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Mission Statement: "Empowering Students Today to Embrace The Future!" 

2016 - 2017 Theme of the Year:  "Exploring, Serving and Creating"
MMS Counselors' Corner
This page is designed so that we, your MMS School Counselors, can get the latest information on counseling and education to you the students, parents, faculty, and community!  We hope you find this page to be a valuable tool!

Monthly Topics
Be Here For Kids
October is Bullying Awareness Month

Celebrate Bullying Prevention Month by being an ‘upstander’



by Larry Magid

October is bullying prevention month — a time to think about how all of us can combat bullying, harassment and cruelty online and off.

Be part of the solution, not the problem

One thing we can all do, of course, is to strive to not be part of the problem. If you’re reading this, chances are that you already make it a habit to be nice to people and not pick on others. But sometimes we have a way of bullying without realizing it such as excluding someone from our social circles because they’re different or not popular, or joining in or failing to interrupt negative behavior when we see others acting inappropriately.

“Dishing dirt” about people is quite common. Although I’m not proud of it, I admit that I’ve done it and I hear it frequently. Perpetuating negative stereotypes is something we all need to avoid whether those stereotypes are based on age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, profession, athletic ability, body weight or anything else. And don’t assume it’s OK just because the person you’re talking about may not fit into a typically oppressed group. Negative comments about any group — including those in the majority — can be hurtful.

Upstander behavior works

Being an “upstander,” a person who intervenes in a positive way on observing an incident or the aftermath of one, has been shown to be effective. Crimes Against Children Research Center scholars Lisa M. Jones, Kimberly J. Mitchell and Heather A. Turner published an article in the Journal of Youth Adolescence which cited research that “bystanders can de-escalate incidents and improve outcomes for victims.”

  • In one study, “57% of assertive peer interventions were successful in stopping the bullying episodes within 10 seconds (Hawkins et al. 2001),” according to the authors.
  • Other research found that “schools and classrooms with greater rates of bystanders defending victims have lower rates of bullying (Ka¨rna¨ et al. 2011; Salmivalli et al. 2011).
  • Victims with at least one ‘‘defender’’ are “less anxious and depressed than those without, even when controlling for the frequency of victimization.”

And it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be there when the bullying occurs to be an upstander. “Peer reactions,” said the authors, “can occur during, after or even in-between events, since a bullying incident can involve multiple separate harassment experiences over time.”

The researchers also found that negative bystander reactions occurred in nearly a quarter of incidents and “were associated with a significantly higher negative impact on the victim.”

Most bullying is witnessed

In most cases, there are witnesses to bullying behavior. Jones and her colleagues reported that “0ther youth are present in over 85 % of episodes” (Craig et al. 2000; O’Connell et al. 1999; Salmivalli 2014). But it was also observed that only a minority of youth (10-25%) reach out to help the victim. Peer reactions can occur during, after or even in-between events, since a bullying incident can involve multiple separate harassment experiences over time. Said lead author, Lisa Jones, “negative behaviors by bystanders such as joining in or laughing that has the biggest impact and really makes things feel worse for victims.”

The authors analyzed data from a survey of 791 youth and honed in on responses who reported at least one incident of peer harassment victimization in the past year. Note that these negative activities don’t necessarily rise to the widely accepted definition of bullying which is typically defined as behavior that is aggressive, repetitive and involves a power imbalance.

The types of harassment were:

  • Someone calling them mean names;
  • Making fun of them, or teasing them in a hurtful way;
  • Someone excluding or ignoring them or getting others to turn against them;
  • Someone spreading false rumors about them or sharing something that was meant to be private (such as a private picture)
  • Someone hitting. kicking, pushing, shoving, or threatening to hurt them.

Mostly good news

The good news is that “supportive reactions were most common.”

  • In 70 % of incidents, victims reported that a bystander tried to make them feel better.
  • In over half of the harassment incidents a bystander told the victim that they were sorry it happened (55 %), or told the harasser to stop (53 %).
  • In around half of the incidents, bystanders avoided the person being mean (58 %), came closer or stayed to see the harassment happen (51 %) or left the situation (43 %).
  • In 43 % of incidents a bystander told an adult about what happened.
  • In about a quarter of the incidents, a bystander tried to get other youth to help (26 %) or threatened the harassing youth (27 %).

Still, in about 24% of the cases, “bystanders joined in or made the harassment worse. In 23 % of incidents, bystanders laughed at the victim.”

The authors concluded that negative bystander behavior hurts and that “helping youth develop better bystander and response skills is a very promising strategy,” though they acknowledged a bit of fuzziness over the effectiveness of positive bystander behavior. Bottom line: To improve bullying prevention efforts, the authors encourage the development of prevention strategies that target educational messaging and skill-building to all youth and adults who might witness or hear about a broad range of youth victimization experiences.

Adults too

Bullying and harassment don’t just happen among kids. Adults can also be victims and perpetrators of bullying and harassment. A 2014 study from Pew Research found that 40% of adult Internet users said they had been harassed online, and nearly three-quarters — 73 percent — said they had seen someone being harassed. Young adults have it worse: Nearly two-thirds — 65 percent — of Internet users age 18 to 29 have been the target of at least one type of harassment.

It also occurs at work. The Workplace Bullying Institute’s 2014 survey found that 27 percent of employees have experienced abusive behavior at work while 7 percent are currently being bullied.

Sadly, there are also cases where adults bully youth. It happens among parents, teachers, law enforcement and even clergy. I was bullied repeatedly in middle school by a PE teacher.
Political campaigns offer teachable moments
If you turn on your TV during campaign season you are likely to see some bad role models when it comes to adult negative behavior. Sadly, some of the people who want to lead our country feel that the way they can get you to vote for them is to deride their opponents. While arguing over policy is always appropriate and it’s usually appropriate to point out why one candidate is more qualified than another, there is really no need for name calling or negative campaigning though, sadly, it must work because it’s been part of politics for many years.
Welcome Back to School!!
Dear Parents:

It's hard to believe but it's that time of the year again - the beginning of a new school year. Welcome back! And while you aren't part of the teaching staff you are just as important to your children's education as we are.
Your children receives the best education when you and our dedicated teachers work as a team. It's a parents enthusiasm, support and involvement that inspires children to do their best; and a teacher's ability to teach what they need to learn. Together we can achieve wonderful things.
There's a lot of excitement ahead of us, including new teachers to meet, new books to read, new friends to meet and new skills to master. As the School Counselors we look forward to sharing in those exciting times with you and your child.
As a parent myself, I know how fast time goes by. One year your child's in 1st grade and seemingly, in the blink of an eye, they're in middle school, or in their senior year of high school for that matter.
I encourage you to fully embrace this moment, and urge you to to take the time from your busy schedule to become familiar with our school, as well as create a homework-friendly home environment that will allow your children to excel.
In closing, thank you for your commitment to your child's education and I look forward to seeing you in the very near future. Please feel free to contact us at 828-649-2269.
With Pleasure, Your Counselors

What Do School Counselors Do?
What do School Counselors do?

~ Let's say you're sick of being bullied by another kid in your school — and who wouldn't be?
~ Maybe the problem is that you're about to go to middle school and you're nervous about it because you're struggling in math.
~ Perhaps you just found out that your parents are getting divorced, or your dog just died, and you're so upset that you can't concentrate on doing your homework. You feel like you need to talk to someone about everything that's going on. A great person to share your thoughts and feelings with is your school counselor.
Counselors Help You Cope
Add school counselors to the list of people you can turn to when you need help. They know how to listen and can help kids with life's challenges. Counselors have special training in how to help kids solve problems, make decisions, and stand up for themselves.
That doesn't mean your counselor will wave a magic wand and the problem will go away. But it does mean he or she will help you cope with it. Coping is an important word to know. Sometimes, kids and grown-ups have difficult problems. Coping means that someone is trying to handle these problems and make things better.
Your school counselor is available for you and wants to make your school experience the best it can be. The counselor's job is to take your problem seriously and help you find a solution. The counselor also wants to help you learn as much as you can in class, be a contributing member of the school community, and be a positive influence on your environment.
If someone was bullying you, for instance, the counselor would talk to you about it and could give you some ideas and strategies on how to deal with the bully. The counselor may also talk to the bully and maybe even to kids who saw what happened. The counselor might talk with your teacher and your parents about the problem as well. Though this may feel a little uncomfortable, facing the problem and trying to correct it is better than living with a bad situation. Having a counselor's help means you don't have to face difficult school problems alone.
What Do I Do If I Need the Counselor?
Your school counselor might visit your class or talk at a school assembly to let you know that he or she is available. Some schools use their website to explain what the counselor does and how to get a counseling appointment. It's a good idea to know about the school counselor, even if you don't need any help right now.
If you're unsure how to contact the counselor, ask your teacher, your parent, or one of the people who work in the school office. If your school has more than one counselor, you might be assigned to a counselor based on what grade you're in or the first letter of your last name.
Generally, counselors meet students in:
  • a private meeting
  • group meetings with kids who are dealing with the same problem, such as divorce
  • classrooms, where the counselor teaches a class on a subject that affects everyone, such as study skills
What Will the Appointment Be Like?
The most common setting to meet with a counselor is in a private meeting. The meeting could be just you alone, or other students, your teacher, or your parent could be there. Counselors typically have offices where you can sit down and talk.
Don't worry that you need to know exactly what's bothering you when you talk with the school counselor. You may just be feeling bad or not doing as well in school as you know you can — and that's OK. The counselor will try to help you figure out what's going on. When you do, he or she will have ideas for how to make things better. Sometimes that means finding other people (tutors, learning specialists, or therapists) who can provide the help you need.
Will the Counselor Keep a Secret?
It's important to know that if you meet with a guidance counselor, your conversation will be confidential. The counselor isn't going to go blabbing your personal business around the school.
However, there are some cases when a counselor can't keep it confidential — if the counselor thinks that you or someone else is at risk of being harmed. But even then, the counselor would share that information only with people who need to know.
Won't Kids Think I'm in Trouble?
Your appointment with the counselor could happen during the day when classmates might notice you're gone. What you choose to say about it is your decision. You can just say you had an appointment and leave it at that. You also can say that visiting the counselor doesn't mean you're in trouble.
If you're worried about what to say, tell your counselor. He or she can help you practice what you would say if someone asked about it. If you'd prefer not to miss class time, ask the counselor if you can talk before school, at recess, during lunch, study hall, or after school.
Sometimes a counselor might call someone in because they did something like calling a person a name or deliberating breaking something. But it's different when you ask to see the counselor because you want help with a problem. You're not in trouble just because you need some help.
What Else Do Counselors Do?
In addition to helping kids with problems, guidance counselors help kids learn about:
  • social skills
  • self-esteem
  • healthy relationships
  • diversity and respect for others
Counselors also offer programs for parents and kids or just parents alone. The topic could be helping you graduate to middle school or helping you stay away from drugs and alcohol.
A school counselor's job is different from what it was 50 years ago, when a counselor was chiefly concerned with getting students the classes they needed. Today, counselors are called upon to help students in a broader way. They help students handle almost any problem that could get in the way of learning, guide them to productive futures, and try to create a positive environment for everyone at school. So if you need a counselor's advice, just ask!

Quote Bulletin
A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder. ~ Thomas Carlyle
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” ~ Albert Einstein
"Never never never give up." ~ Winston Churchill
"What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?" ~ Unknown
"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. --C.S. Lewis
Family Files
Should I teach my child "stranger danger"? What should children know about cyberbullying? NCMEC's free resources can help you answer these questions and help you take action.
 School Counselor Spotlight
Informational slides for students on varying topics.
Read about the 5 ingredients of Fishful Thinking.
 Health & Adolescents.pdf
If we remember our own experiences with the awkward "wonder
years," and recognize the increasing pressures on today's adolescents, we can take steps to ensure that they grow into healthy young adults. Here are some suggestions for making the journey more productive and enjoyable.
Homework Tips for Parents
Homework Planner
Parenting in a Challenging World
Parents want the world for their children. They strive to help them grow and thrive. A large part of their work is to protect their children from harm, because the safety of a child is a worry that never disappears. The task of keeping a child safe is a full-time job.
Self Esteem in Children
This book provides teachers and parents with a quick reference on important childhood developmental issues. It explains what children should be learning and doing in the classroom at each developmental stage, ages 4 through 12.
+ Rice, Kandace
+ Rieger, Lynn
Click on name to see details.

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