Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Last summer I posted about each one of the components as I wrote up the application to submit for RAMP a second time. The first time we achieved easily, but this time, under the Third Edition, we did not get 54 points when we submitted and had to redo most of our components and resubmit to achieve.  As the only full-time counselor at my elementary school, I have worked on RAMP with 3 different part-time counselors over the past several years. Both times I documented every detail of my program for the year, but did most of the writing in the summer. Our school is 700 students so during the school year between planned parts of our program and crisis response we are in survival mode most days. I am satisfied to achieve again.  It does give me satisfaction to know that a panel of reviewers verified that we have an exemplary program. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Great book Scary Mary by Bowles

This book is about a angry bird who chases away everyone who tries to be friendly, ends up feeling lonely, and then tries to repair relationships with the other animals in the barnyard. It could be used to teach bullying (see wiseowlfactory.com to download a free lesson to go with book) or about how feelings and behavior go together. The illustrations are great! I am adding it to my bookshelf.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Gender Spectrum

Another great website that was mentioned at the workshop I attended on "Sexual Identity" was genderspectrum.org Despite efforts to be inclusive of all students, one basic area of student diversity that schools rarely acknowledge is gender. While many children fit easily and naturally into our culture's binary gender options, others do not. For these children and their families, schools represent one of the greatest areas of uncertainty and fear.  However, schools can create supportive climates at their sites. Gender inclusive schools and classrooms welcoming all children and teens are within any school community's reach. This site has many great resources for use in schools (and for families).

Monday, April 7, 2014

Welcoming Schools

I just learned about this website at a workshop this afternoon. Check it out at welcomingschools.org to download a free starter kit to make your school be a safe place for all students and LGBT  families. It is sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.  You might want to become a member and get their excellent magazine "Equality." They also have some excellent short videos. 

Attendance Counts

We have a goal to raise our Average Daily Attendance rate this year.  Each day we post on this sign in our front lobby (based on the previous school day's numbers) the number of students who were in school on time and stayed all day, the number of tardy arrivals, and the number of early dismissals. We are trying to build a culture that children should be in school unless they are ill or there is a family emergency.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

I "Must Ask" You How To Solve Small Problems

This bulletin boards was the idea of our part-time counselor and executed by our outstanding parent volunteer. The kids are all in to mustaches, it has attracted a lot of attention.  It is clever and we even reused scraps from another project to make the colorful fringe at the top.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Anxiety, Stress, and Worry

I use a lot of CBT when I am working with students with many worries.  I used to draw a sketch (usually on an individual white board) showing how worry (repetitive circular thinking), anxiety (feeling of dread), and stress (our bodies response)/behavior are interconnected. Now I just made this mini chart and laminated to save time. I think it is very helpful for students to understand what is happening before we teach them how they might reduce worry, anxiety, and stress.  I typically start with cognitive strategies to address the upsetting images and irrational thoughts, but that is based on the needs of the individual student.