PS counselors report on building programs

By Kelsey Kimbler -

CAMDEN — Preble Shawnee Local Schools’ counseling team gave an update during the board meeting on Thursday, Nov. 29. Each counselor broke down techniques used in their building, and the impact the programs have had.

Camden Primary Counselor Abbie Steele began with her presentation.

She utilizes a tier process in her building, broken down from building-wide to small groups and one-on-one counseling.

Tier three is building-wide counseling:

•Steele has implemented Mindfulness Monday, where teachers have access to a video through Google drive. In that video, Steele teaches a lesson on mindfulness. She began this program to address cases of trauma that are undiagnosed at this point.

•She is also in every classroom once a month for classroom guidance.

•She recently asked every classroom what they “wish their counselor knew.”

Tier two is small group counseling:

•Steele has 65 students in eight different group topics. In 2016/2017, she had 24 students in six groups. In 2017/2018, she had 61 students in nine groups.

•One of the new groups is directly focused on trauma.

Tier one is programming intended to meet individual needs, which includes one-on-one counseling and phone calls to parents.

West Elkton Intermediate Counselor Nikki Davidson has a goal to meet with every class twice a month. Some of those groups have extra library or computer lab once a month. This way, counseling is not taking away from any academics.

“Our goal is to make sure every student feels safe, welcome, cared for, and loved whenever they come into our school,” Davidson said.

Teachers are being encourage to hold regular classroom meetings in their rooms in order to build a closer relationship as a classroom. This time is not meant to be academic based, but to build relationships.

“Start with Hello” week was held in September. The goal of this program was to end social isolation and make every student feel welcomed in the classrooms. This was done by greeting every student as they come into the building. This has stayed in place, as students are still welcomed as they enter the building.

Davidson also began student needs assessments, where she surveys teachers to find the strongest needs in their grades. This gives Davidson an idea on what to work on when she enters each classroom.

Sixth grade is about to begin growth mindset lessons, but in the future Davidson hopes to start with younger students. These lessons will teach students to work towards their goals and learn from their mistakes.

The Junior and Senior High School has two different Guidance Counselors. Ami Stevenson is the counselor for grades seven through nine and Rich Godfrey is the counselor for student grades 10-12. Stevenson attended the board meeting to give their update.

In September, 12 Preble Shawnee students received training at Tri-County North on suicide prevention. In October, the entire school participated in suicide prevention. They met with every student in seventh through 12th grade. Every student is given an anonymous check-list and opportunity to meet with counseling staff if they have feelings of depression.

There were 14 students seen by Gebhart Counseling this year, which is a decrease of 22 percent.

The school also kicked off “Start With Hello,” to end social isolation.

“Social isolation leads our kids to have situations that lead them to be left out, that cause them to do things they wouldn’t normally do. We did the Start with Hello program. Junior High is a little different than elementary. Junior High kids don’t want to open up and tell things like little kids like to tell lots of things,” Stevenson said.

“We incorporated a lot of our students to be like peer mentors, so they could talk to our students and find out where they need help or what the problem is. My numbers are higher than they ever have been. I have seen 27 percent more kids at this point already this year than I did last year.”

Preble Shawnee Success Liaison Christine Wilson also gave a report detailing her involvement with the three buildings in the district.

“My job is to work with the families, connecting them with resources to address the basic needs they have at home. Also, build that bridge between school, home, and community. A lot of the issues they’re facing at home are causing them social and emotional issues at school. We work closely with the counselors and all the staff at the schools to get referrals,” Wilson said.

By Kelsey Kimbler

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH