My name is Peggy Scott. I have had the opportunity to serve the Rochester School District since 1980. My job has evolved over the years from the Elementary School Counselor to the full time Junior High School Counselor. I believe every child has the potential to succeed. My mission is to direct and blend the skills of the students with their education to prepare them for a successful future. I focus on the individual student, their academic needs, and the social issues they may experience. The challenges of working with the junior high student are related to the vast changes in their physical, emotional and social maturity. One day they are most responsible, make terrific choices and are model students, the next day they maybe tearful, not thinking, giggly and can not remember where they left their lunch money. I enjoy working with these young people as they travel this emotional roller coaster towards maturity.
Listening to students, discussing feelings and needs, exploring options and reaching decisions are all skills each student will need in order to bloom into the young adult. This may happen in the cafeteria, in a hallway, the playground, in a group or in a private session in my office. My goal is to meet the student where they are and address the needs they have. Those needs may be learning how to get along with others, dealing with stress, overcoming fears, learning how to be confident, learn how to study, prepare for test, face disappointment or a host of others.
The state and national tests given to students must be scheduled and given at particular times throughout the year. It is helpful to have this arranged so that it does not fall on vacation days or during the end of the quarter when final exams may be given. This year our state and national testing for the 7th and 8th grade will fall between the dates of April 2nd through the 13th.
The 8th grade students are all required to take a nine weeks career education awareness class. This program is aimed at making students aware of skills they will need in the work force. Interest inventories and career exploration through interviews, guest speakers and videos are all part of the current curriculum. I have developed this curriculum and teach the class.
The Student Assistance program is design to help students who appear to be struggling with life in the Junior High. Teachers from each grade level meet on a regular basis to discuss issues that might impact the students. Specific students might be identified as having significant problems in getting along with peers, poor social skills, inability to make good decisions, being late for a particular class every day or failing only one subject. The SAP assigns someone to follow through with the student. Many times a student will just need to have a little extra time from an adult in the building, other times we need to refer the student or the concern to Special Education or to an outside agency.
Students who are having difficulty passing classes in the Junior High send up red flags for the teachers and myself. An investigation will begin into what is preventing this child from being successful. Is it more concentration, poor test grades, poor attendance, difficulty understanding the material, lack of motivation, inadequate study skills, lack of needed skills, problems at home, or a major life change? Any of these issues might cause students to fail. When investigating, I will talk with the students, teachers, parents and look at the test scores, and records from previous years to outline a plan to help the child succeed. In the event that I am unable to pin point a solution, I must refer the student to the Special Education program. This will involve special achievement testing and possible Intelligence Testing to determine if the child has a learning disability. When a child has a learning disability, they are entitled to special services. A parent meeting would be called to establish the Individual Educational Plan for the student.
The other aspect of making school successful for students is making sure they are placed in the appropriate classes. This may mean screening students by testing, referring to Special Education, or to challenge them by moving them into an advanced class. These changes take cooperation from the student, parents, teachers and administration.
I also work with students following prolong absences to help get them caught up with testing, tutoring them or helping to arrange a schedule to lessen their apprehension and stress upon returning to school. I counsel parents on issues dealing with their children providing them resources information about outside agencies for help. I meet with new students, giving them an orientation to our school, their courses, teachers and our schedule.