Counselor's Corner

Mrs. Mindy Markum
Counselor

Counseling Services

What do elementary school counselors do?


    Teach classroom guidance lessons  
  
    Facilitate short-term small group counseling  


    Provide immediate and short-term individual counseling  


    Work collaboratively with teachers and staff  


    Consult with parents  


    Provide information and/or referrals for community resources to families
Mindy Markum

Contact Info:
PH: 940-427-2881 ext. 1014

mmarkum@alvordisd.net

Why do we need elementary school counselors?

    A deliberate and comprehensive approach to teaching children social and emotional skills can raise their grades and test scores, increase enthusiasm for learning, reduce behavior problems, and enhance cognitive functioning.
 
   Students who receive social skills instruction do better academically and socially but the reverse is not true (academic instruction does not increase social/emotional skills).

 
   There is a strong connection between emotions and learning. Students who can recognize and manage strong emotions are better learners.

  
  Students who attend schools with a comprehensive guidance program do significantly better on standardized tests such as the ITBS and STAAR than students who attend schools without a comprehensive guidance program. The longer the students are in schools with comprehensive guidance programs, the more they outperform their peers on standardized tests.

 
   Prosocial behaviors exhibited by students in the classroom were found to be better predictors of academic achievement than were their standardized test scores.


Here is a short video about what school counselors do:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=F38vcHf5Xfc
Guidance Lessons
Guidance lessons are an integral part of the elementary school counseling program and important to every students' academic success. One of the most effective ways for school counselors to help prevent academic problems is by discussing self-esteem issues such as peer relationships, stress, or dealing with feelings and emotions in large group guidance lessons in the classroom. The lessons are preventative in nature, designed to reach all students, and are taught in the classroom regularly by the counselor.


To learn more details about the specific curricula and programs used in the guidance lessons, please view the section 'Curricula and Programs'.
Small Group Counseling
The purpose of small group counseling is to complement and enhance students' learning by improving their perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors. Small group counseling provides a safe setting where children, along with their peers, can increase their self awareness and improve their cooperation and communication skills. The children can learn from each other. Ultimately the goal of small group counseling is to prevent problems in the future by teaching children new skills. Every child can benefit from participation in a small group. Students can be invited to join a group by parent request, teacher or counselor suggestion, or by the students themselves.


Students must have parent permission to participate in a small groups. Letters describing what the group process is all about, with a permission slip enclosed, are sent to parents.  Students must return the permission form before they can participate in a small group.
Individual Counseling
Elementary school counselors are available to meet individually with a student in circumstances when a student's educational success is being impacted. The school counselor spends time working with individual students to improve their social skills, discuss feelings, and to empower problem solving methods.


Elementary school counselors assist ALL children. While a counselor cannot provide on-going counseling, it may be appropriate for a student to receive short-term individual counseling. When more attention and intervention is required, school counselors can act as a referral agent for parents to access counseling services within the community.

To get an idea of what to expect at a typical session with the school counselor, you can view the webpage 'What to Expect at an Appointment' under the section 'Making an Appointment'.
Collaborate with Teachers and Staff
Both teachers and counselors have similar goals: the educational success of each student. So, it is important that school counselors collaborate with teachers and administrators to promote student learning. If a student is having problems in a classroom, school counselors will join together with teachers to come up with some practical strategies which will remove educational barriers and enhance the learning environment of that student.
Consult with Parents
Parents and school counselors speak with each other to help the child/student on a variety of issues such as new school registration and transition, special needs, family transitions, and crisis situations. Studies have shown that children have greater academic achievement when their parents are involved in their education. Parental involvement is critical to helping a child be a successful student. Both parents and counselors can share information with each other to help meet the needs of the student. Additionally, school counselors can help put parents in touch with community resources, if the need arises.  

 
Community Resources
School counselors can provide short-term individual counseling for students, but when more intervention is required, they can coordinate referrals to community agencies.  Below is a list of local mental health agencies and other social service providers. If these agencies do not meet your needs, please contact the school counselor, who has a longer, more comprehensive list of social service providers.
Counseling Permission Forms
If you would like your child to receive counseling at school, you will need to complete an informed consent form.  Each form includes a page about confidentiality, a page for your signature, and a concerns checklist.  If you have any questions please call the counselor at 940-427-2881ext.

Curricula and Programs

 

National Standards  The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) is an organization that supports school counselors' efforts to help students in their academic, personal/social, and career development. ASCA has developed national standards for all students, which define the knowledge or skills students should acquire from the result of participating in a school counseling program. The guidance lessons taught in the classrooms are organized and influenced with these national standards in mind.  

Academic Development

    Students will acquire the attitudes, knowledge, and skills contributing to effective learning in school and across the lifespan.  
    Students will complete school with the academic preparation essential to choose from a wide range of substantial post-secondary options, including    college.  
    Students will understand the relationship of academics to the world of work and to life at home and in the community.

Career Development

    Students will acquire the skills to investigate the world of work in relation to knowledge of self and to make informed career decisions.  
    Students will employ strategies to achieve future career goals with success and satisfaction.  
    Students will understand the relationship between personal qualities, education, training, and the world of work.

Personal / Social Development

    Students will acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and interpersonal skills to help them understand and respect self and others.  
    Students will make decisions, set goals, and take necessary action to achieve goals.  
    Students will understand safety and survival skills.

Kelso's Choice Resolution Program
There are many picture books that cover a wide array of social, emotional, or behavioral issues in young children's lives.   Reading books to your children on some of these topics can be a great way to start a conversation with your child about problems that need to be addressed. Listed below are a few books that can be very helpful.  You can click on the titles or the book covers and be linked to a more information on Amazon.com, but all these books are also available at our local North Central Regional Library.

Books About Interpersonal Communication:

Personal Space Camp by Julia Cook (ages 4-8)

Words are Not for Hurting by Elizabeth Verdick (ages 4-8)

My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook (ages 4-8)

Books About Managing Emotions:

Sometimes I'm a Bombaloo by Rachel Vail (ages 4-8)

You Get What You Get by Julie A. Gassman (ages 4-8)

Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes (ages 4-8)

What to do When You Worry Too Much by Dawn Huebner and Bonnie Matthews (ages 6-12)

Books About Dealing with Divorce:

Dinosaurs Divorce by Marc Brown (ages 4-8)

What in the World do You Do When Your Parents Divorce? by Kent Winchester (ages 7 & up)

Books About Loss and Grief:

The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers (ages 4-8)

Tear Soup by Pat Schwiebert and Chuck DeKlyen (ages 8 & up)

Books About Friendships and Bullying:

Stand Up for Yourself & Your Friends: Dealing with Bullies and Bossiness and Finding a Better Way by Patti Kelley Criswell (ages 8 & up)

Cliques, Phonies, and Other Baloney by Trevor Romain (ages 8 & up)

Making an Appointment

Reasons for an Appointment
There are many reasons that a student may want to make an appointment to see the school counselor.  Below are some examples of the most common reasons.

    a fear or a worry  
    difficulties in making and getting along with friends  
    a family problem  
    a school problem

A student may also be referred by a teacher or a parent to see the school counselor for various reasons.  Below are some examples of the most common reasons:

    Classroom or School Behavior Problems- shyness or aggression, motivational issues, daydreaming, test anxiety, constantly needs attention, or poor organization / study habits   
    Situational Adjustment Problems- transitions and loss through death, divorce, separation, blended families, new home, new school, or illness  
    Peer Difficulties- difficulties making or keeping friends, bullying or being bullied, or sibling relationship issues

A parent may want to make an appointment with the school counselor for various reasons.  Below are some examples of the most common reasons:

    Parenting Difficulties- discipline, communication, parenting skills, or homework issues  
    Child's Behavioral Issue- bullying, getting along with peers, or other social/emotional concerns  
    Referrals- parents may seek more intensive services for their child or family and the counselor can provide a list of local behavioral healthcare options

What to Expect at an Appointment
What might a student expect when meeting with the counselor?


    Talking about things that are important to the student  
    Working on a plan to reach a goal  
    Reading stories that help them learn and understand more about themselves  
    Playing games to learn ways to relate with others

What might a parent expect when meeting with the counselor?

    Meeting with a certified, specially trained mental health professional  
    Working out a plan for the child/student to be successful

Parent Resources


Recommended Books

The booklists below includes a number of books that can be very helpful for parents. If you click on the book title, you will be connected to a link on Amazon.com, where you can find more in-depth information. However, each book on these lists can also be found within our local North Central Regional Library system.

General Parenting Books:

Positive Discipline A-Z: 1001 Solutions to Everyday Parenting Problems by Jane Nelson, Lynn Lott, and H. Stephen Glenn
(This book offers an optimistic approach to disciplining kids with nonpunitive, constructive solutions.  It covers planning ahead to prevent problems, understanding kids, and giving kids life skills.)

1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 by Thomas W. Phelan
(This book offers a method of disciplining children without arguing, yelling, or spanking)

Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay
(This book shows parents how to raise self-confident, motivated children by focusing on responsibility and growing character)

Books About Bullying:

Little Girls Can Be Mean by Michelle Anthony
This book offers a four step plan to help parents offer support for the friendships and social difficulties that face young girls as young as age 5.

The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander: From Preschool to High School-How Parents and Teachers Can Help Break the Cycle by Barbara Coloroso
A compassionate and practical guide to bullying. It covers information about how to identify bullies and protecting your child from succumbing to bullying.

Recommended Websites

Below is a list of websites that can be very useful for parents.

General Parenting Advice:

onetoughjob.org This website provides parents with current, reliable, and practical information on a variety of parenting topics

PBS Parents This website is filled with information on child development and early learning

parenting.org This website offers resources for better parenting and answers many common questions that parents have. The website also offers free downloadable e-books

ADHD:

kidshealth.org This website has some great information about identifying ADHD, how it is treated, and what parents can do to help your child at home and in the classroom

National Institute Mental Health This website is a great resource for learning in-depth information on ADHD such as the causes of it and the treatment for it

Bullying:

education.com This website provides expert advice and many articles for parents on the topic of bullying

Anxiety:

Anxiety Disorders Association of America This website offers information and support for those who suffer from anxiety and there is a section specifically about anxiety in children and what parents can do to help

Just for Kids
Kid's Health logo
Kids.gov logo
Kid's Health This website covers topics for the health of the body, but also the mind. It has a special category about "Dealing with Feelings" with articles about school, home and family, emotions and behaviors, and friends.
kids.gov This is the official kids portal for the US government. It links over 2000 web pages from government agencies, schools, and educational organizations, all geared toward the learning level and interest of kids. There is a great section that provides a lot of information on a variety of careers.