Counselor Corner

A School Counseling Blog

  • A modern school counselor offers comprehensive services in Academics, Social/Emotional Support, and College/Career Exploration. The purpose of this blog is to help you learn more about these topics and have a way to connect with the school counselor. 

    Remember, if you ever want to set up a time to talk to Amanda, you can request a meeting through THIS google form.


  • Spread Kindness, Not COVID

    Posted by Amanda Sitron on 11/25/2020

    I have to give credit where credit is due, so "Thank You" to Chris who inspired this blog entry title. For the past two weeks I have been visiting advisories and we have been discussing gratitude. This was an extension of this month's theme on Kindness, but also timely with Thanksgiving coming up. 

    Did you know gratitude has been scientifically linked to better mental health? We discussed what gratitude is, why its important, and how its related to kindness. After that discussion, I had students share what they are grateful for. Here's what they came up with:

    JGESA gratitude

    As we finish the month of November, its a final push for students to make entries into the Kindness Competition. Information was made available to students on the Bulletin Boad. Take a look, and take advantage of National Acts of Kindness Day this Friday, November 27th to submit some entries!

    As we go back into distance learning, don't be shy to send me an email about any needs, whether it be struggling with mental health during COVID isolation, college and career planning, or looking for Academic support. 

    Be well!

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  • What does a school counselor do?

    Posted by Amanda Sitron on 11/5/2020

    School Counselor

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  • Skills Rubric

    Posted by Amanda Sitron on 10/20/2020

    Have you all heard of the JGESA Skills Rubric? Being fairly new here, it has been really exciting learning about this foundational assessment that is used to support our students. It measures so many of those non-cognitive "soft skills", that are indicators of their ability to find success in their goal setting, their relationships, navigating high school, and overall employability. This approach to student learning is growth is something that I believe to be very unique.

    Skills Rubric

    For the next two weeks I will be visiting all advisories to chat with students about the Skills Rubric, and the value in reflecting on their own skillset, developing goals, and working on them througout the year. This metacognitive approach is something that is well-supported by research to improve a student's learning and skill building. 

    Even more so, the skills rubric incorporates many facets of a students overall wellness, as portrayed by the Wellness Wheel. The Wellness Wheel depicts all the facets of a person's holistic health, and if you compare it to the Skills Rubric, you'll see quite a bit of crossover.

    Wellness Wheel

    Soon, students will be doing a self-assessment on the Skills Rubric. What a fantasitic opportunity for them to identify their strengths and areas of growth, and to set goals based off of the results. Advisors will be supporting the growth of these skill areas by incorporating them into the modules in Headrush. As students delve into this, it might be a good conversation topic around the dinner table. 

    As always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact me: asitron@jgesa.org.

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  • College Knowledge Month and FAFSA Kickoff

    Posted by Amanda Sitron on 9/30/2020

    Tomorrow is the official start to "College Knowledge Month". During this month I will be visiting advisories and discussing career and college exploration, and will be available for support with college application questions (just send me an email!). 

    CKM

    Tomorrow is also the first day the FAFSA opens up to Seniors and their families. By filling out the FAFSA, it gives students access to Loans, Scholarships, and Grants available through the colleges they intend to enroll in. See THIS website for step by step support through the application. Although colleges may have later deadlines for the application, some do give 1st come 1st served awards of financial aid. 

    FAFSA

    Remember that there are many colleges that are test optional this year, especially due to COVID-related testing difficulties. Furthermore, many colleges waive application fees sometime during the month of October to celebrate College Knowledge Month. 

    Have fun exploring careers and educational pathways this month, and let me know if you have any questions!

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  • Guidance Curriculum

    Posted by Amanda Sitron on 9/21/2020

    Hello everyone!

    Its a "thing" in the school counseling world that we are no longer referred to as guidance counselors, because we do so much more than guidance. Modern school counselors offer comprehensive programming in the areas of academics, college and career, and social/emotional areas. However, we do still provide guidance!

    Within the next two weeks I will be attending all advisories to provide guidance curriculum about three things: A Virtual Calming Room Module in Headrush, the PSP (Postsecondary Plan) Module in Headrush, and a needs assessment. 

    I am really excited about the Virtual Calming Room module that I created in Headrush. Since we have students accessing their education from so many places, they don't necessarily always have access to their coping mechanisms that they may normally use. This module has videos, activities, and app suggestions that were chosen with the intention of being a way to take a break and invite calm into the day, if needed. Students are welcome to go into the Headrush Warehouse, and make this module actove for their own Headrush Dashboard. I encourage students to add their own resources that work well for them, and to discuss with their advisor what they could do to earn some Health Learning Targets, if they wanted to take a deeper dive with it.

     Calming Room Module

    The PSP Module is only for high schoolers. The purpose of this module is to explore potential careers after high school, and what type of education or training might be necessary to obtain employment in those careers. Every high schooler should have this as an active module in their Headrush. Parents- I encourage you to ask your student to show you what they are doing in this module!

    Finally, students will be participating in a needs assessment. The goal of this assessment is to guide my work for the school year. Modern school counselors use data driven approaches to their work, in order to increase our effectiveness and provide the most relevant services. The needs assessment is a short google form, where students can indicate areas where they would like to learn more or receive more support in the academic/college and career/social emotional domains.

    The year is off and running, and I look forward to connecting with the students this year through this guidance curriculum. As always, feel free to email me with any questions or concerns!

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  • Back to School!

    Posted by Amanda Sitron on 9/9/2020

    Hello JGESA Community!

    Welcome to the Counselor’s Corner Blog. I am excited to have a new opportunity to connect with you all and provide you with resources, tools, and methods to find success during your time at JGESA and beyond. 

    It has been quite the summer! I have enjoyed water adventures with my family, going to the beach and river kayaking whenever possible. Both of my kids have summer birthdays, so that is also always a fun time for our family. Beyond that, the JGESA team and I have been preparing for what may come in these uncertain times and how that may impact the school year. However, I can say that it has been an opportunity to tap into the creative side of my career to try out and develop innovative approaches to school counseling. Whatever may come, I am privileged to serve the JGESA community for the upcoming school year, and have tons of ideas that I look forward to implementing.

    Some news on the college and career front: Many colleges are going test optional, meaning that they will not require ACT/SAT scores to admit students. See THIS website for a fairly comprehensive listing. However, some course placements and private scholarships may still be impacted by scores from these tests, so I would encourage you to contact your post-secondary options to get full details. As of now, JGESA is still planning on offering the ACT in October, but students can always sign up for a national test date at ACT.org. Keep your eyes open for more information coming soon. 

    If you had a chance to read my back to school letter, you’ll see some tips I’ve given for the school year. Academically, we may have to flit between various plans depending on what is necessary to keep our community healthy. As a parent and an educator, I know how difficult it is to maintain a sense of normalcy, when we can’t expect anything to be “normal”. That being said, I encourage everyone to take a look at the three plans that we may utilize during the school year, and plan how your family will best try to stick to a routine that allows for as much normalcy as possible. Think about how your child will attend to their academic needs such as checking in with their advisories, meeting with advisors, and working on their projects. How will they get the physical activity that is built into their school day? And of equal importance, how will your student get breaks from the screen time that is increased during distance and hybrid learning options? Attendance is a basic building block for a successful academic experience, and that was evident in the spring successes we saw from students who regularly checked in and met with advisors.

    Please refer to my back to school letter for some mental health resources. Do not hesitate to reach out to an advisor or myself if mental health is beginning or continuing to be a struggle. Also, consider proactively incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine. Mindfulness has been a hot topic of study, and many researchers are finding that it can reduce depression and anxiety, and increase cognitive functioning. Headrush has a virtual calming room module available for students to access as they would like. HERE you can also find a free series of webinars hosted by Change to Chill. Take a look and see if any of the topics would be of value to you and your family!

    Until next time, take care and be well.

    -Amanda

     

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