CAREER AWARENESS DAY
"Career Awareness Day" is the culminating event of the Career Exploration Unit in the Eighth Grade Advisory Program. Initially, students complete a career inventory, which helps them think about their interests, aptitudes, and values. Upon completion of the inventory, there are group discussions regarding careers that match the students’ profiles. The goal is not to “pick” a career, but rather to have students begin the thought process that will eventually lead them to help make critical life decisions. On Career Awareness Day, parents and other speakers from various fields meet with groups of eighth grade students to discuss their individual careers and answer students’ questions.
“Girl Talk” is a group that is designed to help middle school girls build self-confidence, address real-life situations, and learn the importance of building and maintaining healthy relationships. The group meets once a week for approximately 6-8 weeks. Members engage in a variety of activities and discussions designed to empower students on learning effective strategies and skills to achieve more positive relationships. Through the facilitation of counselors, members of the group feel a sense of cohesiveness, unity, and are able to positively reflect on their own growth and development.
"iOrganize" is a group offered to selected sixth grade students to help them develop self-advocacy, organizational skills, and study skills. Students get assistance with binder organization, test-taking strategies, speaking with teachers, and time management. The group meets once a week for five weeks on a rotating schedule.
During the middle school years students go through many physical, emotional, and academic changes. Students emerge through this process in their own ways and at many different rates. Students can often benefit from opportunities to promote social strengths and interpersonal relationships. Therefore, the Guidance Department has initiated a voluntary group called "Lunch Bunch." The group is facilitated by a guidance counselor who works with these students in a comfortable environment to develop their individual assets. The group meets once a week during the appropriate grade level lunch and runs for approximately six weeks. Through working together, the counselor facilitates discussion and utilizes those experiences to give students tools to feel more comfortable in their interactions with others.
Early in the school year, guidance counselors meet with all sixth grade students individually and in small groups to ensure their smooth transition to middle school. During the individual meetings the counselor gets to know each child individually and discusses issues relating to middle school expectations. In the group meetings, counselors focus on the “Role of the Counselor” and review the wide range of counseling services offered in the middle school. In addition to a review of guidance and counseling services, the counselors also facilitates a lesson entitled “Power Sources,” which focuses on the wide range of concerns and feelings the sixth graders may be experiencing. Following a discussion of the typical concerns and feelings, the counselors leads a discussion of “Power Sources” – things, people, and places students can reach out to when they are feeling stressed by the demands of life. The objective of the lesson is to underscore that there are many resources available to students, especially the school counselor, to help them cope.
Dealing with grief is never easy for anyone, but for children it is even harder. Children do not always have the tools to know how to deal with grief. Therefore, as adults, we have to educate and work with these students to help them cope. At LCJSMS school counselors are trained in the "Rainbows" curriculum and conduct groups to help students cope with the emotions surrounding divorce, separation, or the death of a loved one. "Rainbows" is an international, non-profit organization that fosters emotional healing for students grieving from a loss or life-altering event. The LCJSMS "Rainbows" group meets once a week for a specified period of time. The goal of these sessions is to help children put their feelings into words and work through their grief, to build a stronger sense of self-esteem, and to begin to accept what has taken place in their lives.
This group is intended to reach those students who have siblings with special needs. Our goal is to provide a fun supportive opportunity for kids to connect with peers who have a commonality. Topics will be geared towards the needs pf the group and appropriate for all middle school ages.
TRANSITION PROGRAM/SPEAKER’S BUREAU
There is a Transition Program in place at Summit High School designed to assist students in gaining a greater understanding of their learning disability and other related issues. One of the features of this Transition Program is known as the "Speaker’s Bureau". In this program, high school students participate in a workshop where they are trained to learn more about individual learning styles. In addition, they also learn self-advocacy skills to help enhance their chances of success in school. During the school year, these specially trained SHS students offer a workshop for our LCJSMS sixth graders to discuss some of these same issues. The sixth graders participate in a series of activities facilitated by the high school students designed to explore learning styles and teach self-advocacy skills. This year, the program is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, January 14, 2014. Following this half-day workshop, a small group experience for students is offered to build on these skills and is facilitated by the high school Transition Coordinator and a special education department.
In addition, a field trip to Summit High School is planned for all special education eighth grade students in May. The purpose of this program is to introduce the eighth graders to high school students and staff and familiarize them with the special services available at the high school. Students will also have the opportunity to tour the building and ask questions of students and staff.
All middle school Transition programs are planned by Mrs. Pat Walsh, SHS Transition Coordinator, and Mrs. Christine Lijoi, Special Education Middle School Supervisor.