RC elementary school counselor making an impact on students

At the Rush City School Board meeting July 19, Superintendent Teresa Dupre introduced Sam Hines to the board. Hines started his position as school counselor at CE Jacobson Elementary School in January.
Hines gave a presentation on the student intervention system at Jacobson. He said there are three main aspects he needs to cover as a counselor: academics, emotional and social, and career.
“Forming pillars that guide my practice are advocacy, leadership, collaboration, and sustain change,” he said. “I try to abide by these four things in the school.”
At the kindergarten level, he put together a curriculum to help with impulse control based on a needs assessment he did when he came to the school.
“For first-graders and beyond, the fact that they’re learning zones of regulations is huge because it builds their skills and they learn what emotions are,” Hines said. “Each first-grader developed a toolbox to help them deal with certain emotions.”
According to the school classroom curriculum, in second grade students talk about conflict resolution and the difference between big and small problems. Students begin to learn strategies to deal with problems they are faced with throughout their day. In third grade, students learn more advanced strategies for dealing with problems they are faced with. In fourth grade, new social skills may be needed, so students talk about social skills and some problem solving strategies, especially when talking about friendships.
“In fifth grade, there is a need for internet education,” Hines said. “For example, what it means to be a good online citizen, what it means to be safe, and what cyberbullying is. We’ve learned even kids in the elementary school have access to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, where a lot of the cyberbullying is happening.”
A deficit in sixth grade that Hines noticed is that the students are going straight to high school without attending middle school.
“I taught the sixth-graders about the changes they are going to see when going to the high school,” Hines said. “We went through exercises and different scenarios, and after Principal Stavig and Heidi Larson came to talk to the kids about high school, they were way more into the lesson.”
Hines had eight different groups, which involved 40 students.
“We just talk about changes in family,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be divorce or anything in particular. It can be anything they are experiencing. What’s important to me is how the child is affected by it and they get to talk about it, which is huge, because they’ve never been able to do that before at school.”

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