School CounselorMrs. Brittany Papas724.935.4631, extension 5224
PROGRAM ELEMENTS--Wexford Motto: "Rooted in Caring, Reaching for Excellence"
The school counselor is involved in many roles: educational team member, consultant, and facilitator. Responsibilities include assisting in educational planning for students, facilitating the Intervention Team (MTSS), participating in Individualized Education Program (IEP) Teams and coordinating screening for “Gifted and Talented Education” (GATE).
The school counselor facilitates the team that created Wexford’s school-wide Positive Behavior Program. The components of this program include; yearly kick-off assembly by staff for students, clear Expectations, Encouragement and Enforcement of expectations in all settings of the school, WOW tickets and drawings for prizes, and faculty PA announcements to continually encourage and acknowledge positive student behavior.
Working in a partnership with families, the school counselor is available to meet with individual students or with small groups. The focus is on teaching a wide range of strategies and skills: academic, emotional and social skills that result in increased student achievement.
The school counselor coordinates programs like the New Friends program .The school year begins with the New Friends Tea and Orientation, which is scheduled just before the opening of school. “New Friends”, their families, and “buddies”, all are invited and PTO parents provide a valued partnership. At the Orientation, the counselor, principal, PTO president and other adults share information with the new families. The new students and buddies have a chance to meet, tour the school and participate in activities together. During the first month of school, the school counselor facilitates once-a-week lunch groups with the new students. The New Friends groups provide the opportunity for the new students to get to know each other and their school a little better. This program has been very helpful in giving new students a “soft landing” at Wexford Elementary.
Other small groups facilitated by the school counselor during the school year are groups that deal with life changes like separation, divorce, or a death in the family. Also popular with the students are small groups that teach anti-bullying skills, friendship skills and social skills.
In addition, the school counselor is a resource for parents regarding children’s normal development and “best practice” in parenting. The school counselor meets regularly with parents one-to-one and provides information during various orientations.
There are many ways that the school counselor helps to promote a school climate that is child-centered, structured, and nurturing. The focus of the elementary guidance program is to help children learn the essential life skills necessary to set high goals for achievement and to become self-directed, engaged learners.