SMHS Counseling Department

Fall 2019

Welcome to the SMHS Counseling Department

Welcome to our first school counseling newsletter! The mission of the Stowe Middle High School School Counseling Program is to provide comprehensive school counseling in grades 6-12. The program is centered around an engaging curriculum that encourages the highest level of student achievement through their growth in academic, career and personal/social domains. In partnership with teachers, administrators, parents and a caring community, the school counselors will help all students to be successful lifelong learners and problem solvers.This newsletter is for all grades 6 - 12. You may choose to read just the information relevant to your child’s grade or you might look ahead to see what’s coming up in future years. This newsletter does not replace the daily announcements so be sure to check those as well.

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Managing Stress & Anxiety

We as parents/guardians, educators and community members are concerned about the rising rates of anxiety, stress and depression in children and teens. To help support students in learning tools and strategies that they can use when they are feeling these emotions, the SMHS School Counseling Department has teamed up with Heather Neff, a local yoga and mindfulness instructor, to integrate a four part trimester series of mindfulness and relaxation techniques into 6th grade Wellness.

Tech Tips: There are many apps available to help students manage stress and anxiety from tracking stress levels, to helping students learn stress management techniques. Here is a list of some technology resources. Please know there are many others out there.

  • Breathe2Relax

  • Mindshift

  • Relax Melodies

  • Virtual Hope Box

  • Tactical Breather

  • De-Stress Me

December 11th Dr. Paul Foxman: The Worried Child

Lecture 5:45-7:45pm

SMHS Auditorium

In a recent survey by the by World Health Organization, anxiety disorders are recognized as the most common emotional disorder in 10 out of 17 countries, including the US. The soaring trend toward anxiety has been accelerated by global stress and high-profile threats, such as terrorism, gun violence, cyberbullying and other realities of the modern world. This is compounded by the increasing stresses to children, which can also include divorce, family breakdown and social pressures, producing a “shell shocked” generation suffering from high levels of anxiety. Our challenge is to recognize anxiety in children and teens, and help them cope.

In this lecture, Psychologist & Best Selling Author, Dr. Paul Foxman, Ph.D., explores:

- How anxiety develops in children and adolescents

- Practical strategies that can be applied immediately in the home

- Cognitive-behavioral, mind-body, solution-oriented and family system approaches

DR. PAUL FOXMAN, Ph.D., is the Founder and Director of the Vermont Center for Anxiety Care in

Burlington, Vermont. Dr. Foxman specializes in anxiety disorders in children and adults and frequently appears at conferences, and on television and radio shows to address anxiety and stress-related issues. Dr. Foxman has written several best selling books on the topic of anxiety, explaining symptoms and sources of anxiety, as well as providing solutions including, Dancing With Fear, The Worried Child, and The Clinician’s Guide to Anxiety Disorders in Kids and Teens.

U Matter & Getting to Y


Why “Umatter”? Everyone has a place in the Big Picture. Everyone has a contribution to make, something important to do, and a purpose waiting to be fulfilled. Sometimes people experience mental health challenges, disorders, or illnesses that are significant and require extra help. The message is: you matter because you may need help, and you matter because you may be in a position to help. Umatter training promotes natural and professional helping based on best practice, with a focus on communication, coping and help-seeking skills.

In the fall, the counselors attended a two-day UMatter training. We will be working with a student team to help increase suicide awareness. Please check out bulletin boards in the hallway with some very important information on this topic. A student team will be attending a mid-November training.

Getting to ‘Y’

GETTING TO ‘Y’ is an opportunity for students to bring meaning to their own Youth Risk Behavior Survey data. Through youth leadership, partnerships with adults, action research, and peer and community engagement, participants not only experience personal growth and build their capacity for future civic engagement, but also effect sustainable change in youth behavior, community and school culture. High school students and middle school students attended a Getting to ‘Y’ Retreat in October and will be continuing with this work throughout the year.

Bullying Prevention & National Red Ribbon Campaign

Did you know October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness month? To spread awareness and to continue to create a positive environment at SMS the theme of our school hike on Friday October 4th was Bullying Prevention Awareness and students had the opportunity to add their handprint to sign the banner. Check out the Kindness tree outside the SMS office to see the ideas that students came up with to foster positive relationships.

The National Family Partnership organized the first Nationwide Red Ribbon Campaign. NFP provides drug awareness by sponsoring the annual National Red Ribbon Campaign, October 23-31. The theme of this year is “Send a Message, Stay Drug Free.” High school students in our Bettering Our School Surroundings group will be participating in this campaign to bring more awareness to our school. The Make A Difference Stowe Middle School group will be supporting this effort on October 30th.

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SMHS Mentoring Program

SMHS Mentoring Program

On Monday October 14th the School Counseling Team facilitated our second annual mentor training and we were excited to have 20 high school mentors who will be working with middle school students as part of the SMHS Mentor Program. The Mentoring Program matches a high school student with a middle school student for a full school year. Mentor pairs work one-on-one and typically spend time playing games, reading, talking or helping with classwork. Student pairs meet in designated public spaces in the school. SHS students act as role models for middle school students and give them attention that can make a difference in their school day. If you are interested in having a mentor for your student please contact Lauren Conti (

Prevent Child Abuse Vermont

The counseling team is partnering with Prevent Child Abuse Vermont (PCAVT) to provide student education in 6th and 8th grade wellness class. PCAVT is the Vermont Chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America and the National Circle of Parents. Their mission is to promote and support healthy relationships within families, schools and communities to eliminate child abuse. Stay tuned for more information about a community evening in collaboration with PCAVT.

Post Secondary Planning

Our 12th graders have been busy since the start of the school year! We started with our early morning senior meeting the first week in September reviewing the senior checklists and other important post-secondary planning tasks.

College Fair

SMHS hosted our second annual college fair in September with over 55 colleges visiting. Students in grades 8-12 were invited to participate.

College Workshops and Mock College Admissions Night

We offered two workshops - Completing the Common Application and Writing Your College Essays - during advisory and invited Middlebury College to host our mock college admissions evening. Throughout September and October, our 12th graders have been meeting with us to prepare for life after high school - college, apprenticeships, work or military.


The PSAT is a practice SAT and provides an indicator of how a student might perform on the actual SAT. It measures critical reading, math and writing skills developed over many years both in and out of school. The PSAT results are also used as the gateway to the National Merit Scholarship Program for 11th graders. The PSAT was given to all sophomores and juniors on Oct. 16. Results will be available mid-December and can be used as a study guide should students choose to take the SAT in the future.

First Year Seminar

We met with our 9th grade students during first year seminar class to review: working together as a team and the value of collaboration, transcripts, credits, GPA, program of studies, four-year plans, getting involved in high school through clubs and co-curriculars and more. We plan to visit again soon to share tips on study skills and organization.

What is the CSS Profile?

Some colleges require another financial aid application called the College Scholarship Service Profile, more commonly referred to as the CSS Profile. Not all colleges require this form so please check with your college before submitting this application. Unlike the FAFSA, which is free, the CSS Profile costs $25 initially and $16 for each college you send the application to. If you qualified for the SAT or ACT fee waiver you also qualify for a fee waiver for the CSS Profile. Please see your SHS School Counselor to obtain that waiver. You must follow your college's deadlines for CSS Profile submission.

AP Exam Registration

Registration for taking the exam in May is from now until Nov. 1. See Tarah Hubbard for details.

College Courses

All Vermont high school students have the opportunity to take two FREE college courses. Students should stop by the counseling center for additional information.

Scholarship Opportunities

Check out available scholarship opportunities in Naviance where we regularly update our list. We also post information in daily announcements. If you’re not already checking daily announcements, be sure to do this as we post many updates and other news there daily!


Naviance is a great tool for students who are planning on going to college or who are still exploring their options. This comprehensive program includes career interest and personality profiles as well as extensive career information. Students can also access college search engines, links to helpful web sites including the Common Application, College Board (SAT) and ACT. In addition, our counseling office has set up individual grade level folders loaded with helpful documents and forms. As an example, we have a comprehensive post-secondary planning guide as well as a four year plan worksheet. All have access to each folder so feel free to browse any and all folders! Parents also have their own accounts in Naviance. Please contact the counseling office if you need help accessing this tool.

Tuition Break

The New England Board of Higher Education offers discount on out of state tuition at state colleges and universities in New England for hundreds of degree programs not offered by Vermont’s public colleges. Visit for more information.

Other Opportunities

HOBY State Leadership Seminar

SHS will be sending two sophomores to the Hugh O’Brien Youth State Leadership Seminar at St. Michael’s College. HOBY State Leadership Seminars are for sophomore students who want to develop their leadership talents and become stronger leaders in their communities.

Co-Curricular Activities

High school is so much more than the classroom. We strongly encourage students to choose meaningful after school activities to enrich their high school experience. Whether it’s clubs, volunteering or athletics, students can form meaningful relationships and learn about teamwork, responsibility and time management. Please see a counselor if you need help finding an activity you might enjoy.

Looking for Resources-Updated Website!

Last school year, we redesigned the high school counseling website, adding lots of resources and helpful information based on feedback from families, students and our school counseling advisory council. Please take some time to look through it; we’re certain you will find some very useful information as well as grade level tips.

SMS Getting to Y Training

Monday, Oct. 21st, 9am

Montpelier, VT, USA

Montpelier, VT


Monday, Nov. 4th, 5pm

413 Barrows Road

Stowe, VT

On November 4th at 5:00 VSAC will be visiting to help our families complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and discuss the financial aid process for incoming college students. VSAC’s helpline 1-833-802VSAC is available to help families with any questions. The FAFSA opens for submission on October 1st. Financial aid can run out, so make sure to get your application completed by the deadlines posted by your schools.

Junior Night

Tuesday, Nov. 5th, 5:30pm

413 Barrows Road

Stowe, VT

SHS Junior Night - Planning for Post-Secondary Options

Come to our meeting on November 5th at 5:30 PM in the auditorium to begin for post-secondary planning options. We'll discuss what juniors should be doing now, resources for getting started, how to begin the college search, the latest college admissions statistics, financial aid and scholarships. All juniors and their parents/guardians are invited to attend but others are welcome to attend as well! Please RSVP to Tarah Hubbard.

Advisory Council

Thursday, Nov. 7th, 8am

413 Barrows Road

Stowe, VT

The Advisory Council is a group of parents, community members & faculty that support the growth and development of the school counseling program.

Visit Middlebury College!

Wednesday, Nov. 20th, 9am

Middlebury, VT, USA

Middlebury, VT

The school counseling department is taking a student group to visit Middlebury College. Sign up with Tarah at the SHS office.

The Worried Child: Identifying Anxiety and Helping Children Thrive Dr. Paul Foxman

Wednesday, Dec. 11th, 5:45pm

413 Barrows Road

Stowe, VT

Free dinner from 5:00-5:30pm

Speaking event 5:45-7:45pm

In this lecture, Psychologist & Best Selling Author, Dr. Paul Foxman, Ph.D., explores:

- How anxiety develops in children and adolescents

- Practical strategies that can be applied immediately in the home

- Cognitive-behavioral, mind-body, solution-oriented and family system approaches