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What's a Middle School Counselor?

about 1 year ago

Today’s young people are living in an exciting time, with an increasingly diverse society, new technologies, and expanding opportunities. To help ensure that they are prepared to become the next generation of parents, workers, leaders, and citizens, every student needs support, guidance, and opportunities during adolescence, a time of rapid growth and change. Early adolescents face unique and diverse challenges, both personally and developmentally, that have an impact on academic achievement.

Middle School Students' Developmental NeedsMiddle school is an exciting, yet challenging time for students, their parents and teachers. During this passage from childhood to adolescence, middle school students are characterized by a need to explore a variety of interests, connecting their learning in the classroom to its practical application in life and work; high levels of activity coupled with frequent fatigue due to rapid growth; a search for their own unique identity as they begin turning more frequently to peers rather than parents for ideas and affirmation; extreme sensitivity to the comments from others; and heavy reliance on friends to provide comfort, understanding and approval.

Meeting the ChallengeMiddle school counselors are professional educators with a mental health perspective who understand and respond to the challenges presented by today’s diverse student population. Middle school counselors do not work in isolation; rather they are integral to the total educational program. They provide proactive leadership that engages all stakeholders in the delivery of programs and services to help students achieve success in school. Professional school counselors align with the school’s mission to support the academic achievement of all students as they prepare for the ever-changing world of the 21st century. This mission is accomplished through the design, development, implementation and evaluation of a comprehensive, developmental and systematic school counseling program. The ASCA National Standards in the academic, National Model: A Framework For School Counseling Programs, with it’s data driven and results-based focus serves as a guide for today’s school counselor who is uniquely trained to implement this program.

Middle School Counselors Implement the Counseling Program by Providing:
School Guidance CurriculumAcademic skills supportOrganizational, study and test-taking skillsEducation in understanding self and othersCoping strategiesPeer relationships and effective social skillsCommunication, problem-solving, decision-making and conflict resolutionCareer awareness, exploration and planningSubstance abuse educationMulticultural/diversity awarenessIndividual Student PlanningGoal-setting/decision- makingAcademic planningCareer planningEducation in understanding of self, including strengths and weaknessesTransition planningResponsive ServicesIndividual and small group counselingIndividual/family/school crisis interventionPeer facilitationConsultation/collaborationReferralsSystem SupportProfessional developmentConsultation, collaboration and teamingProgram management and operationMiddle School Counselors Collaborate With:ParentsParent information night Communication/networking Academic planning programs Parent and family education One-on-one parent conferencing Assessment results interpretation Resource referrals College/career explorationTeachersCareer portfolio development Assistance with students’ academic plans Classroom guidance activities on study skills, career development, etc. Academic support, learning style assessment and education to help students succeed academically Classroom career speakers At-risk student identification and implementation of interventions to enhance success Parent communication/educationAdministratorsSchool climate Behavioral management plans School-wide needs assessment Student data and results Student assistance team building LeadershipStudentsPeer education Peer support Academic support School climate Leadership developmentCommunityJob shadowing, service learning Crisis interventions Referrals Parenting classes Support groups Career educationWhy Middle School Counselors?Middle school students are characterized by rapid physical growth, curiosity about their world and an emerging self-identity. Through a comprehensive developmental school counseling program, counselors work as a team member with school staff, parents and the community to create a caring, supportive climate and atmosphere whereby young adolescents can achieve academic success. Middle school counselors enhance the learning process and promote academic achievement. School counseling programs are essential for students to achieve optimal personal growth, acquire positive social skills and values, set appropriate career goals and realize full academic potential to become productive, contributing members of the world community. (Taken from

Standards for School Counseling

about 1 year ago

The Standards for School Counseling Programs in Virginia Public Schools are organized by grade level under the following goals:

Academic Development

GOALStudents will acquire the academic preparation essential to choose from a variety of educational, training, and employment options upon completion of secondary schools.

Grades 6-8

Students will:

  • MA1. Understand the relationship of personal abilities, goals, skills, 
  • interests, and motivation to academic achievement, 
  • MA2. Understand the relationship of dependability, productivity, and 
  • initiative to academic success, 
  • MA3. Understand the importance of high school course and/or program 
  • selection in relation to future academic and career options,
  • MA4. Understand high school graduation requirements, 
  • MA5. Understand individual assessment results in relation to educational 
  • progress, 
  • MA6. Demonstrate the skills needed to develop a high school educationa l 
  • plan based on ability, interest, and achievement, and4
  • MA7. Demonstrate responsibility for actions to ensure a successful
  • transition from middle school to high school.


Career Development

GOAL: Students will investigate the world of work in order to make informed career decisions

Grades 6-8

Students will:

  • MC1. Identify the relationship of course content, educational 
  • achievement, and career choices,
  • MC2. Identify personal preferences, skills, and interests that influence 
  • career choices and success,
  • MC3. Understand the effect of career choices on quality of life, 
  •  MC4. Understand that behaviors such as punctuality, courtesy, proper 
  • dress and language, and hard work are essential to success in the 
  • job market,
  • MC5. Demonstrate understanding of the education and training needed to 
  • achieve career goals,
  •  MC6. Demonstrate employability skills such as individual initiative, 
  • teamwork, problem solving, organization, and communication,
  • MC7. Use research skills to locate, evaluate, and interpret career and 
  • educational information, and
  • MC8. Demonstrate awareness of educational, vocational, and technical 
  • training opportunities available in high school.

    Personal/Social Development

    GOAL: Students will acquire an understanding of, and respect for, self and others, and the skills to be responsible citizens

    Grades 6-8

    Students will:

    • MP1. Recognize the effect of peer pressure on decision making,
    • MP2. Understand the consequences of decisions and choices, 
    • MP3. Understand the emotional and physical dangers of substance use 
    • and abuse,
    •  MP4. Use appropriate decision making and problem solving skills, 
    • MP5. Demonstrate appropriate skills for interactions with adults and 
    • developing and maintaining positive peer relationships,
    • MP6. Use appropriate communication and conflict resolution skills with 
    • peers and adults, and
    • MP7. Understand how character traits, interests, abilities, and 
    • achievement relate to attaining personal, educational, and career 
    • goals.


      You can view the entire document (K-12) of Standards for School Counseling Programs in Virginia Public Schools below.

      Check & Connect
      Check & Connect is a comprehensive intervention designed to enhance student engagement at school through relationship building, problem solving and capacity building, and persistence. A goal of Check & Connect is to school completion with academic and social competence.

      As the School Counselor, my goal is to check on students, assessing their engagement with school and learning through close monitoring of their attendance, behavior, and grades; and connect with students, offering individualized intervention in partnership with school personnel, families, and community service providers.

      If you feel that your student would benefit from the Check & Connect program, please contact me for more information.

      Small Group & Individual Counseling

      about 1 year ago

      Small Group Counseling gives students going through similar issues the chance to meet and work together; overcoming challenges and becoming stronger students. Groups meet for approximately 30 minutes, six to eight times, with no more than 6 students to a group.

      • Group topics can include, but are not limited to:
      • School anxiety
      • Separation or divorce
      • Anger management
      • FriendshipSelf-esteem
      • Organization/Study skills
      • Grief and lossIf you feel your child would benefit from small group or individual counseling, please don't hesitate to contact me.

      VA Standards of Learning & Testing

      about 1 year ago

      The Standards of Learning (SOL) for Virginia Public Schools establish minimum expectations for what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade or course in English, mathematics, science, history/social science, technology, the fine arts, foreign language, health/physical education and driver education.

      Annual assessments – including SOL tests and alternative assessments – provide information on individual student achievement including those with special needs.

      Technology-Enhanced Tests

      Online is now the primary delivery mode for all SOL assessments, although SOL tests continue to be available in paper-and-pencil format for students with a documented need. The benefits of online testing for students and schools include:

      • Faster return of student scores
      • Increased instructional and remediation time due to timely return of student results
      • Improved efficiency of data collection and management
      • Increased accuracy of student data
      • Increased security of test content and student data
      • Reduced administrative burdens on school and division staff
      • The ability to include "technology-enhanced" items that allow students to indicate their responses in ways other than multiple choice that also may demonstrate critical-thinking skills

      Virginia’s online assessment program is made possible by the General Assembly through Virginia’s SOL Technology Initiative, which provides funding for school divisions to secure and update hardware and infrastructure resources. During 2012-2013, more than 3 million assessments were administered online.


      • Practice items provide examples of the new SOL content and increased rigor and illustrate the new types of technology-enhanced items for the following:
        • Writing – grades 5 and 8 and end-of-course
        • Reading – grades 3-8 and end-of-course
        • Mathematics – Grades 3-8 and Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II
        • Science – Grades 3, 5, 8 and Biology, Earth Science and Chemistry
      • Online Writing includes teaching strategies and lesson plans, video links, SOL progression charts, graphic organizers, and resource links to assist teachers at all grade levels in the instruction of the writing process.

      National Junior Honor Society

      about 1 year ago

      What is National Junior Honor Society?

      The National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) are the nation's premier organizations established to recognize outstanding high school and middle level students. More than just an honor roll, NJHS serve to honor those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of Scholarship, Leadership, Service, Character, and Citizenship. These characteristics have been associated with membership in the organization since their beginnings in 1929.

      Today, it is estimated that more than one million students participate in activities of the NHS (High School) and NJHS (Middle School). NHS and NJHS chapters are found in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, many U.S. Territories, and Canada. Chapter membership not only recognizes students for their accomplishments, but challenges them to develop further through active involvement in school activities and community service.

      (Taken from Accessed 12/10/11)
      Who is eligible for NJHS?
      At WPMS, in accordance with national standards set by NJHS, students in 7th or 8th grade with a "B" average will be eligible to apply. While completing the informational applications, students are encouraged to provide examples of their accomplishments in the remaining areas of Leadership, Service, Character, and Citizenship.  Therefore, just because a student qualifies based on their cumulative GPA (scholarship), they will not automatically be inducted into the NJHS.
      Where can I find my GPA?
      All GPA's can be found on PowerSchool, or simply visit Mrs. Kosmowski, the School Counselor.
      Who chooses inductees into the NJHS?
      After students fill out an information sheet and the required recommendation forms from teachers and/or other adults, all of their qualifications will be reviewed by our Faculty Council.  The Faculty Council is an anonymous group of faculty members who make final decisions about who will be invited for induction into the NJHS.  The Faculty Council also serves as the group who determines if a student should be dismissed because of a failure to meet expectations in one of the five areas of Scholarship, Leadership, Service, Character, or Citizenship. The NJHS sponsors do not have a vote on the Faculty Council and will not be making any decisions regarding acceptance, rejection, or dismissal.
      What does an exemplary NJHS candidate look like?

      : Students who have a "B" average, or a cumulative GPA of 3.00 (on a 4.0 scale), as established by the local school's Faculty Council, meet the scholarship requirement for membership. These students are then eligible for consideration on the basis of service, leadership, and character (and citizenship for NJHS).

      Service: This quality is defined through the voluntary contributions made by a student to the school or community, done without compensation and with a positive, courteous, and enthusiastic spirit.

      Leadership: Student leaders are those who are resourceful, good problem solvers, promoters of school activities, idea-contributors, dependable, and persons who exemplify positive attitudes about life. Leadership experiences can be drawn from school or community activities while working with or for others.

      Character: The student of good character upholds principles of morality and ethics, is cooperative, demonstrates high standards of honesty and reliability, shows courtesy, concern, and respect for others, and generally maintains a good and clean lifestyle.

      If I'm a 6th grader, what can I do to become a better candidate for NJHS in 7th and 8th grade?
      One of the best things you can do as a 6th grader is to have really strong grades.  You should work hard every day in school because as a 7th grade inductee, you will qualify in the area of scholarship based on your grades in 6th grade!  Also, becoming involved in school clubs and activities, following all school rules and being a great role model for other students will give you strong teacher recommendations.  In addition, out side of school, you can begin to track community service hours (work in which you don't receive some kind of pay) in order to strengthen your information sheet.
      What do you do in NJHS?   
      The goal of NJHS is to build leaders and do service.  Other than that, the activities are up to the NJHS members.  Things like car washes, fundraisers, leadership retreats, and team building activites are all ideas that have been discussed, but plans will not be made until our charter members are inducted this spring.

      WPMS Yearbook
      WPMS Yearbook
      Yearbook Club will be meeting on Thursday afternoons during 8th period. Students will assist in capturing photos, designing, and editing the yearbook. See Mrs. K. if you're interested in joining!