Counselor Connection

A Counselor Newsletter for Teachers on Ms. Ross' Teams

Highlights from Savannah @ Georgia School Counselor Association Conference

While not a FFMS last week, I attended the Annual Georgia School Counselor Association (GSCA) Conference in Savannah. It was a great few days of learning, sharing, networking and being re-energized! I wanted to share some highlights from the conference with you all...

  • I presented a breakout session with a counselor from Roberts ES. We presented about why and how to promote the Reaching Higher Initiative at the elementary and middle school level to other Georgia school counselors. The session went well and the audience was excited to learn from us.
  • I attended several breakout sessions and picked some new ideas to use with students that I work with in groups and individually. Most of what presenters shared came down to connecting with students.
  • Our keynote speaker was AMAZING! I've heard her speak before but every time I hear her she is more and more inspiring and entertaining. Her name is Tara Brown. I hope one day you all will be able to hear from her in person, but in the mean time, I will be sharing some of her ideas and thoughts in our Cultivating Carrots each week!

School Counselor vs. Guidance Counselor...What's the Difference?

Counselors were first introduced into schools to assist students with occupational/vocational choices, college preparatory support, etc. They were teachers that simply took a few extra classes and were then called 'guidance counselors.' ‘Guidance’ counselors tended to wait for students to come to them with a need and they only served a few students.

Guidance is a service. It is a service that is still provided by school counselors today, but it is one of many services that are a part of a comprehensive school counseling program.

Today, school counselors must obtain a minimum of a master’s degree in school counseling and have unique training that differs that from other staff in the educational environment. School counselors are supported professional through local, state and national professional organizations. School counselors are proactive using data and collaboration to develop their programs. Responsive services are still a part of the school counseling program; they just don’t make up the whole program. School counselors focus on a comprehensive program that supports ALL students not just a few. School counselors are not only focused on the social/emotional and career development of students but also their academic development. School counseling programs focus on collaboration with other educators, advocacy, leadership and creating systemic change. The FFMS counseling program continues to focus on achieving each of these in our own school counseling program.

Counseling Core Curriculum Lessons - Academic Unit

Both 6th and 7th grade students are finishing up their 3 lesson Academic Unit in the months of November and December.

In their first lesson, all students have learned and discussed about the mindset for success, Growth Mindset. (Thanks to those teachers who reinforced that with Growth Mindset info in their classrooms and hallways).

In the second lesson, Sixth grade students have discussed the skills and resources they need to use to be successful in the classroom. They created google slides for these slides and tools and they are shared on my eClass for all students to see. Seventh grade students have discussed and practiced prioritizing and time management.

In their third lesson, all students will complete their career cruising component that will be tied into their academic success. For sixth grade they will look at their learning styles and study skills that fit their learning styles. Seventh grade students will do a career matchmaker inventory and discuss the link between their current academics and future careers.

Emergency Counselor Pass

We do have several students on safety plans for suicidal ideations/attempts. Although we do check in on these students on a regular basis they still may need to come see is at other times. Some of these students have some difficulty expressing when they really do need to talk to a counselor, however.
So...a few of our students that have a safety plan (Not ALL of them) will have an emergency counselor pass. If things become to overwhelming for them and they need to get to one of us but can't verbalize it, they will be able to show you the pass.
HOWEVER --- They should NOT come alone. If a student is having suicidal thoughts, we do not want them to leave the room alone and go into the bathroom or other location without supervision. So, If a student shows you the emergency pass, please just have another student walk them to their counselors office. (Yes - this is perfectly fine, the other student doesn't need to know why the student is coming to the counselor).
If their counselor is not there, have the students walk to the other counselors office. If they are not able to locate one of the counselors, then they can go into any clerk or APs office to try to locate the counselor or an AP. (all of this is on the pass as well - They should just show you the pass and take it with them to the counselor.)

ALL teachers who teach the student will be notified if a student has an emergency pass.

Small Groups Have Begun....

I have begun several small groups. Most of these groups are lunch groups and a couple of groups are during non-advisement extended homeroom days.

Students were invited to group based on the ABC Report data at the time of forming groups and were added to group if they received parent permission for the group.

Below are the group grade level/topics:

  • Three 7th grade academic lunch groups (weekly - unless there is a scheduling conflict)
  • Two 6th grade academic lunch groups (weekly - unless there is a scheduling conflict)
  • Two 7th grade behavior lunch groups (every other week - unless their is a scheduling conflict)
  • Two girls resiliency extended HR groups (about 1x/ month - each girl also writes a 'back-n-forth' journal with Ms. Ross)

Initially these groups were only going to run the first semester, but they started a little late, so they will continue into second semester as well.

I may start a 6th grade behavior group depending on the data and time availablility I review for second semester... I will keep you posted.

FFMS Counseling Advisory Council

Join us on September 22nd and May 23rd at 8:25 in the PLC Room for the FFMS Counseling Advisory Council to learn more about the FFMS Counseling Department's Goals, Initiatives, and more!

Laura Ross

Five Forks Middle School

School Counselor

770-736-4527 (office)

770-310-5737 (cell) - FFMS Staff use only - please do not give out to parents or students