Welcome to my news page! I am excited to be able to post information about what we are doing when I am in your child’s classroom each week online instead of sending lots of paper home with them. I will leave previous posts up so that you can refer back to them as necessary, but the most recent info will always be added above any previous content so you can get to the new stuff quickly. As always, feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or concerns about the information here or about your child.  

If you are looking for information about Student Council meetings or events please see the Student Council Page.

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MOST RECENT NEWS

December 5, 2016

Today begins the 12 Days of Gratitude Challenge!  Practicing gratitude develops the healthy mental habit of looking at the positive side.  Numerous studies have shown that gratitude practice and journaling reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety.  And, it’s a great way to prepare for the coming of Christ this Advent.

Here’s how the challenge works- from now until Dec. 20, students should write down 2-3 things (depending on their grade) each day the are grateful for on the grid sheet I handed out today.  If they do this at least 12 of the 16 days before Christmas break, they can receive a treat from me.  Student council will be helping me share teacher’s gratitudes on the announcements next week.

Parents can participate too, if you like.  Saying prayers of thanks with your child for the gratitudes written down each night and having your child share them with you are just a few examples of ways you can be part of the challenge at home.

Lastly, while I hope all our SMS families have a wonderful and blessed Christmas, I know the holiday season can be difficult for some families due to circumstances, loss of loved ones, etc.  If there is any reason your student might be having a hard time or you would like me to give them extra support, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Merry Christmas to all!

October 19, 2016

The time has gone so fast!  It is already my third week at St. Mary’s.  During that time, I have established regular counseling lesson schedules with each classroom and begun meeting with students at their and their parents’ request.  Always feel free to contact me with questions or concerns!

Classroom time so far has been devoted to bullying prevention.  October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and we have adopted the theme “Kind = Awesome” for our prevention efforts.  Students have made posters of kind, supportive words and advice for dealing with bullying.  We have also made a unity chain.  All acts of kindness make our school strong and positive!  Our enormous paper chain and posters will be displayed on the bulletin board near the preschool room right after MEA break ends.

The focus of our bullying prevention has been understanding what bullying is and empowering students to know what to do if they or someone they know has been hurt.  It has also been important for us to understand how bullying is different from disagreeing, having a conflict, and being bugged or annoyed by someone.  We’ve learned that it is always okay to tell an adult what’s happening.  This includes asking the counselor, teacher, or another trusted adult for help, even if the student isn’t sure that it is bullying.  In future “booster” lessons, we will revisit the power bystanders can have to change a bullying situation.

Online resources you can explore with your child to help make sense of bullying include:

bullyingdefensetools.com

pacerkidsagainstbullying.org

teensagainstbullying.org

www.stompoutbullying.org

As always, please contact me if you have any concerns about your child.  Enjoy break!

-Miss Jessica

March 1, 2016

 

Spring is coming! I was blessed to have a beautiful day for my wedding this past weekend, so I am now Mrs. Quast. Students are still welcome to call me Kelli, as most have always done, but my new email is kquast@stmarysbi.com.

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January 6, 2016

Happy New Year everyone! Thank you to all of the students and families that brought or contributed to Christmas gifts this holiday season. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.

In 2016, all grades are starting with a unit on goals and goal setting. Middle Schoolers will complete a Goal Vision Board to expand on how to plan for accomplishing a goal.

I look forward to a wonderful year!

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November 23, 2015

Hello Parents!

As we approach Thanksgiving, I want to take a moment to thank all of you for the wonderful gift you have given all the staff at St. Mary’s, including myself, in sharing the wonderful gift of your children with us. We truly could not do what we do without all of you! Your support of the school, and of my role within it, does not go unnoticed.

Throughout the month of November we have been working on the concept of “Growth Mindset.” Younger classes are learning about how mistakes are part of learning and how to accept mistakes. Older classes are looking at the concept in more depth, and making comparisons of Growth and Fixed Mindsets. My goal is for students to understand that, with effort, they can accomplish anything! Too often, I see students with a fixed mindset, meaning that they feel because they have failed, or needed to work at it, that they are not smart enough or not good enough and  should just give up to avoid further failure. For more information on mindset, please watch this video: https://youtu.be/ElVUqv0v1EE

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October 19th, 2015

Hello Parents!

I hope your year has been off to a smooth start! In my classroom lessons, we have been busy getting reacquainted and talking about school success. We have talked about listening skills and paying attention, we will revisit this topic to talk more about organization and time management as the year progresses. Middle School students were reminded the importance of using the tools that they have (digital planner, iPad alarms, and missing assignment notices) in order to help them stay on track.

As we move through October we will start to cover our bullying unit. We celebrate Red Ribbon Week as a reminder to be both bully and drug free, as both these topics have weeks in October. With the marathon, there is not enough time to celebrate each of the weeks so we merge the two and focus on how preventing both substance abuse and verbal/physical abuse can help us to lead happy and healthy lives. We talk about the importance of reporting to adults if they ever feel hurt or threatened or if they ever see someone else being hurt or threatened.

We also talk about the difference between bullying, mean moments, teasing, and conflict, as not every uncomfortable situation falls within the realm of bullying (even though they do all need to be addressed and corrected). Another important factor that I try to stress with students is that bullying is something people do not who people are. I believe it is important to label the behavior, not the child, as even students who make poor choices deserve the opportunity to learn and grow from these mistakes, not be defined by them. The same is true for students that have experienced bullying, I prefer to talk about what they have experienced, not refer to them as victims. In both situations it is important for the student to know that they can change the outcome of the situation – students that have experienced bullying are not bound to be victims forever and students that have hurt others are not bound to be bullies forever. By labeling the behavior instead of the person, we empower students to define their own outcome. By teaching them tools of empowerment, we hope that they will be able to avoid or at least successfully navigate any similar situations that they may encounter in their lives.

If you have questions about the information here or are looking for additional support for your student, please feel free to contact me!

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August 28th, 2015

Welcome Back! I am very excited to be back at St. Mary’s and even more excited for the students to join us. The halls are really much too quiet without them! Just like last year, I will be in every classroom once a week for the majority of the school year teaching lessons. I will usually have a monthly theme, but will also be tailoring lessons to the class/grade level as needs arise for different groups at different times of the year.  We will start the year with some back-to-school introductions. Then we will go from there!

My role is to support students academically, socially, and emotionally, so there are a lot of topics to cover! Some students will need additional support in one of these areas than others. When this happens, we will discuss meeting individually or in groups of other students dealing with the same issues. Parents will always be notified when I feel that ongoing individual meetings or a group might be beneficial for their students. Students and parents are also welcome to request a regular check in with me if they feel it would be helpful. Meeting times are coordinated with the student, staff, and my schedule to provide minimal disruption to the school day.

If you have any concerns about your child at any point during the year, please let me know. Our conversations will always remain confidential unless I am given permission to share them with your student, their teacher, or others in the building that may need to know what is going on.

As I am also the technology coordinator, most of my mass communication will come digitally via this page or email. I will also see your student once a week for a technology class if they are in grades K-5 and will send those communications digitally as well. Please check back or contact me for additional information if you are looking for something that you don’t see here!

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Looking for more information about the role of a School Counselor? CLICK HERE to read what the American School Counselors Association says about my role.  My training is based on this model, and I will work to align my program goals with the national standards. For a more kid-friendly description, check out this link: http://kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/school/school_counselors.html#cat20067