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SMS School Counselors Keep Connected with the Students

about meAn annual check-in about successes, struggles, friendships and more is an important way school counselors at Somers Middle School stay connected with their students. 

“About Me” is a short questionnaire School Counseling gives each year to sixth and seventh grade students. It was implemented in Somers several years ago under the updated New York State Learning Standards.

“It’s a chance for kids to identify their strengths, interests, struggles, friendships and even find solutions,” said seventh grade school counselor Ellen Bieber. “Having an annual 'About Me' check-in keeps us in tune with who they are, what they like to do and where they might need some extra supports.”

Bieber said a visit to the School Counseling office for the check-in is especially important for the sixth graders. “When they first meet with their counselor and fill out the form, it’s about building that relationship they may not have had in elementary school,” Bieber said. 

Opening the initial door for students’ “About Me” questionnaire gives counselors the ability to steer them to supports when necessary or even encourage them to join a club, sport or activity. “We are making sure they know how to pursue things, how to seek extra help and making them aware of what exists in the school for them to explore,” she said. She added that often times it’s a nudge about the WIN periods that offer students opportunities to try a new enrichment activity or receive academic intervention.

“The current sixth grade is filling out the About Me form in advance of their annual meeting, allowing the counselor and student to have more time to converse and develop a relationship,” said Ellen Fabian, sixth grade school counselor. “Hopefully, the individual connection opens the door to future opportunities for kids to schedule an appointment to go over their unique questions and or concerns.”

By the time students return to School Counseling for the seventh-grade questionnaire school counselors can dig a little deeper. Questions are geared toward friend relationships, identifying adults within the school and community they can trust, school challenges, interests and one or two “fun facts” about what makes them unique. Counselors often discuss with students how to manage stress and increasing academic pressures for seventh graders.

Bieber said these previous questionnaires are an important tool in the high school planning process for eighth graders. “We can point to something a student may have liked in sixth grade as an elective for them to take in high school,” she said. She said many times interests have changed, but sometimes students looking at their interests from sixth or seventh grade reignites the spark.