• Counselors' Corner
    As school counselors, we play an integral part in the education of all students by focusing on academic, social, emotional, and career awareness in addition to providing developmental, preventative, and remedial services.  The school counseling curriculum provides us with the opportunity to work with students in large groups (classroom) and small groups, as well as individually to provide assistance in solving problems that may interfere with their educational and personal development.

     Classroom Lessons
    Classroom lessons are provided throughout the year to ALL classes at Hillside.  Mrs. Darnell teaches lessons to grades K (Bahn, Dailey, and Griffin), 1, 2, and 5 and Mrs. Peterson teaches lessons to grades K (Breitzmann and Corigliano), 3 and 4.  Lessons occur roughly every other week and each lesson is scheduled for 30 minutes.  Class activities and discussions with students focus on a variety of topics such as understanding self and others, making friends, differences in tattling and reporting, cooperation, teamwork, problem solving, decision-making, conflict resolution, career awareness, and character education. 
     Small Group Lessons
    Small group lessons will be offered throughout the year for students to discuss specific concerns they have in common with other students.  All of these groups meet once a week for 30 minutes during school hours and last for approximately 6 - 8 weeks.  Group meeting times will be determined after each child's classroom schedule is reviewed and a time can be scheduled that interferes the least with their academic/specialist work. 
    Each small group is separated by age.  Mrs. Darnell runs small groups for students in grades K, 1, 2, and 5 and Mrs. Peterson runs small groups for students in grades K, 3, and 4.  Permission slips outlining the group objectives will be sent home prior to the first meeting of each group.  No student will be allowed to participate in a small group without a signed parent/guardian permission slip.  Students, teachers, parents, and school administrators all work together to decide if a student could benefit from participating in a small group.  Our first round of small groups will begin in October and the second round will begin in February.
    Small groups offer an excellent opportunity for students' concerns to be validated since they find that other students experience the same issues.  Confidentiality is a key component in each group to ensure that information discussed in group stays in group.
    Some of our small groups at Hillside Elementary...
    Aces - This group helps third, fourth and fifth grade students learn study, organizational and test-taking strategies to lessen test anxiety, and help improve grades.
    Banana Splits - This group is for children whose families have recently experienced a divorce or separation.
    Cool Cats - Designed for students who would like to learn positive ways to express & control anger.
    Forever Friends - This group will discuss how to establish & maintain positive friendships along with practicing decision making & problem solving skills.
    Flexible Thinking - This group helps student learn how to handle a variety of social situations and allows members to develop their social skills in a safe environment.
    Good Grief - This group focuses on helping students develop effective ways to cope with a sick loved one or the loss of a loved one (family member, friend, pet).
    Marvelous Me - Helping students improve their self-esteem, this group celebrates individuality & feeling better about themselves.  
    Stressbusters - Focuses on practical methods of stress reduction & curbing perfectionism.

    Individual Counseling
    We are also available to meet individually with students to discuss any concerns or worries that may impact their learning while here at school.  Student issues typically are those of friendship, grief, divorce, conflict, and school anxiety.  Students may be referred to the counselor by a parent, teacher or administrator.  Students may also refer themselves.  Mrs. Darnell is the counselor for grades K (Bahn, Dailey, and Griffin ), 1, 2, and 5 and Mrs. Peterson is the counselor for K (Breitzmann and Corigliano), 3, and 4.

    Parent Consultation
    Additionally, we are available for consultation with parents to discuss issues which may be impacting a student's academic achievement and to help plan strategies for successful learning.  Parenting resource books are available, as well as other useful materials that we will gladly lend to parents throughout the year.  There is also a special section in the front of Hillside's school library, called the Parent Resource Library, with parenting, child development, child enrichment, cooking, and activity books available for check out.  Hillside's PTO has very generously donated money to get the Parent Resource Library established and continues to give money each year in order to add materials to our collection.  Please stop by and see our wonderful Parent Resource Library!
    Parent workshops that focus on a range of topics are offered during the school year.  These workshops are excellent opportunities for you to consider some new ideas and to discuss concerns with other parents.  There will be information on the School Counselors' webpage along with flyers that will be sent home regarding upcoming workshops.
    We are here to help your child have the best year possible and to assist you and the teacher in making that happen.  Please feel free to call us at (571) 252-2170 or email us at kimberly.darnell@lcps.org or tracy.peterson@lcps.org if you have a concern you would like to discuss.