School Counselors Make a Difference
School Counselors Make a Difference
Posted on 02/08/2018
Joe P. Eblen Intermediate School sixth-grade counselor Tiffany Kinnaird talks to a student in her office. By Tim Reaves
BCS Communications Department

Happy National School Counseling Week!

Thanks to generous support from Buncombe County Commissioners, BCS has at least one school counselor in every elementary school. These counselors use evidence-based methods to help students develop social and emotional skills that help them make the most of their classroom learning and daily life.

“BCS is recognized statewide and nationally as having high quality services and supports for our students through multiple structures,” said BCS Director of Student Services David Thompson. “This is primarily due to the dedication and professionalism of our school counselors who strive daily to meet the social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs of our students.”

“We serve all students in a range of different ways based on their needs,” said Joe P. Eblen Intermediate School fifth-grade counselor Megan Gallagher. “We teach lessons to entire classes, do small group counseling, and provide counseling to support individual students.”

“We want students to feel empowered and in charge of their own ability to learn,” said Joe P. Eblen Intermediate School fifth-grade counselor Gallagher said. “That way they get the most out of their education.”She and sixth-grade counselor Tiffany Kinnaird help implement the Compassionate Schools Model, which, among other things, teaches children to recognize unhealthy emotional states and use evidence-based techniques to calm themselves down.

“The more we understand how our brains and bodies work, the more control we will have over them,” Kinnaird said. “So we teach the kids how to solve problems, manage peer conflict, and build coping skills.”

“They help you learn how to stay calm when you’re angry,” said Doug, a sixth-grader. “When I get fouled in basketball, I want to hit the guy back. Instead, I take deep breaths to calm myself down. Then I take my two free shots and run down the court.”

The goal is to keep students engaged and learning by creating and supporting a healthy climate and culture within the school where all students can learn, Thompson said. It is not a “one size fits all” program. It is a process unique to each student’s needs and each school’s culture.

“We want students to feel empowered and in charge of their own ability to learn,” Gallagher said. “That way they get the most out of their education.”
Joe P. Eblen Intermediate School fifth-grade counselor Megan Gallagher leads a class in a breathing exercise.Joe P. Eblen Intermediate School fifth-grade counselor Megan Gallagher talks to a student in her office.
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