Tuesday, December 20, 2016

New Year, New Goals!

   To start 2017 off right, I will be focusing on our student's futures.  I want to begin by exposing the students to the different career options that they have once they graduate high school.  Kindergarten and first grade will be very broad, while the older students will begin to research what careers match their personality and skills.  My hope is to expose them to a variety of careers that will motivate them and inspire them to reach their dreams in the future!

   I am a big believer that not every student has to go to a 4-year college and I will make sure to expose the middle school students to other trade options that can lead to just as amazing of a career.  We will be using https://www.pacareerzone.org/ if you would like to start exposing your student to some of the different career paths out there.

  Parents, you are your child's biggest role model, so if you show them how to work hard to succeed, they will more than likely adopt that as a value of their own.  This, in turn, will help them to become motivated to work towards their dream career and a successful life.  Together, we can set your child on the right path to be whatever they want to be.

Here is another website that is good for parents talking to their students about different careers: https://hbr.org/2015/05/what-parents-should-tell-their-kids-about-finding-a-career

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

December is a Time to Celebrate Differences!

   During the month of December, there are many different holidays and traditions that are celebrated in various cultures.  Therefore, I like to focus on teaching the students how to embrace diversity during this time.  Our school is full of diversity, so the students here may be used to this.  However, there are times when our school has a hard time dealing with the differences of their classmates.  I hope to teach them to accept one another for who they are and show empathy for others no matter their race, nationality, or religion.

   At home, I hope that you are embedding these same values into your students.    I also encourage you all to teach your student about his/her background and heritage.  This may help them understand where they have come from and appreciate the other cultures in our area.  Without diversity the United States would not be the wonderful, cultural experience that it is.  Here is a link to an article about how to talk about diversity with your child.  http://www.pbs.org/parents/experts/archive/2009/02/teaching-children-about-divers.html

  I hope that everyone enjoys the time off this month and has a wonderful holiday season!

Monday, October 31, 2016

November - Be Thankful for Anti-Bullying

  November is anti-bullying month at Young Scholars.  The guidance lessons for this month will teach the students what a bully is/does, types of bullying, and what you can do to stop bullying.  I believe that the word "bully" often gets overgeneralized nowadays.  The definition of a bully is someone who is mean/does something aggressive to others, repeatedly (over and over again), on purpose, and there is usually some imbalance of power.
  I think it is very important to teach the students to not use the term "bully" incorrectly.  I often get students who tell me that they are being bullied, when someone was just mean to them one time.  Now that is still not nice and/or fair to that child, but they are by no means being the victim of bullying; that other kid might have been just having a bad day.  So please, talk to your child about this and make sure that they know the true definition of a bully.
  Here is a good resource for parents to use to teach their students about bullying and how to stop it: https://www.stopbullying.gov/prevention/talking-about-it/index.html.
  I do not want anyone to think that I do not take this seriously because this is a topic that I am very passionate about, but I do want students to know the difference between someone being mean to them and someone intentionally bullying them day in and day out.  Together we can reduce bullying at YSWPCS!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Don't Be Scared to Be a Good Friend

  Now that it is October, students should now be getting into the swing of things back at school.  The main focus of the guidance lessons for this month are how to live a mentally healthy lifestyle by being a good friend/classmate, giving personal space, dealing with peer pressure, and finding a "natural high" off of living life to the fullest.  During this month, I really want the students to learn how to be the best person that they can be, so that there is a more positive school climate here at Young Scholars.

  I think it is important that the students learn how to get along with one another to increase each other's self-esteem and self-worth.  I always tell the students that they do not have to be friends with one another, but they cannot be mean to each other and need to learn how to work together here at school.  This is a good life skill for them to learn as they grow up because they will always have to work with someone that they may not particularly like.

  Parents try to have a conversation about this at home with your kiddos.  A positive climate at school can help the students focus more and learn more here at school.  It also can build moral and add to a healthy mental health lifestyle for them.  Nothing bad can come from being kind and working well with others!

Here is a good article for some advice on this topic:
http://www.kidsmatter.edu.au/families/enewsletter/encouraging-children-get-along

If you need to reach me (school counselor), feel free to email me at k.boss@yswpcs.org!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Fresh New Start to Young Scholars

  This month, I will be teaching the students how to be the best student that they can be!  In the older grades, I will be focusing on staying organized and how to be successful this school year.  While with the younger students, we will focus on being a good listener, what a good student looks like, and how to create a SMART goal for the rest of the year.
 
  It is important to start the year off clean, organized, and ready for a good start.  If we start with a positive attitude, with goals in mind, we are more likely to succeed and follow through with our school work and behavior.  I encourage you all to read the school handbook with your children, so that they understand the expectations of the school.  You may also want to discuss with your children what your expectations are for them for the school year, so they are not surprised by your reaction at the end of the first trimester!  Set your expectations high, so your children have something to reach for.  We want them to do their best, but they will never think they can, if they do not have your support.

  Here is an article that gives parents/guardians some other tips on how to make the school year successful from the get-go:  http://www.scholastic.com/parents/blogs/scholastic-parents-raise-reader/3-superstar-tips-starting-school-year-right.

  Please remember that if you ever need to contact me you can at: k.laufer@yswpcs.org or call 412-668-2064 ext. 127

  I am here to help and get these students off to a great start!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Off to a Roaring Start in 2016!

Welcome back Young Scholars!  It is the start of a new school year, and I am so excited to be back!

This year, I plan on making the school counseling program more effective and all encompassing, by reaching all grades equally.  I will be doing guidance lessons in each grade once a month.  Each month, the topic will be different based on the need of the class or the time of year.  I also will continue to do my lunch bunch groups, focusing on social skills, emotional awareness, and other topics that are pressing for our school.  I also will continue to have a focus on career awareness and education for the students to help them begin thinking and preparing for their futures.  Finally, I will have an advisory group, where I will be helping students with their social/emotional problems and academic concerns.  I also hope to be in better communication with parents and staff this year, so that no student falls through the cracks!  As always, I am available for any crisis situations or individual needs that any of the students may have.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at k.laufer@yswpcs.org or call 412-668-2064 ext. 127.  I am at the school this year Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, so those are the best days to reach me.

Let's make this the best year yet!

Sincerely,

Mrs. Boss (formerly Ms. Laufer)

Sunday, May 1, 2016

As we go on, we remember all the times we spent together.

  The end of the year is drawing near.  We have exciting things planned for this month.  The students have been working hard on their career papers and presentations and will get a chance to present to their peers towards the end of the month.  4th and 5th graders will be presenting the week of May 15 and the middle schoolers will be presenting at the Middle School Career Fair on May 24.  I am excited to see their hard work in action.

  Many of the students will be transitioning to a new school, up to the middle school, or just up to the next grade level.  With that comes a lot of change and adjusting.  My hope is to prepare them for this change and get them to embrace it, so that they have the best chance to succeed in the following school year.

  Parents of 8th graders, this is a nice article to help you, help your son/daughter transition to not only high school, but a new school with new peers and expectations. Check this website out for some good tips: http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/school-help-teens.html.  The best advice I can give the 8th graders is stay true to yourself and reach high for your goals; do not sell yourself short!  I will miss you guys, but know that you guys are ready for this next stage of your lives!!  Good luck :)

  Parents of 5th graders, we are planning on having a mandatory parent meeting in the middle of May in order to provide you with some tools and tips to use to help your son/daughter get ready for middle school next year.  Although, they will be in the same building, there are many different expectations and standards in our middle school that the 5th graders will need to adjust to.  Here is a good article to read to get you and your child prepared for the differences that they will face as middle schoolers:  http://psychcentral.com/lib/helping-your-child-transition-from-elementary-to-middle-school/

Saturday, April 2, 2016

April Fool's - Time to Joke Around and Relax

  Now that it is April, the school year is beginning to wind down rather quickly.  PSSAs take up the majority of time during the month of April.  As mentioned last month, there are many ways to make this a less stressful time.  However, the focus this month, being that they will have enough other things to worry about, will be teaching more positive social skills and begin to review and prepare for the Big Career Project that will be due during the month of May.

  4th grade will be watching the movie, "Inside Out" and learning about their different emotions and how to manage them appropriately.  5th grade will be working on various positive social skills, such as empathy and conflict resolution.  Middle school will learn some other positive social skills, like being a good friend, having ambition, and playing fair.  The focus is a continuation from the lessons in March, but will be more easy going because of the nature of the month.

  As mentioned before, all grades will also continue to work on their paper and presentation for the career of their choice, which will be due in May.  My hope is to give them class time to do this, so that they do not have work to do at home, while the PSSAs are going on.

  If you need some tips on how to increase relaxation in your student check out this website: http://edworkspartners.org/expect-success/2012/10/ten-tips-for-de-stressing-kids-prior-to-high-stakes-tests/.

  I hope that all the students do well during these tests, but are also able to unwind and de-stress after they are done.  Remember, it is just a test and try your best!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Big Test and How to Prepare for It

For the month of March, my goal is to help the students prepare for the PSSAs.  The focus of character education for this month will be to teach them skills to calm their test anxiety.  Also, the lessons will be guided towards teaching them tricks to be successful when taking the standardized tests.

A lot of students experience anxiety and distress because of the high pressures associated with these tests.  However, I want to emphasize to the students that it is "just a test" and will not affect their performance as a student.  I hope to get them to become more comfortable and confident when taking these tests, so that they can do their best without stressing out over it.

Parents can do a lot at home to help their student be in the best mindset to take a standardized test.  For example, parents can make sure that the students are getting a good night's sleep, eating a healthy breakfast, and wearing comfortable clothing, to name a few.  If you would like more advice on how to help your student feel relaxed during the test and help them do their best, visit this website http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/study-skills-test-taking/standardized-tests-prepare-and-interpret-results or this website https://www.schoolcounselor.org/magazine/blogs/january-february-2004/helping-children-overcome-test-anxiety.

Good luck to all of my students on the PSSAs this year!  I know you can do it and remember, "it's just a test.!"

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

February A Time of Love and Kindness

  Now that it is February, the focus for each Character Education class is slightly different.  All of the classes will be focusing on some sort of positive social skill that will help them be a nicer friend and stronger person.  Some of the topics of this month include:  good sportsmanship, finding your values/what do you stand for, being a flexible thinker, and healthy relationships.  This month I really want to help the students become the best person that they can be.  Each grade has different struggles and challenges to face, so that is why the topics will vary accordingly.

  Since February is the month of love, I challenge parents and students to be kinder to one another and spread the love; pay it forward.  In order for our school to be the best it can be, we need students who can overcome struggles and still persevere with a smile on their face.  When students are respectful and kind to one another, our school can be more productive and allow the students to live to their potential.

  If the students can practice being kind at home, it will spread to their behavior in school and will build a richer learning environment.  If you would like tips on how to encourage your child to be kind to others, go to this link:  http://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/advice/14-little-ways-to-encourage-kindness/.

Like Ellen says, "Be kind to one another."