Students met with me the week of August 28-September 7. We played, "Skittles with Ms. Swinsburg", a colorful game that introduces students to my role as their counselor. A letter was sent home introducing the counseling program to families (see below).
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Thank you for the opportunity to be your child’s school counselor this year. School counselors are advocates, teachers, and consultants who work with teachers, parents, principals, community members, and professionals for the benefit of students. As a teacher (elementary level) for 5 years and counselor of all age levels (6 years), I am eager to begin my 12th year in my favorite educational position… elementary counseling! The 645 students I serve at Echo Hills and Fishcreek Elementary Schools are all important to me. While many roles in education are familiar to the masses, such as, “third grade teacher” or “custodial staff”, a school counselor’s role is continually shaped by the needs of students. To help you understand my role better, I’ve provided the following breakdown of a “typical” rotation at my two elementary schools, which align with counselor “best practice” use of time, roles, and services.
Guidance Curriculum (40-50% of the day):
This portion is my “teaching role.” I see classrooms roughly twice a month on our elementary school Encore rotation schedule. Social skills, personal well-being, academic success, and careers are covered as recommended by the American School Counselor Association. Counseling class time is also set aside for addressing other topics as needed.
Responsive Services (30 to 40% of the day):
When student needs arise, I address them with the support of our wonderful staff. I meet with students individually, connect students and parents to resources as needed, work with groups of students struggling socially, academically, or personally. Conferences, parent meetings, and community connections are also a part of “responsive services.”
System Support (10 to 15% of the day):
This role includes creating and maintaining important school wide programs. At Echo Hills and Fishcreek, some examples include supporting our PAWS positive behavior school program, working with administration and community members for specialized programs (Red Ribbon Week, Bulldog Bags Food Program), conducting research, and supporting other school initiatives.
Individual Planning (5 to 10% of the day):
As needed, I collaborate with teachers, administration, other professionals, and parents to address academic, personal/social, or behavioral concerns of students.
I look forward to working with your child this year. Please visit my website (on our school website, www.smfschools.org) for updates on our counseling program.
At Your Child’s Service,
Ms. Swinsburg, School Counselor