NEWS FROM THE NEST. Meet the Counselors. Common Counseling Questions: Milton High School Student Services Newsletter.

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1 Fall 2015 NEWS FROM THE NEST Milton High School Student Services Newsletter In this issue: Meet the Counselors Common Counseling Questions Additional Resources By the Numbers Signs of Suicide New Student Events Senior Events Junior Events Meet the Counselors A-Cok Stephen Robinson 1323 Col-Gri Hannah Kim 1342 Gro-Lom Curtisa Johnson 1343 Lon-Per Casey Plonka (sub) 1321 Pet-Sca Missy Marsh 1344 Sch-Z Kara Peters 1322 Registrar Michelle Hight 1324 Common Counseling Questions: Q: What do MHS Counselors do? A: The MHS Counselors provide support in the areas of Academics, College/Career Planning, and Social/Emotional Support. Q: How can I see my Counselor? A: Students may come visit their Counselors during the school day as needed. If the Counselor is not available, then the student may leave a request for an appointment in our office suite. [My counselor] has been so helpful in assisting me with getting my children in the requested class. This has been a game changer at home. -11th Grade Parent A: Parents may the Counselors to make an appointment. Come visit the updated College and Career Center in 2201

2 By the Numbers has enrolled over 200 new students this fall. has released over 1285 transcripts through Parchment since August of has submitted over 120 letters of recommendation only to the University of Georgia for the class of Additional Resources Parchment (transcripts) auth/login Milton High School College and Career Center Summit Counseling at MHS- Visit the updated College and Career Center in room Signs of Suicide Signs of Suicide is a program created to teach students to identify actions and/or physical symptoms that may be displayed by someone experiencing suicidal ideations and what to do if they notice these behavioral or attitude changes in friends, family members, or even themselves. They are taught to ACT acknowledge, care, tell. This informative 50 minute presentation was given in the auditorium on Thursday, September 10, 2015 to every 9 th grade English class. The material included current statistics on suicide amongst American teens, vignettes detailing real life accounts of students who attempted suicide and the parents of those students who completed suicide, and an opportunity to ask questions. Upon completion, students filled out a small card stating that they do need to speak with someone or they do not need to speak with someone. There were 13 students referred to counselors throughout the day, and all of these students were seen on that day, with the exception of those student referred during 7 th period, who were called to the counseling office the next morning during 1 st period. There were no outside referrals made as a result of these student check-ins.

3 New Student Group Two small groups comprised of students new to Milton met weekly over the span of three weeks, August 31-September 18. The group helped to provide academic and personal/social support as students became accustomed to the academic expectations of our school and familiar with a new peers. In addition to obtaining important information, students had the opportunity to meet and interact with other students who are also new to the school. Groups were divided by grade level and the sessions focused on topics including: learning about/adjusting to the culture of a new school, meeting new people/making new friends, academic transitions, becoming a member of your new community, and stress management. Pre and post tests revealed that after meeting three times, group participants had made more friends, got involved in extracurricular activities, learned to navigate the school, met their counselors, and created realistic goals. Students reported that being members of the small groups was beneficial because it provided them with a safe place to ask dumb questions and a sense of comfort knowing that they were not alone during their transitions. New Student Breakfast The Milton HS Counseling Department was excited to welcome over 200 new students MHS this school year by hosting a New Student Breakfast on August 18th. The purpose of the breakfast was to provide an opportunity for new students to meet one another and learn information about MHS. At the New Student Breakfast, students were given the chance to meet their counselor, hear upcoming opportunities from the college and career center, and meet peer mentors. Milton s Athletic Director, Coach Sylvestri, also shared information about athletics and ways to get involved at MHS. Before they left, students were provided a Things to Know handout outlining some fast facts about MHS and students were encouraged to sign up for the Counseling Department s New Student Group. Junior Events On Thursday, September 24 th, we conducted Junior Classroom Guidance lessons in the auditorium during each of the seven class periods in the school day. Our Class of 2017 students (approximately 530 students) were invited to come down to the auditorium with their American Literature classes in order to participate in a presentation covering graduation requirements, course options for Senior year, and an overview of the college search and application process. As part of the program, we had our juniors complete a pre/post-test, which focused on six specific areas of knowledge that we wanted to increase. We were able to obtain usable pre/post-test data from 380 students, and we were excited to see double-digit percentage point increases across all six targeted areas (ranging from +17 points to +52 points)! On the evening of Tuesday, September 29 th, we delivered the same basic presentation to approximately parents of our Class of 2017 students. In addition, a representative from Applerouth Tutoring Services gave a presentation on college admissions testing, including information on the upcoming redesigned SAT and the October 2015 PSAT. The College & Career Center also gave an informative presentation, and invited the parents to stop by the CCC at the conclusion of the program. We gave the same pre/post-test to the parents as we gave to our juniors, and we again saw some dramatic increases in knowledge. We were able to obtain usable pre/post-test data from 100 parents, and we again saw some incredible increases in our targeted areas on five of the six questions, we saw increases of at least 33 percentage points (with a high of +49 points).

4 Senior Classroom Guidance Senior classroom guidance was presented by the Counseling Department on Thursday, September 3rd to all 12th grade English classes. The 50 minute presentation included important topics such as GPA, numeric average, college entrance exams, HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarship, the college application process, and transcript requests. Students were shown a video on how to request an official transcript through Parchment and were provided a handout outlining information regarding the college application process. Senior classroom guidance was taught all seven periods in the MHS auditorium to approximately 450 students. During the presentation, students were given pre/post-tests through Poll Everywhere, which allowed the students to answer questions through text messages. The data reflected an increase in knowledge for four different topics including transcripts, letters of recommendation, class rigor, and the Zell Miller Scholarship. Senior Parent Night Senior Parent Night took place at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, September 2nd in the MHS auditorium. Prior to the counseling presentation, parents were able to visit tables outside of the auditorium for the PTSA, College and Career Center, Peachtree College Planning, and Summit Counseling. Additionally, Mr. Brian Jones and the College and Career Center shared upcoming events and information regarding the Milton class of During the presentation, parents were able to hear the same information that was presented in Senior Classroom Guidance. Parents were also given the opportunity to take pre/post tests using text messaging. The data demonstrated that after the presentation, there was a 23% and 47% increase in understanding in regards to transcript request and letters of recommendation. Additionally, 95% of the parents who participated in the texting poll were able to identify the website used to request an official transcript from MHS. Finally, the evening was concluded with a presentation from Peachtree College Planning in regards to HOPE/Zell Miller Scholarships and Financial Aid.

5 The Role of School Counseling MHS MISSION: The mission of the Milton High School Counseling Department is to prepare all students to graduate from high school equipped for the challenges of a post-secondary environment and ready to take personal responsibility for their future. Counselors advocate for all students by identifying and addressing barriers which hinder student success. Our comprehensive counseling program helps establish a safe and supportive environment that fosters academic and personal excellence for all students as they prepare to succeed in an ever-changing world. FULFILLING THE MISSION: The role of a school counselor is different than that of a clinical therapist. It is imperative that school counselors acknowledge that their role is not limited to strengthening the mental and emotional states of students, but that they also have an integral role in facilitating students with obtaining academic success. This task seems daunting, especially since ASCA recommends a 1:250 counselor/student ratio (ASCA, 2012), yet Milton s ratio is approximately 1:400. Despite the odds, Milton s dedicated counselors somehow find a way to serve in leadership roles, advocate for students, collaborate with staff members, coordinate programs, and maintain accurate data under these conditions. In school programming is delivered in the classroom to address issues being faced by a large portion of the student body, in small groups when there is a target population displaying a need, or in individual sessions when a student needs personal support mentally, emotionally, or academically. Programing outside of the school day is also coordinated to inform and assist parents because supportive parents are more likely to have successful students (p. 16). In addition, school counselors have an ethical obligation to ensure that no student is limited nor oppressed by any policies or laws, regardless of whether they are local or federal. This facet of the counseling profession encompasses collecting data, learning about the student population, researching the needs of the students and community members, developing relevant programs, collaborating with school faculty and community leaders, and finally, implementing those programs (Erford, House, & Martin, 2003, p. 9-19). References American School Counselor Association (2012). The ASCA National Model: A Framework for School Counseling Programs (3 rd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Author. Erford, B., House, R., & Martin, P. (2003). Transforming the School Counseling Profession. In Erford, B. (Ed.), Transforming the School Counseling Profession. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc.