SMS SCHOOL COUNSELOR NEWS

March 30, 2021

School Counselor News

Southern Middle School Counselors’ Office

Mrs. Connie Markle, Guidance Clerk A.M. x3272

Mrs. Jackie Winterson, Guidance Clerk P.M x3272

Mr. Jason Katz, School Counselor Last Names A-K x3523

Mrs. Lisa Hall, School Counselor Last Names L-Z x3522

Please communicate any concerns with us so we are able to work with you in a proactive manner to ensure your student gets what they need to make school a happy, safe place to learn.  You may contact us at [email protected], [email protected], or at 717.235.4811, extension 3272. You may also follow the Counselor’s Office on Twitter @SMSGuidance for articles & resources.

It was great to see students return to five-day instruction along with the merging of the A & B day students. It’s going to be an amazing final marking period of the year. We wish success for those that headed to Digital Academy and want to remind students and families that we are only an email or phone call away if you need assistance with anything. It is important to create a schedule for yourself and assign a certain amount of time each day to work on your assignments.

How can your child see Mr. Katz or Mrs. Hall? Below are links to schedule times to meet with us.

Students with Last Names A-K :  Schedule a virtual appointment with Mr. Katz

Students with Last Names L-Z : Schedule a virtual appointment with Mrs. Hall

  • If someone is having a serious emotional crisis that prevents them from attending class, we will gladly help them and contact home for parental support.
  • Anyone enrolled in Digital Academy is welcome to set up an appointment with us virtually at any time that works in their schedule.
  • Parents are welcome to schedule a virtual meeting to discuss any needs you have with your child.  

Staying in class with teachers as much as possible will go a long way in keeping school-related stress manageable for students.

This time of the year the pendulum swings a bit in regards to the stress levels that we experience due to the testing season and everything related to finishing out the school year. The to-do lists continue to grow along with the responsibilities in front of us. Here are 5 Coping Skills Activities to help students manage their stress levels.

  1. Start with a Mindful Morning – Here is a technique called Grounding that includes deep breathing and bringing one’s attention to the present moment.
  2. Make a coping list strategies menu – Feel free to use this coping strategies list from Pathway 2 Success.
  3. Color or Draw – with these free Mindfulness Coloring Pages 
  4. Exercise – This works as a wonderful calm down technique and is said to raise serotonin levels in the brain. 
  5. Read Positive Affirmations – Pathway 2 Success offers this fabulous resource for kids.

Previously Shared (But Still Awesome Family Resources)

Five Ideas to Help Parents Empower Students during At-Home Learning

COVID-19 virtual learning and education: Thinking and learning

The Pandemic Parenting Guide

Covid-19 Mental Health Tip Sheet

Parent Tips for Distance Learning

A Teen’s Guide to Understanding and Coping with Covid-19

A Teen/Young Adult’s Guide Of Things To Do At Home To Combat Loneliness And Boredom

International SEL Day

Friday, March 26, 2021, was designated International SEL Day.  Social and emotional learning (SEL) is an integral part of education and human development. SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions. The SEL Focus Group comprised of SMS Staff School facilitated a presentation that was shown during homeroom and also provided a variety of acknowledgments throughout the morning including tips centered around mindfulness, water consumption, the benefits of music, stress-reduction, and more.  

The Student Assistance Program & School Based Mental Health Program – Offered Virtually

The Student Assistance Program continues to function actively in middle school.  As a reminder, the SAP team is a group of trained staff members who work to identify, intervene and refer students who are having difficulties due to a variety of possibilities.  The student assistance program is available to all students at SMS (the exception being someone who is already receiving drug/alcohol or mental health counseling).  Please contact the guidance office to make a referral or obtain additional information. 

The SYCSD/PCBH School Based Counseling Program utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach to bridge the gap young people who need mental health care, and young people who receive mental health care by providing coordinated mental health care, and young people who receive mental health care by providing coordinated mental health services at a licensed satellite office of PCBH in the familiar environment of the school setting. Please contact Mrs. Hall or Mr. Katz for more information if needed.

Crisis Intervention Services

If you are concerned for the immediate health and safety of a child call 911 and send them to the location of the child.  If you share the crisis information with a student and have any concerns, please contact your school counselor as soon as possible so they are able to follow up.

  • TrueNorth Wellness Crisis Intervention – 1-866-325-0339 or 717-632-4900 (for students experiencing a mental health crisis or suicidal ideation) Open for phone calls – no walk-ins or home visits.
  • York Hospital, Hanover Hospital and UPMC Memorial Emergency Departments have 24/7 Crisis Intervention Services available, but due to the influx the departments may have with COVID 19 cases, you may want to avoid these locations unless you have no other options.
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