We are committed to educating our students by providing ongoing support to address their academic, social and emotional well being. Our teachers understand and respect that each individual child is different, and strive to ensure that our educational environment supports all types of learners.
The Student Services team consists of a director who oversees the department, two learning specialists, one preschool through fourth grade counselor, one part time counselor for fifth through eighth grade, and two Chinese language support teachers. Resources in this department are not only for our students and teachers, but also for our family community.
Chinese and English Academic Language Support
Chinese language support (CLS) teachers work with individual and small groups of students to provide support in Chinese. Students referred to CLS are assessed to identify the most effective approach to assist the individual. Two full-time CLS teachers collaborate with classroom teachers to ensure that additional instruction addresses students’ needs. Possible outcomes may include in-class help, pull-out individual or small group teaching.
The Student Services team also provides English reading support for those students who need extra help. Individual and small group support is given to those students who need more attention to build skills of literacy that include phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. We have two full time reading specialists on our staff.
One of the focuses of the preschool through fifth grade and middle school counselors is to foster positive relationships and promote mutual respect, trust, support and honest communication. The counselors work with each division on strategy for laying a foundation of respect — in preschool through the Grace and Courtesy lessons, in the lower school through student participation in the development of classroom expectations and in the middle school through focus on the community code and its four elements of respect, responsibility, honesty and citizenship.
Parent meetings play a large part of the the counselors’ roles. The two counselors are available to offer support to parents, and if needed, to recommend outside resources.
Kindergarten to Fourth Grade Counseling
The K through fourth grade counselor’s role involves many aspects. We have adopted the Toolbox Project, a social and emotional learning curriculum that allows for the direct teaching of self and social awareness, self management and responsible decision making skills. For more information about social and emotional learning, please see the Toolbox Program description.
The K through fourth grade counselor also works with students to foster positive relationships through a comprehensive conflict resolution process. In Pre-K this work begins when students are taught how to use their words to navigate conflicts, e.g. “Please stop.” “When you __ it makes me feel __.” In the lower school, the counselor regularly presents class or grade level lessons on positive social problem solving. Our counselors, as part of the Student Services Team, meet regularly with teachers to assess and plan for accommodating individual students as well as working with individual students when emotional support or strategies for self-management are needed. The school counselor also serves as a resource for teachers, and helps them develop classroom community building and behavior management through the application of logical consequences.
Fifth to Eighth Grade Counseling
Building on the foundation taught in preschool and lower school, fifth through eighth grade counseling program consists of several components. Weekly 50-minute advisory groups for sixth through eighth graders give students a platform to discuss a variety of issues concerning students’ social and emotional learning and development. Topics of discussion may include including bullying, peer conflict, body image, internet safety, stress and anxiety and relationships with parents. Outside speakers are brought in for presentations on various topics throughout the academic year, including puberty education and drug and alcohol abuse. Our middle school counselor also uses advisory sessions to help students further process issues that come up during the presentations and, as in lower school, works with students, teachers, and parents on supporting an individual student’s needs.