Counseling Office Secretaries: Lisa Petrovich & Stacey Premus
Our mission in the School Counseling Office is to provide a safe and open environment for discussion and processing of social emotional, family and academic issues. We provide immediate, short and long term care and intervention for a variety of social emotional, and academic needs.
*We believe that communication and consistency are the keys to success.*
Susan Connelly - 8 Red & 8 Blue
Tanya Hague-Doehr - 8 Purple & 8 Green
Tina Broccolo - 7 Blue & 7 Red
Marisa Underberger - 7 Orange & 7 Green
HS Transition Timeline
Attention all 8th grade students and parents/guardians.
Believe it or not, it’s that time of year when we start talking about high school! Mrs. Hague-Doehr and Miss Connelly have been busy providing classroom lessons through Road Trip Nation to help 8th graders deepen their knowledge about their own strengths, skills and interests as they relate to career and post-high school choices. We want you all to be keeping your eyes on the calendar with some very important upcoming dates in mind. Below is an outline on those that are key.
- 12/20/19 Program of studies available online. This can be found on the NHS Counseling Office Webpage https://sites.google.com/newtown.k12.ct.us/school-counseling-office/home?authuser=0
- Early to mid January- Mrs. Hague-Doehr and Miss Connelly will be presenting HS course selection lessons to 8th graders in cluster classes. Students will be provided with worksheet which they will then need to bring to their HS counselor scheduling meeting in March.
- Mid January- 8th grade teachers begin to make course level recommendations through the portal - these are based on the criteria which is set by the department coordinators at Newtown High School
- End of Q2- (1/22/20) 8th grade teachers complete course level recommendations
- January 23rd- 8th Grade Counselor Coffee- parents will experience the same lesson their students received regarding HS scheduling (7:30-8:30 AM in B6 and 6:30-7:30 PM in the LMC)
- 2/4/20-(tentative date based on end of quarter needing adjustments due to weather related school closures) HS recommendations available on the portal
- 2/5/20 Incoming 9th Grade Info Night at NHS (for students and parents)
- 2/7/20 Shadow day at NHS
- 2/13/20- NHS HAWKS (honor society) and teachers from BEAT here to present to 8th graders about electives, clubs/activities and expectations.
- March 2-11- HS counselors here to schedule students in 1:1 meetings set for 10 minutes each.
- Occasionally monitor your child's planner to see that HW assignments are being written down daily. Or have your child check the websites of the cluster teachers.
- Study with your child by reviewing for tests in a fun way.
- Monitor organization of notebooks. Remember that we all like to have control over our own "stuff". Help your child to explore what system works for THEM!! As adults, we have worked through many systems to find an organization style that works for us. That doesn't necessarily mean that it will work for others.
- Be sure that there is a quiet clutter-free area for HW to be done in.
- HW is best done in an area where parents can monitor. Teens will be teens and their focus may need redirecting frequently.
- Let your child feel success by fostering them to be independent learners. Allow them to recognize the successes as well as the failures in their lives as opportunities to learn and grow.
What Students Can Do:
- Keep your planner up-to-date (you should be writing down assignments every day). Yes you could check the websites of your teachers, but they may not always be up to date. Better to write it down!!
- Pack books into your backpack as you find you will need them for HW (i.e. so right after class, put you book into your backpack if you need it for doing HW.)
- Keep phone numbers of classmates available so that you can call each other to study when needed.
- Get together with classmates in small groups to study for tests and quizzes. It is more fun (and usually more productive) to study in small groups instead of studying by yourself.Wink
- Keep your binder organized! First, find a system that works for you whether it's having individual binders for each subject, color-coded folders for different subjects, one big accordion file to keep all the extra papers in from all subjects...etc. Second, clear out the papers at the end of each marking period. Keep the papers AT HOME (not in your locker) in separate files. You will need them at the end of the year for finals. But note: if you discover you can never find your HW or papers which you know you had the day before, you should change your system!! Come see your guidance counselor if you need help developing a new system.
- Have a quiet, distraction-free place to study and do HW. If this is not possible at home, then ask the teachers to sign you up for HW center after school.
- Use learning lab as it is supposed to be used. This is the time for you to check in with teachers you need help from or to work with others you are doing projects with. IT IS NOT SOCIAL TIME!
- Most teachers are available either after school or at learning lab for extra help. Don't let things get to the point where you are in a panic over grades. Ask questions in class and if you still need help, seek the teacher out at learning lab to ask about extra help sessions. Be a self-advocate!!
Developmetal Issues for Teens
It is normal for your teen to have mood swings- yes, boys as well as girls. Hormone surges keep your teen/preteen on the edge and very unpredictable.
They can be confused about these extreme feelings which in turn can add to their moody behavior.
Other normal developmental behaviors for teens/preteens are disorganization, clumsiness and poor memory. Their brains go under tremendous growth at this age- relevant to the same growth spurt in the first 2 years of life. This is the time that your child needs the most help with organization, forming positive study habits, and forming consistent patterns. It is very important for them to have boundaries set and followed through on. Yes, they crave freedom and independence. But they still do, even though they may argue not, need those boundaries set firmly for them. Let them know you trust that they will make the right choices and give them the opportunity to prove this to you. If they falter, follow through with a good discussion on how trust has been compromised and it will not be so easy for you to give them that bit of freedom next time.
They look for your approval at this age.
They look for your guidance (even if it doesn't seem so).
They are trying desperately to figure out who they are now and who they want to be in the future.
Sometimes, they want to stand out.
Other times, they want to be invisible.
Parents, support your middle schooler by listening and participating in their daily going-ons. Read up on "How to survive the teenage years" There are many wonderful resources out there.
Some suggestions on books to read are:
"Grounded For Life?!" by Louise Fleton Tracy
"Parenting to Build Character in Your Teen" by Michael Sl Josephson, Val J. Peter and Tom Dowd
"Organizing the Disorganized Child"- Kutscher
"Late, Lost and Unprepared- Parnts Guide"- Cooper
"Where's my Stuff- The Ultimate Teen Organizing Guide"- Moss
"Don't Give me that Attitude!" by Michele Borba
"One to One" personal counseling tapes for teens
Please feel free to call your child's guidance counselor at 426-7644 if you have any
We are here to help!
Helping Your Teen with Grief
There are many loops in grief. We refer to them as "loops" instead of "stages" because they truely can be cyclical. You can experience shock, denial, isolation, anger, bargaining, sadness, depression and acceptance. There is no specific timeframe involved and everyone will experience grief in their own way. Some may be sullen, some laugh, some cry, some feel numb. You may move through the loops in days, weeks or even years. All are ok. All are normal. If you feel though that you or someone you know who is grieving is "stuck" in a particular loop, you may want to contact a counseling support as outlined below.
Teenagers understand the finality of death. There is no magic in the person "coming back". Teens, just like adults, may have many questions surrounding death. Questions that may have no immediate answers. Be patient. Be honest. Listen and know when it is time to seek additional support.
Our middle school library has a wonderful book filled with practical ideas for understanding and expressing grief. It is titled "Healing Your Grieving Heart- For Teens" by Dr. Alan Wolfelt. It is just one of many resources that our library has.
If your teen needs a support group, you may want to contact any of the following: Newtown Youth Services at 270-4335 or 426-8103, Healing Hearts in Danbury at 792-4422, The Cove at 800-750-COVE. (Healing Hearts and The Cove are both grief support group centers.) If you need cancer support goups, you may wish to contact Ann's Place at 790-6568.Your middle school counselors are here every day to support you and your teen. So if you have any questions or need guidance of any kind, please do not hesitate to call us. 426-7644
What Does a Counselor Do?
Please note that counseling sessions are confidential and we maintain this confidentiality for all who come through our office.
A counselor has many jobs. Take a look below to see what it is that we do:
* Teach developmental counseling lessons for all cluster classes at different points throughout the year.
* See students in small groups or on an individual basis as needed (topics may include bereavement, divorce, social skills, relationships, study skills, anger management, etc).
* Confer with cluster teachers at formal cluster meetings on a weekly basis
* Informally confer with staff on a daily basis.
* Counsel students regarding below average grades and make a plan for improvement.
* Contact parents as needed and attend parent conferences.
* Schedule all students.
* Make necessary scheduling changes.
* Meet with parents as needed to assist with any concerns.
* Refer parents to community resources, if needed.
* Confer with other mental health professionals.
* Attend Pupil Planning Team (PPT) meetings for any special services that a student may have.
* Provide parents with additional resources via our website links.
* Assist teachers with interventions for academic, behavioral, social/emotional concerns.
* Assist students with applications for private high schools.
* Assist students with their transition to Newtown High School.
* Act as a resource of information to staff and parents.
* Orient and register all new students.
* Plan and organize Career Day for 8th grade students.
* Case manager for all students with 504 plans.
* Organize transition events to orient Reed students to the Middle School.