Lewisburg Middle School Counselors do an impressive job creating a positive culture at our school, as well as educating our students about issues that help them to grow in maturity and handle the societal pressures of today.
Last month, we finished up our Anti-bullying campaign that is coordinated by the counselors. Each week the students participate in different activities to help them learn how to deal with all types of bully issues. Each week there is a theme and posters are hung from the ceiling at the front of each hallway that highlights the theme of the week. Their focus is to teach the students that they have choices to make when it comes to how to handle bullying and other social issues common among middle school ages, such as choosing to be an upstander instead of a bystander to bullying. Every day the students watch a video clip after hearing a challenge during the announcements that relates to the week’s theme. We also have a Kindness Matters barrel in the cafeteria where students and teachers can write kind words as a ‘shout out’ to be read on the intercom to promote positivity. These ‘shout outs’ also serve to show students how kindness towards others can make someone’s day and make a life-long impact. The counselors then spend time in the classroom teaching our students what it looks like in the real world to be an upstander and educates them on practical ways that they can implemented the skills they are learning into their everyday lives.
Mrs. Young goes into each 6th grade class during activity time and teaches the 6th graders differences between bullying and being mean. She helps students to identify what actions are truly bullying as well as talk about different ways that bullying can occur. She then helps the 6th graders by giving them ways to become upstanders for their peers that may be bullied, but have no one to turn to. She also gives students an opportunity to learn what it means to advocate for themselves when someone is treating them unkindly.
Mrs. Fleming goes into the 7th * 8th grade Social Studies classes and teaches empathy building to 8th and Cyber-bullying to 7th. In 7th grade most students have smart phones and are finally old enough to have social media accounts. This reality brings a whole new level of bullying into our schools and seems to hit a peak in 7th grade, where kids have not fully developed maturity skills. These small groups sessions led by Mrs. Fleming give our students opportunities to hear the impact that cyberbully has on others so they can learn just how serious cyberbully actually is for teenagers. Since students in 8th grade are beginning to mature and become more self-aware, as well as, aware that they can affect how others are feeling, Mrs. Fleming focuses on teaching what empathy is and why it is important to think before we act or don’t act in the case of being a bystander in the 8th grade sessions. The students also learn to think about the person that is doing the bully and decide why someone might be acting unkind or treating others mean. They learn that kindness can actually help the bully as well as those that are being bullied. The students are taught to celebrate difference among their peers and think about how these differences make our world a better place.
The close out activity for Anti-Bullying Month, which we are all very excited about, was a mix it up lunch…
During this time teachers will have a group of students that they will eat lunch with somewhere in the building or outside if it is nice enough. The teacher will guide the students through a discussion that hits the topics they have been learning about all month from our counselors. They will then play a team building game to just have fun together as a way to learn that you can enjoy being with people that are different from you and you can build a positive community just by spending time together.
These are only a few of the things our counselors do to make our school great. They host career day, host fieldtrips to colleges or career centers, teach goal setting, and meet with students on a regular basis to work on social skills, organization, grade improving, and challenging home lives. They also spend time with the teachers helping us troubleshoot problems with our students as well as our own personal challenges. I am grateful to work with such creative and caring people. There is no limit to the infinite amount of impact they have on all of us today and in the future because of what they choose to do each and everyday.