LaWanda Maloy, Counselor
The mission of Sanford Middle School's comprehensive school counseling and guidance program is to prepare every student socially, academically, and emotionally for present and future challenges. Students are provided with opportunities to gain an understanding of self and others, to participate in educational and occupational exploration, and to pursue career planning in an environment that is safe, caring and encouraging. The counselor works in collaborative partnerships with students, educators, parents, and community members to empower students to reach their highest level as productive members of society.
Guidance Curriculum - Each month, students will participate in classroom guidance lessons. The guidance curriculum includes structured experiences presented systematically through classroom and group activities, conducted by the counselor or representatives with expertise in the areas being addressed.
Small Groups - Throughout the school year, we will be facilitating small groups of students whom share a common issue. Group counseling can provide students an opportunity to develop solving strategies, learn new skills, and gain support from their peers who are going through similar circumstances. Often, these concerns can get in the way of a student's success in school. Sometimes students feel that they are the only ones who are feeling like they do and are reassured when they discover otherwise. These groups meet bi-weekly for 30 minutes a day, between 4-6 weeks. The groups are comprised of 4-6 students, depending on age and focus of the group.
Individual counseling is designed to give children the opportunity to discuss problems one on one with a counselor, gain insight, and learn skills to address the concerns. Counseling sessions are held biweekly for 30 minutes and last approximately four weeks.
Character Education- Today, all children face uncertainties in a complex and sometimes troubled society. Positive character traits are not always readily apparent and easy to grasp or learn. Therefore, our goal is to instill character traits within each child and provide them with the support they need to develop into strong, competent, caring, responsible and successful citizens.
A character trait will be emphasized each month exposing students to a "Word of the Week" that reinforces that trait. At the end of the month, students vote to select a classmate in their homeroom they feel best exhibits that month's character trait. Winners will be recognized monthly with a certificate, recognition in the Hornets' Buzz Newsletter and Guidance Department Newsletter, and a group photo will be posted on our SMS Class Act Bulletin Board.
Peer Mediation - Peer Mediation is a peace making process used to help students who have problems or disagreements with someone else. The disputants work together with the help of a neutral third party, to resolve their differences peacefully. Peer mediation is a way of working things out by attacking the problem, not the person. Students who have conflicts are able to sit face to face and talk uninterruptedly with the help of a mediator. Issues that are mediated are gossiping, rumors and teasing, just to name a few. Mediation is not used for illegal acts, serious violation of the rules and policies of the school (fighting, destruction of property, stealing, abuse, drug sales or use, weapons, etc.)
Families across the country are adapting to the evolving changes in daily life caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most schools, places of public gathering, and nonessential businesses are closed, and parents and other caregivers are faced with helping their families adjust to the new normal. This includes trying to keep children occupied, feeling safe, and attempting to keep up with schoolwork as best as possible. None of this easy, but it helps to stay focused on what is possible in order to reinforce a sense of control and to reassure children that they are okay, and that the situation will get better.
It is very important to remember that children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events. Acknowledging some level of concern, without panicking, is appropriate and can result in taking the necessary actions that reduce the risk of illness. Teaching children positive preventive measures, talking with them about their fears, and giving them a sense of some control over their risk of infection can help reduce anxiety. This is also a tremendous opportunity for adults to model for children problem-solving, flexibility, and compassion as we all work through adjustmenting daily schedules, balancing work and other activities, getting creative about how we spend time, processing new information from authorities, and connecting and supporting friends and family members in new ways. The following tips can help: