Keep Calm! A School Counselor Can Help!
Just a note to say hello…from your Metzgar Elementary School Counselor, Mrs. Pritts!
My greatest wish is that everyone in our community is staying safe and healthy, enjoying relaxed time with family, and catching some much-needed sunshine during these Spring-like days of March!
As we ALL quickly approach this “unprecedented and unpredictable” NEW world of virtual learning, the School Counseling Department would like to share some initial plans to continue providing school counseling services to students and their families.
First and Foremost, per ASCA (American School Counselor Association) recommendations, we would like to communicate a few differences that will accompany our “virtual school counseling”. As we continue to adhere to the same ethical guidelines as in face-to-face school counseling settings, we recognize the challenges and limitations of providing similar services and activities in a virtual setting. An apparent limitation is confidentiality, due to other unintended viewers or recipients of information being exchanged via electronic devices. We recognize this, and will do our best to find ways to alleviate this issue as we move forward with our plans. We will also educate students on how to engage in this virtual school counselor-student relationship to minimize potential misunderstandings that could occur due to lack of verbal cues/inability to read body language as is typical in the face-to-face setting. (Referenced from ASCA National Model: Fourth Edition, 2019)
Second, to initially implement a procedure for students/families to access their school counselor for individual needs. If you need to speak individually with me, please send me an email and we can set up a time to talk “online” or by phone.
And Last But Not Least, we would also like to begin sharing a list of some key aspects that can make a huge difference in this change in our daily lives.
Being pulled from your usual routine, friends, family, and extracurriculars are incredibly confusing for children and adults alike. We hope to be a resource for all of you as we navigate these waters together.
*Please Note: As with any resource(s) you find or given to you, please review, reflect, and make a personal decision about what is truly helpful for you and your family!
*This list was created by Marie Mahovetz, a school counselor from a Pre-K through 5th school in Florida. A Big Thanks to Marie for sharing this with her fellow counselors so we can share with you!
1) Curiosity - Your student(s) may be getting curious about what’s going on and asking some tough questions regarding what COVID-19 is all about. The CDC provided an excellent video directed to children with information on the virus here. The news channel may also be on intermittently while you are hunkered down at home so here are some things to consider when ADULT information is going into YOUNG minds - find it here.
2) Anxiety/Worry - The confusion mentioned above can lead to some more difficult days ahead. In the face of anxious feelings and/or worry, please find a valuable 2-pager with conversation points and strategies here.
3) Time Management - It’s hard to not feel like you’re on vacation when school is out as a child. Time management and screen time limitations are even harder! Common Sense Media offers a list of resources to assist you in creating these boundaries with your student(s) here
4) Virtual Learning - Below you will find some key things parents
can do to help their child achieve success in a virtual learning environment:
* Help Your Child Build a Schedule
Parent involvement is key to success in virtual courses. With the help of parents and caregivers, students need a routine to follow on a daily basis in order to effectively manage their time and to stay on track. Having a well-thought-out, specific daily schedule is key, and parents can be a huge help not only in building such a plan but also in making sure that it is followed. Common Sense Media breaks it down into chunks of time with activities here or you can find templates for daily routines below...
(Make a copy & edit to fit your own routine)
Before your child’s virtual course(s) begins, sit down together and think through what he or she is responsible for accomplishing in his or her virtual courses on a daily or weekly basis, how much time those tasks will realistically take, and what other commitments (chores, personal time, activities, etc.) he or she needs to consider. Be sure to hang up the schedule in a noticeable place, like on the refrigerator or next to any other family master calendars, to help keep your child accountable and establish an effective routine.
* Set Up a Designated Workspace
For everyone, surroundings make a huge difference in one’s mindset and ability to
focus. One of the best ways to encourage your child to complete their assignments is to create a homework/class space that's all their own.
First, consider your child's study style. If they are easily distracted, a secluded, quiet
spot is best, but if she's more comfortable working with other people around, choose a corner of the living room or kitchen. Make sure the area is free of clutter and that other family members respect "homework time."
While music may be okay at low levels, TVs should be turned off — very few people can resist becoming distracted by TV. But no matter where your child does her homework, the U.S. Department of Education recommends that the space has bright lighting, relatively quiet, and close-at-hand supplies.
Finally, let your child take part in creating his/her study space so they will feel more
comfortable and be less likely to think of homework/class as a chore. They may prefer a certain chair to sit on or your child might feel less intimidated if they have a favorite stuffed animal sitting beside them to "help" study spelling words, or if they have a "magic thinking hat" to wear when stumped by a math problem.
* Build a Relationship with Your Child’s Teachers
Luckily, we have parents who are very involved with the teachers in our classrooms so you have already formed a strong team dedicated to the success of your student(s). Communication is even more essential in a virtual learning environment so be sure to let them know what type of communication works best for you and your current situation during the school closure (access to technology, etc.) If you have questions about the course or concerns about your child’s progress, reach out and discuss them with his or her teacher. Finally, when you see your child reaching goals, making productive changes, or hitting important milestones, tell the teacher about it—it’s guaranteed that your child will appreciate the positive feedback coming from multiple angles.
Thank you for your understanding as we move forward. We are being challenged to think in a different way and come up with alternatives to what has always been a face-to-face job. We are committed to your students and look to be as available and proactive as possible during this time of uncertainty.
I hope to be a resource for you and your family throughout this journey. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any concerns. The best way to contact any school staff will be via email.