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School View Making our school counseling services better

There are some exciting changes this year in the counseling program at Central Elementary. In addition to our full time counselor, Emily Kruse, we have added a part-time school counselor, Erin Murphy. This is her third year as a school counselor, but her seventh year as an educator. She graduated with her master’s degree in school counseling from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake. She is currently working with the multiage and graded third and fourth graders.

Each student at Central Elementary spends every sixth day with the school counselor during classroom guidance time. The students have been working on skills that fall under one of three categories: personal/social, academic, and career. Topics that have been covered so far this year with third and fourth graders include the following: goal setting, responsibility, citizenship, conflict resolution, friendship (gossip and rumors), and empathy. Some of the topics that will be covered the second half of the school year include respecting others, career planning, diversity, and academic skills. This year, early kindergarten through second graders have been learning about mindfulness, personal safety, diversity, personal growth and goals.

A school counselor wears many hats. Not only does a school counselor spend time teaching classroom guidance, they also work with individual students and small groups. Students come to the school counselor for a variety of reasons. Counseling is an opportunity for all students to gain personal insight and potential. It is not just for students with, for example, mental illness or behavioral concerns. Therefore, we are striving to provide this opportunity for all 740 students we serve.

This year, having two counselors in the building has helped us create a stronger program and we continue to look for ways to best serve all students at Central Elementary. Our vision is to work to make aspects of the school counseling program better, more sustainable, and data driven each year, and we continue to strive to best meet the needs of all students.

(This School View column was provided by the Central Elementary Counseling Department.)

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