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Dear Parents

12 months ago


Dear Parent(s)/Guardian(s) of Valley View Elementary Center: 

My name is Renee Berry and I am your child’s school guidance counselor here at Valley View Elementary School. I was a school counselor since 2010.

As a Pennsylvania certified elementary teacher and school counselor, my role is to provide all students with equal access to the guidance program through classroom guidance lessons, small group and individual counseling sessions. I am committed to help all students benefit throughout the year in three specific areas of education: academic, social/emotional, and career development. I am also directly involved with, and in support of the school-wide Olweus Bullying Prevention Program as well as a member of our Instructional Support Team & Student Assistance Program. I am heavily involved in our School-Wide Positive Behavior Support Program (PBIS).

Please note: both group and ongoing individual counseling sessions will not occur without parental permission and my services are not a replacement for therapy. I will be happy to provide, at any time, a variety of community resources when needed. 

My door is always open so I encourage you and your children to utilize my programs and contact me with questions. I encourage you to visit this website often as an additional resource and for great information! 

If at any point throughout the year you feel your child may benefit from any of these services, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher or me directly. I hope we can all work together to make our time here at Valley View Elementary truly successful!

Olweus Bully Prevention Program

over 2 years ago

Official OLWEUS Bullying Prevention Program

EVERY STUDENT HAS A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO FEEL SAFE IN SCHOOL!!! 

Olweus Definition of Bullying:“Bullying is when someone repeatedly and on purpose says or does mean or hurtful things to another person who has a hard time defending himself or herself” Our goal at Valley View Elementary Center is to start reducing the number of bullying incidents and to teach the students that bullying is not okay! Students have "Olweus Anti-Bullying Classroom Meetings" once per week, which occurs every Monday morning. 


What Exactly Is OLWEUS
This program not only addresses the person who bullies, but also addresses the victims needs as well as the bystanders, who also play a major role in bullying. So what roles do students actually plan in bullying situations? The answer is followed:Students who Bully – start the bullying and take an active part  Student who is Bullied – the one who is being bullied BUT ALSO… Followers – take an active part, but do not start the bullying. Supporters – support the bullying, but do not take an active part. Passive supporters – like the bullying, but do not display open support. Disengaged Onlookers– [as their name implies] Possible Defenders – dislike the bullying and think they ought to help, but don’t do it. Defenders – dislike the bullying. Help or try to help the bullied student.


In the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, students have 4 rules to live by here at school!! 

These rules are:
1. We will not bully others.
2. We will try to help students who are bullied.
3. We will try to include students who are left out.
4. If we know that somebody is being bullied, we will tell an adult at school and an adult at home.

OLWEUS Anti-Bullying Rules


Instructional Support Team (IST) Program

over 2 years ago

IST is an intervention process for students experiencing academic and/or behavioral difficulties in school. Parents are highly encouraged to be involved in the process to help benefit their child at home as well as at school!

Any teacher, school staff, and/or parent may request support from this program if the student's needs are not being met under existing circumstances and if pre-existing accommodations and interventions made by the teacher were unsuccessful.

As the school counselor, l serve as an active member of this team along with other professionals in the school, such as the principal, classroom teacher(s), and support service personnel (i.e. Title teachers) and parents/guardians. On this team, we assist with the development of intervention and student support plans.

If a student is referred to IST,

  1. A team meeting is conducted with and appropriate staff members.
  2. The team uses a problem solving method to develop specific interventions to try to help the student.
  3. The student's progress is monitored and a follow-up meeting may be held.
  4. A meeting will determine the success of the interventions; which results in a successful intervention strategy and the IST process is complete, and/or strategies are continued and monitored for additional time, and/or the strategies are being redesigned, and/or the student is referred to a multidisciplinary team for further evaluation.

**Valley View School District has many resources for students who are struggling in any area of education!

Divorced/Separated Families

over 2 years ago

A family unit is a supportive and protective structure for children - when a separation or divorce occurs, this structure collapses and, depending on the developmental age of a child, this may result in loneliness, insecurity of uncertainty, and can sometimes be a very terrifying experience for kids. It's not an unknown fact that divorce rates are about the highest percentage they've ever been and regardless if a divorce happens when a child is in preschool, middle school, or an early adult - it affects ALL children one way or another. Please read the information provided in this section as a framework for helping children deal with the reality of divorce keeping in mind the majority of children who had both parents living together at one point or another thought it couldn't happen to them and their family.

With that said, all children of divorce must resolve certain things to achieve healthy development in their lives. 

Acknowledging the reality of the divorce is key! Not being able to accept it at first is common, but it is crucial to work towards acceptance; not only acceptance of the initial divorce but acceptance of the permanence of it. Many students hold onto the fantasy that their parents will eventually get back together and if they can't let that go, it will be hard to move forward.

Children often blame themselves and are very angry either at one parent, both parents, or angry at themselves for "helping it get this way" or get to this point. They go back in their minds to think about how they could've done things differently ("I shouldn't have fought with my sister so much, because then mommy or daddy wouldn't yell at me, which turned into them yelling at each other"). Children must forgive themselves for the family break-up, even if it's not at all their fault!

A divorce may influence how children view relationships, thinking they don't want to become involved in any relationship because it will fail. They need to realize that not all relationships will fail; on the other hand, they need to come to the realization that not all relationships will succeed.












  • Children need to focus on THEIR self-esteem and self-worth

  • Books are a wonderful resource in helping your child go through the divorce - and if they're old enough, letting them read the book on their own with themselves

  • Each child copes differently: discussing this with them and helping them be aware of how they cope most successful may help

  • Encourage children to think about the future and look forward to it, knowing challenges will lie ahead and discussing their strengths dealing with them when they come

  • As parents, remember to focus on children's needs rather than on past problems

  • Be open and honest about the divorce with your child (leaving out negative information about the other parent - this may just hurt too much)

  • Respect the parent-child relationship and, even though sometimes this happens, please try to refrain from seeking counseling from your child for your own problems

Grief and Loss

over 2 years ago

Guidance and Support Services for Children Experiencing Grief: (Including information for teachers!)
http://www.scholastic.com/childrenandgrief/

Navigating Children's Grief: How to Help Following a Death
This website helps student and parents alike understand death at different points in a child's life, including concepts and beliefs, difficult emotions, possible behaviors, and how to help children at a certain age during this sad time.

A pet (dog, cat, hampster, fish, etc.) is commonly the first loss a child may experience. Developmentally, this may be a true traumatic event that may take time to heal. Talking about the pet or writing about good memories with the pet may help in this difficult time. Creating a memory book also serves at a type of closure for a child.

A young child misplacing a toy or losing it altogether is a type of loss that can be very hard for a child to come to terms with. It's hard not to dismiss a child being upset about losing a toy because it seems very minute of a problem to adults, but through a child's eyes, losing a toy is a true loss for some children


Elementary Guidance Curriculum

12 months ago

Valley View Elementary School guidance lessons are on a rotating basis during student's scheduled STEM/Engineering time in the fall and Computer Science classes in the spring. Students will attend a class taught by me about once every 5-6 weeks on topics listed below!


Kindergarten Units:
Fall - Feelings      Spring - Introduction to Careers/Career Awareness

  • Kindergarten students will learn how to identify their own feelings as well as feelings in others. They will learn strategies of anger and frustration, as well as helping their peers and friends feel happy. 
  • The latter part of the year will focus on introducing students to careers around us - connecting their unique interests and talents to that of corresponding possible career choices for the future based on those interests and talents. 
First Grade Units:
Fall - Empathy   Spring - Career Exploration

  • First grade students will understand "Empathy" and the importance of helping others by "putting yourself in someone else's shoes". 
  • Career Exploration will help students navigate through careers in and around our neighborhood, as well as help students realize the importance of school to future careers.
Second Grade Units:
Fall - Teasing      Spring - Career Development

  • Second graders will learn the assertive way to deal with teasing and other bullying situations. The second half of the school year will help students expand their knowledge of the world of work, students will take a career interest inventory, and a more in-depth look at common careers will be taught. A free website www.grandmarose.com is linked to the book we read about teasing. The website has more information about the book and other books written by this author!
  • Career Development classes will use the website program "Paws in Jobland" to discover interest inventories and what students may enjoy exploring as a possible future career. Entrepreneurship is introduced and students create their own job application and/or their first resume by the time they leave 2nd grade!

Student Groups

12 months ago

Throughout the year, select students in Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade will be asked to participate in small educational groups focused on a specific topic. The groups will be run my Mrs. Berry, your child's School Counselor. Sometimes the groups are run in conjunction with a school counseling intern as well.

Groups typically run about 6-8 weeks (once per week) and are held during your child's lunch period. While the students are eating, the group facilitators will engage students in discussion, lessons, and activities in order to help them in a particular area of need.

Below are some examples of groups that are offered at different times throughout the school year:

SOCIAL SKILLS GROUP

Social skills includes anything from how to appropriately participate in a conversation, how to identify non-verbal cues, how to treat others including beliefs in what makes a good friend and looking for good friendship in others, role playing different situations of bullying or situations that could lead up to bullying including the role of the bystander, how to be a leader and make good choices

KEEPIN' IT COOL GROUP - Getting a handle on frustration

Students work together to build appropriate ways to express and handle anger and frustration. The overall goal is helping students understand that it is okay to be angry; it’s what we do with our anger that sometimes isn’t okay.  

REMOTE CONTROL GROUP - Help with Self-Awareness

This group is based on a curriculum from the book "Hunter and his Amazing Remote Control". Students learn that they have the control over their every day behaviors. Different "buttons" are learned, such as: Channel Changer: Tuning into the correct channel (i.e. when in class, your channel should be on the teacher and the lesson) Rewind & Fast Forward: Learning from mistakes and looking at possible consequences of behavior before acting Pause: Thinking before acting ...and more.

GIRLS FRIENDSHIP/SELF-ESTEEM GROUP

Lessons are oriented around peer aggression, being a bystander, self-esteem and leadership skills, recipes for friendship and meaningful friendships.

THE BUILDERS GROUP

Lessons include how to introduce themselves to others, focus on people who are talking, the importance of paying attention to details, about emotions and how to cope with different feelings, exploring their strengths, how to handle conflict and how we can be in same situation but see it differently (also known as perspective).


Student groups are fun, engaging, and rewarding for students and teachers. Students create a bond in a safe environment while eliminating barriers to learning. Small groups are part of the overall elementary school counseling program here at Valley View Elementary School and are a main component in thousands of elementary, middle, and high schools throughout Pennsylvania and the US.

  • If you have any questions about a particular group, feel your child will benefit from being part of one of the groups mentioned above, or have an idea for an additional group in the K-2 setting, please do not hesitate to contact me!

Fill My Bucket - Information on Bucketfilling

12 months ago

"The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up!" Mark Twain 

Students in Kindergarten and First Grade are taught the art of "Bucketfilling" based on the award-winning book "Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids" written by Carol McCloud

**Some students may not receive this lesson if the school year time frame does not allow.


Adapted from Carol McCloud's book introduction: "..it is helpful to think of every baby as being born with an invisible bucket. The bucket represents child's mental and emotional health. you can't see the bucket, but it's there. It is primarily the parents' or other caregivers' responsibility to fill a child's bucket. When you hold, caress, nurture, touch, sing, play and provide loving attention, safety and care, you fill your child's bucket. However, in addition to being loved, children must also be taught how to love others. children who learn how to express kindness and love lead happier lives. When you love and care about others and show that love with what you say and do, you feel good and you fill your own bucket too. This book was written to teacher young children how to be bucket fillers."

Great Ideas You Can Use

over 2 years ago

Children React the way they observe Others Reacting... (Video)


 It shows a visualization of how children learn behaviors, morals, and beliefs.

Celebrate Progress


Suggest that your child create a fun reminder of all the things he/she has accomplished. Let your child cover a container with construction paper and label it "I DID IT!" Then, write each success (ex: I memorized my times tables) on a slip of paper and put it in the container. If your child is feeling discouraged, have them read a few slips.