School Counseling Programs & Services:
New Student Assistance
New students require special attention in order to orient them to their new surroundings. The School Counselor can be instrumental in helping new students feel comfortable during those crucial first days and weeks.
• Goodwill Ambassadors (K-6)
• New Student Orientation
• Scheduling (7-8)
Goodwill Ambassador Program (K-8)
To assist our students entering the district, each homeroom teacher appoints two students, one male and one female who will act as “Goodwill Ambassadors” for the school year. The primary role of the students is to welcome new students; introducing themselves, asking the new students their names and where they are from, making introductions to the members of the class, showing them where to put backpacks, including the new student with their friends at lunch and recess, explain classroom, recess, hallway and cafeteria rules, bringing the new student to the counselor to receive a new student packet, taking the new student on a tour of the school and telling the teacher or counselor if the new student is not happy. Appointed students will receive training from the counselor regarding their roles and responsibilities.
Big Buddies/Little Buddies
“Big Buddies” are typically the older children in a school building while their “little buddies” are students from the younger grades. The role of the Big Buddies is to promote social skills and/or improve success in schoolwork for the “Little Buddies” by establishing positive and caring relationships, modeling good friendship skills and assisting ““Little Buddies” with schoolwork as needed. Selected staff members and/or community volunteers may also be utilized as “Big Buddies”.
Banana Splits (K-8)
Banana Splits groups are support groups that meet once a week for six to eight weeks. The groups are for children whose parents/guardians are separated or divorced. The goals of the groups are: to clarify students’’ feelings about their parents/guardians’ separation or divorce, to help students understand that others share similar feelings and experiences, to help students gain a realistic picture of the divorce/separation situation and to give students an opportunity to learn new communication and coping skills.
Teasing and Bullying Prevention Program (K-8)
Counselors partner with administration and staff to promote respect for all. Bully-Busting, a curriculum sponsored by the NJ State Bar Foundation, is used to promote violence prevention in all Galloway Township schools. Counselors support teachers in implementing the six essential lessons taught in every classroom and in creating a positive school climate where all students and staff feel safe.
Character Education Programs (K-8)
School Counselors work with teachers and administrators to help create a school climate that promotes positive character traits, including the six pillars of character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. A wide range of activities may be used to meet this goal, such as class lessons, hallway displays, contests, announcements, character trait of the month, random acts of kindness, and assemblies.
Multi-Disciplinary Assistance Team (MAT) (K-8)
As members of or consultants to the MAT, we assist teachers with strategies for working with at-risk students who are experiencing mild learning, social/emotional, or behavioral problems. The building principal or assistant principal chairs a committee of professional staff members who offer structured support and assistance to teachers by providing instructional strategies to promote student success. Parents/guardians are notified of MAT meetings regarding their child and are invited to participate. Following a MAT meeting, school counselors may:
1. Involve the student in currently offered programs and services
2. Complete individual informal diagnostic testing
3. Develop and monitor behavior modification programs
4. Provide referral information to the parents/guardians for outside of school programs
5. Provide classroom teachers with information regarding academic, social/emotional, or medical concerns
6. Help the team develop 504 plans for students
7. Distribute, collect, and score student rating scales to teachers and parents
8. Consult with parents/guardians, teachers and administrators on a regular basis regarding the needs of the student
Study Skills (K-8)
Students will have the opportunity to gain new skills and improve existing ones. This program may include lessons on listening, following directions, organizing, and homework skills. Students in grades 3-8 receive an agenda book to help with organizing and homework.
Counselors act as the School Testing Coordinators with the Assistant Principals.
State Testing: The NJ ASK is given to all students in grades 3-8.
Counselors may be involved in parent/guardian meetings called by the building principal regarding students being considered for retention to assist in the discussion of benefits vs. harm. Promotion and attendance issues may also be addressed through MAT meetings.
Peer Mediation Program (4-8)
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a way to resolve differences caused by misunderstandings, name-calling, gossip, teasing and arguing. A neutral mediator helps students in conflict to talk about the problem and cooperatively work out their differences in a way that satisfies both parties. Mediation is a win-win process.
Who are the mediators?
Students are trained and then called upon on an as needed basis to mediate problems between two students who are unable to solve the situation on their own. Students who are selected by their peers and teachers become mediators. The student who has good verbal and social skills, maintains confidentiality and is a good listener, might be selected as a mediator. These students are trained in mediation techniques. A coordinator (school counselor) is present during each mediation but does not participate.
What is their job?
Mediators help students involved in a conflict understand each other’s point of view so that they can solve their problems themselves. Mediators do not decide who is right and who is wrong, but they are there to help disputants find creative and workable solutions to disagreements.
How does it work?
A staff member who believes students may benefit from mediation can refer to the coordinator. Students may request a referral, or it can come from an administrator or parent. Mediation is explained to each disputant and is strictly voluntary. If the disputants agree to take part, the coordinator assigns a team and schedules a date. If the disputants settle their disagreement, they sign a contract that is fair to all parties. Peer Mediation Request forms are readily available in counselor offices for all students. The counselor who receives the request schedules the mediators, day, and time to hold the mediation. Upon completion of each mediation, the written agreement is kept on file for future reference.
Career Education (1-8)
The Galloway Township career education program is driven by the NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards for Career Education and Consumer, Family, and Life . Skills will provide the foundation for acquiring the skills, attitudes, and knowledge that enable students to be successful in the workplace. The program may include: individual, group, classroom instruction, guest speakers, cooperative learning activities, and/or technology resources.
Counselors in grades 7/8 meet with representatives from Atlantic County Vocational-Technical School regarding the ninth grade Academy Program, facilitate student applications to the program, and assist with early admittance opportunities for special education students.
Counseling Services (K-8)
Students, staff, or parents/guardians may request that a counselor become involved with a child for a variety of reasons. The counselors will interview the students to determine which group meets their needs. The School Counselor may address these needs and/or concerns through individual counseling, small group counseling, and/or classroom activities. Group counseling is offered in all of our schools in our district. The type of groups offered will vary according to needs of the students. Some of the groups that may be offered at your child’s school are study skills, anger management, coping and stress, self-esteem, social and friendship skills, attention training, positive student skills, and banana splits (a support group for students whose parents are separating or divorcing or experiencing family change). The groups typically meet once a week for a twenty to thirty minute period for six to eight weeks.
If a counselor believes a student’s needs would be more appropriately met by an outside resource, a list of community resources will be provided. Please see the attached list.
Counselors may attend parent conferences to discuss students’ academic and social progress.