We made it to May. The end of the year is always bittersweet. Everyone is excited about summer and relaxing days ahead. But each year it's both sad and joyful to send our fifth graders off to middle school and our other students home for the summer. I tell my fifth graders during their lock lessons (middle school transition lessons in which they practice locker combinations) that I will miss them, but I'm also so excited for everything they have ahead of them in middle school, high school, and college. I tell them to please come back and visit me and let me know what they decided to do with their lives! This year a student said he'd come back and buy me a beach house since he'd be making lots of money as a professional athlete. I said that'd be great.
One of my favorite things to do during the school year and probably my very favorite end-of-year activity is to send the students off on the last day. All of the teachers and staff go outside and wave. The buses do two trips around the bus loop, honking their horns, and all the students lean out the windows and wave goodbye.
I hope you all have a wonderful, fun, and relaxing summer, filled with family time, down time, and adventures. Can't wait to see you in the fall!
I am amazed every year at our students in the Wax Museum. They do such a wonderful job presenting their careers and truly get into character!! The Wax Museum is a fun project that our fourth and fifth graders do each year. This satisfies Georgia's mandatory career portfolio requirement for fifth graders. Our students research a career, write a paper about it, create a poster and a script, and then present as "statues" to our younger grade levels and parent visitors. Students are "frozen" in place until a museum visitor steps on the "button" on the ground in front of the statue. Then they come to life and share about their career. I am always blown away by the amount of time and effort our students put into their projects! The younger students love visiting the museum and get to learn about a variety of careers throughout the day.
I got a phone call this week that was a big surprise. I found out that I was nominated and selected to be Fulton County's School Counselor of the Year! This was very unexpected and such an incredible honor. My counseling program can only exist as it does with the support of my amazing administrators, teachers and staff at SHE, and the wonderful parents of our students. The amount of support and encouragement I receive here is endless and so very appreciated. Thank you to Nancy Murphy, LaToya Gray, and Dennis Campbell for letting and encouraging me to run a counseling program that is actually a counseling program, for supporting my role as a school counselor following the ASCA National Model. Thank you to Fulton County Counseling Department for encouraging counselors and schools to align with ASCA and apply for RAMP recognition, truly doing what we are here to do for our students. I am beyond lucky to be at Summit Hill and couldn't be more excited about this award. I'm so glad Principal Gray and Mr. Bowen could celebrate with me at the awards dinner!
I am in awe every year of the amazing parents and community volunteers who come out to speak on Career Day. We had roughly 50 guest speakers this year! Our students truly enjoy hearing from our fabulous speakers who give of their time to share about their careers. First through fifth graders enjoyed guest speakers in their classrooms. Kindergarten and first grades also participated in Careers on Wheels, with the opportunity to see and learn about vehicle-related careers.
This event satisfies the state requirement for our students to be college and career ready, even in elementary school. Students are exposed to a variety of careers each year through classroom lessons, as well as our speakers on Career Day and our Wax Museum in May. Summit Hill earns points on CCRPI when all students participate in these lessons and learn about their grade level's assigned career clusters. Ask your child about career clusters and what they learned this year!
Thank you to everyone for another amazing event and for the time spent preparing presentations, welcoming speakers, setting up hospitality rooms, etc. We are so lucky to have such involved and willing parents at our school!
See pictures below of Careers on Wheels, first grade cafeteria tours, guest speakers, and student leaders welcoming our guests!
Kindness Week was a big hit again this year. I love seeing the students so excited about being kind and celebrating kindness throughout the week. Our theme this year was Grow Kindness, Spread Happy. Students were able to watch videos throughout the week that emphasized the importance of being kind. They also participated in special activities in their classrooms and at home to support the week.
Each grade level received a kindness "mission" this year to complete at some point during the week. They discussed and practiced skills for conflict resolution, finding solutions to every day conflict situations that might arise with friends or classmates. Students were encouraged to "mix it up" and sit or play with someone different.
Take a look at the missions each grade level received:
Draw a kind picture to make someone happy
Graffiti of Kindness-Students were asked to use chalk to write a kind message or draw something that will make someone smile on the blacktop or sidewalk (see pictures above)
Compliment slips-Students were given 5 slips of paper to write a compliment to someone
Sticky Notes-Student were asked to write a kind or positive message on a sticky note. Notes were placed on desks, doors, or given to people
Jokes-students wrote jokes to make people smile
Goody bag collection-students helped assemble bags with items collected throughout the week
The students had so much fun completing their missions. Kindness Week is always such a wonderful week, and I love partnering with SHE PTO each year to do this for our students. As amazing as the week is, however, we continue to remind students that it's always important to be kind - not just during Kindness Week! We have such leaders in our school and I enjoy hearing about their acts of kindness all throughout the year.
Did you know that there is a national model for school counseling? Did you know that school counselors have a curriculum with standards, mindsets, and behaviors that are taught in core curriculum lessons and group sessions with students?
At Summit Hill, students receive roughly one lesson a month from the counseling department. These lessons cover three domains - academic, personal/social, and career.
Students wrapped up their academic unit in November and began the personal social unit in December. Here's what students have covered so far:
K and 1 - Listening, Personal Space, Positive Outlook
2 - Listening, Following Directions, Positive Outlook
3 - Listening, Test Taking Strategies, Making Mistakes
4 and 5 - Focusing, Test Taking Strategies, Growth Mindset
K and 1 - Diversity, Problem Solving
2-4 - Diversity, Problem Solving and Point of View
5- Diversity, Point of View and Bystander Strategies
All grade levels will complete one more lesson in this unit focusing on an area of kindness and how we treat others as we gear up for Kindness Week, February 13-16! Career lessons will be introduced shortly after and will lead us into or continue our learning from Career Day, which will be on March 16th 2017.
Ask your students about what they learn in our lessons!
What a great first half of the year we have had so far! Here's a brief snapshot of a few things that have happened in the counseling department:
125+ Core Curriculum Counseling Lessons
40 group sessions (11 groups)
7 Super Specials Social Skills Sessions
1 Parent Seminar
I'm excited to see what is in store in 2017. I love working with your children and I know we'll continue to see great things in the new year!
SAVE THE DATE
Parents, we are excited to announce our third annual parent seminar. This is a free event for parents at Summit Hill.
Date: Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Tracy McConaghie, LCSW, RPT-S of McConaghie Family Counseling in Alpharetta will be speaking on
Managing Children’s Screen Time
In this presentation we will discuss the impact of excess screen time on developing children and will empower parents to make and follow through with the screen time decisions that are best for their families.
Screen time is such a hot issue in today’s world, as technology is such a big part of people’s lives. Toddlers know how to use their parents’ iPhones! So how can parents navigate this with their children? Come find out on November 1st!
Parents, if your family is experiencing a family transition (i.e. divorce, blended family, separation), your child can join our Family Change groups. The deadline to sign up is this upcoming Friday, September 23rd. These groups are a great way for your child to feel connected to others and less alone in their experience, as well as develop coping skills or simply process the changes that are occurring in his or her life. Please contact me if you have any questions about the groups.
We have had a great start to the school year! I've been busy in the counseling department as I conducted New Student groups to welcome all of our new students in 1st-5th grades, and also visited each classroom in K-5th grades for introduction lessons. During the introduction lesson I welcome students back to school, discuss why someone might need to see the school counselor, and remind them how they can come see me.
After completing introduction lessons, I began the academic unit in the classrooms. Students are exploring and practicing skills for success in the school - focusing, active/whole body listening, and following directions. We are also talking about how practicing these skills can make them a leader in their classroom. It's fun to be a part of these discussions across the grade levels and I enjoy visiting all of the classes!