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How to Teach SEL Skills

Several months ago I wrote a blog about Social and Emotional Learning that explored the basics of the concept.  CASEL is widely recognized as the authority on Social and Emotional Learning, as it’s five core competencies are emphasized in schools around the country.  My previous post examined these competencies and briefly discuss how to foster Social and Emotional Learning. Today I’d like to look a bit closer at specific ways teachers and educators can implement Social and Emotional Learning in the school environment.  CASEL offers an excellent video in collaboration with Edutopia called 5 Keys to Social and Emotional Learning Success.  This [...]

2 Skills Every Child Needs

  A couple of weeks ago I attended a college admissions round table in Houston.  The format was much more informal than a traditional conference, and it allowed for some really good back-and-forth discussion with the other college counselors in attendance.  It’s always good to get other professional opinions on topics such as these, and I certainly learned quite a lot. As the newly-minted Director of Counseling at my school, my main role is to provide social and emotional guidance for our students.  We have a separate college counselor who oversees college admissions, but I am still highly involved in [...]

Film Review – Race to Nowhere

This past Sunday I was invited to a screening of the documentary, Race to Nowhere, and sit on a discussion panel afterwards.  This particular event was hosted by a private K-8 school in Austin, and it was a chance for parents to 1) see the film, and 2) discuss the issues raised.  I was very impressed with the level of engagement by the parents in attendance and the questions they had. This particular documentary was released in 2010.  It focuses on the rise in anxiety and depression as a result of increased academic demands on students.  The issues included increased [...]

Test Taking Tips for Final Exams

Only 2 weeks of school to go!  But before we dismiss for the winter break, many students must endure and conquer fall final exams.  While final exams are essentially non-existent for elementary students, many middle-school and almost all high-school students must prepare for these major exams.  But preparing is only half the battle.  How can a student effectively take the exam once the preparation is over?  Here are my top test taking tips for final exams. Make sure you have the correct exam. This may seem obvious, but I’ve seen students discover they have been taking the wrong final exam [...]

How to Self Care during the Holidays

Halloween is over, and my two favorite holidays are approaching:  Thanksgiving and Christmas!  But before we get to the food, presents, and fun, there is still a lot of work to do.  This time of year can produce a lot of good times; but at the same time, this time of year can be anxiety-inducing and stressful.  As we near the holiday season it is important to think about self care. Say Thanks Thanksgiving reminds us to “give thanks.”  We should probably do this throughout the year, but I do like the idea of dedicating an entire week to this [...]

All about Anxiety

As a high school counselor I am very in tune with the problems and issues teens face on a daily basis.  Social media, bullying, drugs and alcohol, and diet are all hot topics in schools around the country.  Another issue, anxiety, is one I have seen escalate over the years.  Anxiety is the most common problem reported by children of all ages.  So many of our kids are feeling anxiety for a variety of reasons, and treatment for this disorder, whether medication or coping skills, is also on the rise. This week our school hosted Dr. Whitney Wheeler from the [...]

Why Try Something New?

Now that summer is over and we’re all back to our “normal” school year routines, I think it’s important to take a moment to examine what these routines are.  Are they beneficial?  Do they help make us the best person/student we can be?  Are they even the most efficient routines? Many of us wake up in the morning, check our phones, take a shower and head off for work or school.  Once we’re at work or school there is likely a routine we follow for much of the day:  same class periods each day, same meetings each week, same teacher [...]

What’s in Your ADHD Report

Awhile back I wrote a post on the process for getting a psycho-educational report done for your son or daughter.  Simply put it involves three steps:  an intake, assessment, and feedback session.  This is a standard format for most psychologists. However, one question I get quite frequently when I meet with parents is:  How do you determine if my son or daughter has ADHD or a learning disability? This is a great question!  And I often times do not consider that parents may actually want to know the nuts and bolts of the evaluation.  While psychologists and LPAs are free [...]

The Role of the High School Counselor

What, exactly, does a high school counselor do? During the past two weeks, I was visiting my wife’s family up in Connecticut.  In addition to escaping the Texas heat and spending time at the beach, I also met up with one of my best friends, who is a teacher at a prestigious private school in CT.  He was having a cook-out at his house, and several of his colleagues were also there. New England private schools tend to have a much different personnel set-up than ours in Texas, and I got into an interesting conversation with their school’s Director of [...]

Important College Application Information

  As I sit here writing this, students in Texas are all finally on summer break.  Seniors are now officially college freshmen, and every other grade has now moved up.  This takes us to last year’s juniors, who are now officially seniors.  I’ve already had several families contact me with questions about the college application process, even though it is still early June.  Below is some important information to ensure your student is on track to submit applications in a timely manner. Understand the different applications The college application timeline has gotten a little simpler over the years with the [...]

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