Sweetwater is fortunate to have two fantastic guidance counselors: Ms. Howard & Ms. Elliot!
Our guidance program includes:
- Monthly guidance lessons in every class
- Small group and individual counseling
- Community Kindness Activities
- Red Ribbon Week
- 5th grade student government
Welcome! The counseling program at Sweetwater Elementary School is comprised of many components designed to help your child have an enjoyable and successful school year. As your school counselor, I work with parents and students in many ways by providing a variety of services. Each service is aimed toward helping children learn and develop to their highest potential. Some of these services include classroom guidance, individual counseling, and group counseling.
An important part of any comprehensive, developmental guidance program is classroom guidance. Classroom guidance allows the counselor access to all the students in the building for character education and relationship building which opens doors for students to feel more comfortable speaking to the counselor one on one when problems arise. By visiting each classroom once a month throughout the school year, counselors are able to build upon their lessons over the course of the year as well as from one year to the next. They can also address issues specific to the individual needs of each classroom. The counselor is first and foremost an advocate for ALL the children he or she serves.
The guidance lessons are based on approximate developmental levels of the students in each grade and the typical issues that face these classrooms. This determination was and continues to be based upon yearly needs assessments, staff, and student input. Within each guidance group are lessons that illustrate the ideas and skills the students need to learn and understand and are based on current counseling state standards. The lessons are designed to be experiential in nature as brain compatible theory indicates that we tend to remember more when we experience it.
With a full time counselor in residence, one on one counseling services are available to children for a variety of issues. These services can be provided on a weekly or as needed basis. Referrals can come from parents, teachers, staff, or the student. Counselor/Student confidentiality is honored at all times except in cases of possible harm to self or others and report of abuse. Students are encouraged to discuss their feelings and concerns with their parents.
Group counseling is a service provided to kindergarten through fifth grade students. Students may be invited to join a small group during the course of the school year. A school counselor can cover many issues in small group counseling such as family change/divorce, grief, self-esteem, etc...
Each year is a bit different and the needs of the current groups usually dictate what types of groups are offered. I will always ask for written parent permission before including a student in a small counseling group.
Confidentiality is an important part of small group work, but it can be a difficult concept for kids, In order to avoid the problems that arise when students go home and tell their parents they can't share anything about group because "it's a secret," I usually explain it like this: each student can feel free to share what the topic was in group or what he or she said in group but not what other students have shared. Students who break the confidentiality of group and discuss things outside of group with others may be asked to leave the group. Small groups are for sharing and problem-solving and all students should feel safe in their group.