Three counselors from the district (Ms. Broman from the high school, Mrs. Shannon from the middle school, and Mrs. Skalla from the elementary) are completing Counselor Academy being offered through Heartland AEA. This is an in depth, year-long training which will guide the district in the development and implementation of a comprehensive counseling program at Greene County Schools. “What is a comprehensive counseling program?”, you may ask. According to the American School Counseling Association (ASCA), a comprehensive school counseling program improves a range of student learning and behavioral outcomes (Carey & Dimmitt, 2012). Through collaboration with students, teachers, and families the program is comprehensive in scope, preventive in design and developmental in nature. The ASCA National Model brings school counselors together with one vision which creates unity and focus toward improving student achievement and social-emotional learning while supporting student development. The district’s counseling team is working to develop a comprehensive school counseling program that will support success for all.
In accordance to the GCCSD Career and Guidance plan, all seventh and eighth graders will be experiencing a college visit this fall. This opportunity will allow middle school students to see firsthand a college campus, expand their awareness of higher education and future career paths. Early exposure to a college campus allows middle school students to realize college can be part of their future. The seventh graders will be going to Iowa Central Community College and eighth graders will visit Iowa State University.
The Second Step for Middle School curriculum is beginning at the middle school. Every Wednesday Base Camp teachers facilitate a lesson on social and emotional learning (SEL) through age-appropriate games, activities, and media. Second Step SEL is a program that helps build a culture of connectedness and empowers middle schoolers with the skills and concepts to succeed socially, in academics, and in life.
There is a new face in the Elementary Counseling Program, Mary Halverson. Ms. Halverson will be the counselor for PK-2 and Mrs. Skalla will be the counselor for grades 2-4. Second grade will be split by classroom sections. Mrs. Dobney and Mrs. Smith will have Mrs. Skalla with Mrs. Ewalt and Mrs. Wilkins/Mrs. Daniel having Ms. Halverson.
Classroom counseling lessons will be a “special” this year so each class K-4 will have one 40 minute lesson each week. This is an increase of 6 hours per class per year compared to last year! We will continue using the Second Step Program working on social emotional skills of skills for learning, empathy, emotional regulation, problem solving, and friendship. We also do a unit on safety and integrate career readiness.