Welcome to the Merton Williams Counseling Website
Front Row: Annmarie Schimmel, Linda Fortin, Claudia Engel
Please feel free to contact your counselor about any of your child's social, emotional, and/or learning needs. Click on the name in order to email the counselor.
Counselors are located at Merton Williams Middle School
200 School Lane, Hilton, NY 1446
To provide social, emotional, and academic support for middle school age students to enhance their student achievement in order to maximize the potential of the individual learner. We aim to provide quality support and work together with students' teams including parents/guardians as a vital part of the team.
Merton Williams Middle School Counseling
Today’s young people are living in an exciting time, with an increasingly diverse society, new technologies, and expanding opportunities. To help ensure that they are prepared to become the next generation of parents, workers, leaders, and citizens, every student needs support, guidance, and opportunities during adolescence, a time of rapid growth and change. Early adolescents face unique and diverse challenges, both personally and developmentally, that have an impact on academic achievement.
Middle School Students' Developmental Needs
Middle school is an exciting, yet challenging time for students, their parents and teachers. During this passage from childhood to adolescence, middle school students are characterized by a need to explore a variety of interests, connecting their learning in the classroom to its practical application in life and work; high levels of activity coupled with frequent fatigue due to rapid growth; a search for their own unique identity as they begin turning more frequently to peers rather than parents for ideas and affirmation; extreme sensitivity to the comments from others; and heavy reliance on friends to provide comfort, understanding and approval.
Why Middle School Counselors?
Middle school students are characterized by rapid physical growth, curiosity about their world and an emerging self-identity. Through a comprehensive developmental school counseling program, counselors work as a team member with school staff, parents and the community to create a caring, supportive climate and atmosphere whereby young adolescents can achieve academic success. Middle school counselors enhance the learning process and promote academic achievement. School counseling programs are essential for students to achieve optimal personal growth, acquire positive social skills and values, set appropriate career goals and realize full academic potential to become productive, contributing members of the world community. The professional middle school counselor holds a master’s degree and required state certification in school counseling. Maintaining certification includes on-going professional development to stay current with education reform and challenges facing today’s students.
Merton Williams Middle School Counselors will be going into classrooms the week of September 24th to talk to all the students about our counseling program. Students will have the opportunity to let us know what counseling services they are interested in by filling out a counseling needs assessment form. We will individually talk with all students who have indicated that they may need some counseling support. Peer relationships is often the most sought out service and this certainly makes sense due to the developmental need for belonging that is a part of being a young adolescent. We also offer groups on family relationships, anger management, and self-esteem development. If you would like your son or daughter to participate in our counseling program, please let us know. We can work with your child in individual counseling as well as in groups. The extension for the Merton Williams counseling office is x3191. We welcome your input on your child’s counseling needs.
From the Merton Williams Counseling Office
Get Organized For Homework at School and at Home
Students in the middle grades have a lot to think about. Most of them can tell you all the lyrics to all their favorite songs. They know the telephone numbers of their friends (and their friends’ friends). But can they remember what they’re supposed to do for math class tomorrow? Not likely.
Helping students in the middle grades learn how to organize themselves is one of the biggest challenges facing parents and schools. But there are some ways you can help:
· Have a regular place for homework. Kids at this age are easily distracted. You can remove at least one distraction by putting all homework supplies in one place. Studying in the same place will also help your child understand that it’s time to get to work.
· Find the best place to study. Your child will figure it out. Some kids have to sit at a desk. Others like to lie on the floor. The homework spot should be:
· Well lit. Look for a good lamp so your child can see what she’s reading.
· Quiet. Turn off the TV and the phone.
· Neat. (Yes, this term is relative.) But your child should be able to find her desk and her calculator. Once a week, you may have to sit together and throw away or file things.
· Well supplied. In the middle grades, students need pens, paper and pencils. They also need a few reference books, like a dictionary, a thesaurus and an atlas. If your child is studying a foreign language, she’ll need a dictionary for that subject as well.
· Get in a homework routine. When your child walks in from school, have her put her book bag in the same place. It’s also best to have a regular time to do homework.
· Set Goals. At the start of every study session, have your child look through her assignment notebook or school planner. Then have her make a “To Do” list. If there are long-term assignments, have her write them on a large calendar that you keep nearby. Then check off everything as your child completes it. At the end of the study session, make sure everything goes back into the book bag, which gets set near the door.
Curriculum for Social Skills class, Stress Management group, and the classroom presentation on dealing with Cliques, Rumors, and Gossip was developed and implemented.
17 Counseling Groups and 2 Lunch Groups ran for 14-16 weeks
111 students were seen in group counseling.
90% of students who participated in group reported that groups were helpful or very helpful in increasing overall school performance.
91% of students who participated in group counseling reported that group was helpful or very helpful in improving overall attitude towards school.
Participation in group counseling helped students deal with stress, express themselves, release anger, solve problems, gain confidence, and trust others as evidenced by students' comments such as:
"Group helped me not to hold my feelings in."
"I feel better about school."
"…having more ideas on how to get rid of bullies and deal with problems."
"Group helped with friend and family problems."
"I'm more confident, more open, and more trustworthy."
"….helped me tell my family how I feel."
"Group helped me with my Dad's anger issues."
"…not feel lonely anymore."
"…feeling better about my grades."
"…deal with stress and anger and make more friends ."
"Group helped me know that things will be ok."
7 Tips To Help Teens Successfully Transition To High School
By Bonnie Rubenstein
Published July 29, 2012
In the next few months thousands of children will take one more step toward a significant rite of passage: they will transition from being middle school or junior high students to becoming full-fledged high schoolers. This transition for kids is scary – the fear of anonymity, unfamiliar surroundings and higher expectations all play a central role in the anxiety leading up to the start of one’s high school career. There are things, however, that parents can do to assist with this transition.
Parents should not discount their children’s fears by just telling them “it will be all right.” Change can be frightening. Parents should reassure their kids that they will not be alone in this process. Children at this age need emotional security, support and a listening ear. Your child is anxious about this transition and wants to know that you are an ally.
When students are involved with extracurricular activities, such as theatre, art club or sports, it helps promote belonging. Encouraging involvement in organized school activities fosters teamwork and a sense of place, which ultimately leads to confidence. And confidence comes with inclusion.
Many school districts have freshman orientation programs that allow time for incoming freshmen to get oriented to the physical plant. Schools, for example, usually allow students to come in and try out locker combinations,locate classrooms and get comfortable with their new surroundings. For students who have their schedules, parents can suggest that they walk through the building as if they were coming and going from classes.
The more attention that parents pay to small details, the easier things will be for a student on day one. For example, most schools mail students their new schedules over the summer. Parents should look over their child’s schedule to ensure it appears to be correct. No matter how much little Billy tries to coerce his parents into believing he is supposed to have three gym classes, he shouldn’t. Scheduling mistakes do happen, and if there is a problem counselors are usually available a couple of weeks prior to the start of classes to get these issues resolved. Addressing any scheduling errors early can save your child from waiting in line and missing classes while his/her schedule is changed.
Almost every student loses a little ground over the summer. However, if your child has done poorly in a subject, you should try to help him/her find a related enrichment activity over the summer. This will increase your child’s self esteem and help prepare your student academically for the start of the school year.
The higher academic standards of high school and increased competition will take some time and adjustment. Often students earn their lowest GPA freshman year, and then begin to figure things out. When I interview students and ask the question “if you could start high school over again, what would you do differently?” many students answer that they would take freshman year more seriously. Some freshmen don’t even understand that their freshman grades are part of the high school transcript that is submitted when they apply to college.
After the first couple of weeks, if your child is having debilitating anxiety or is abnormally worried about school,parents must seek help and get an intervention. Many students will exhibit uneasiness and a decrease in self-esteem, but adjustment problems lasting longer than a few weeks may require special help.
Bonnie Rubenstein is a professor of education at the Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester.