward to working with your child in some capacity this year! Please let me know how I can help your student have a great experience at our school.

Homework from Ms. Parker

  • Take some deep breaths. These first few weeks of school are pretty hectic for a family, and it's easy to feel overwhelmed. (In addition to all "my" kids at HVE, I have my own 3rd and 6th grader at home, and I feel like we haven't stopped moving since last Monday!) Do you need to take a break for a few minutes to sit quietly and collect yourself? That's a great life skill to model for your kids.
  • Does your child have a tendency to melt down when they walk in the door after school? We stay pretty busy at school, and your child is likely to be exhausted when they get home. School also requires a lot of self-control (we walk in the halls, we try not to interrupt our classmates, we follow a very structured schedule, etc.), and by the time your child gets home a lot of bottled up energy and emotion may come spilling out. It's very normal. As the resident expert on your kid, try to think of what they typically need when everything feels like too much, and incorporate that into your afternoon routine. Maybe it's a snack and a glass of water (for Ms. Parker, this is usually the case). Maybe it's a hug and a good book. Maybe it's a parent who can listen as they talk about all the things. Maybe it's some sensory input, like some time to swing or to bounce on the trampoline. What would you like someone to provide for you, if you got home after a long day?
  • Take a long, slow drink of water and notice how it feels going down your throat. It only takes a few seconds, but it can be very calming! This is a strategy we use at school sometimes when a student is having some big feelings.
  • Download the GoNoodle app. It has some great videos that we use at school for dancing and getting the wiggles out, or for using strategies to calm down. You might find it useful at home too! My kids and I use it to dance and jump around our living room on rainy days when it's harder to play outside.
  • Let me know what I can do to support you and your child!