Miller counselors understand this is a role that is new to many students and parents, so here's a helpful overview.
Here is a description of middle school counselors from the American School Counselor Association website:
Middle 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.
The role of a school counselor is to 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. School counseling programs are essential for students to achieve optimal personal growth, acquire positive social skills and values, and realize full academic potential to become productive, contributing members of the world community.
While the above information provides a brief summary, below are some specific ways "we", the counselors, support students and parents:
- As part of the school-year kick-off assembly (for all students), we describe the school counselor role and how to set an appointment to meet with us.
- In October, we go into the 6th grade classrooms and discuss how to have a positive middle school experience—both socially and academically.
- Miller counselors meet one-on-one with students to listen and advise in various areas, such as: peer relationships, family challenges, academic tips and strategies, transitioning to middle school, preparation for high school, and grief and loss (to name a few).
- There are times when a student may need special accommodations in the classroom due to a physical disability or injury, and we work with the family and Miller staff through the intervention process to ensure students are getting the academic support they need.
- We facilitate weekly social groups—Game Crew for boys and Thursday Lunch Club (TLC) for girls—to help students connect with others as well as work on appropriate social behavior in a fun, interactive environment.
- Each year we determine other student needs, and we have facilitated groups covering the following areas: organization and goal setting, stress and anxiety, divorce, confidence and leadership, and general social skills (making and keeping friends).
- When more extensive support is needed, we work closely with counseling agencies and other organizations in the community to provide resources for families.
- Besides visiting the 5th grade classrooms to share information about middle school, we also go into the middle school classes to present elective options for the following year. Over the summer we create the master schedule and work diligently to get each student the classes they need and elect.
- We are also available for parents should needs, questions or concerns arise.
Because there are only two school counselors at Miller, we split the student population by last name. If you or your child would like to meet with one of us, Michelle Wang works with students with last names that start with A-L, and Kelsey Riley works with students with last names that start with M-Z.
We look forward to getting to know you and your children throughout their years at Miller!