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Social Emotional Learning

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

How Screen Time Affects Kids

  A few weeks ago my high school hosted a presentation by Dr. Mike Brooks, a highly-regarded psychologist here in Austin.  Dr. Brooks is the founder of the Austin Psychology and Assessment Center, which is one of the main testing centers in town.  In addition to providing psychological services for the Austin community, Dr. Brooks spends much of his time researching the use of technology by kids.  His research dates back to the golden age of video games, and he has written many articles on the subject. The presentation at my school was titled:  Tech Generation: Raising Balanced Kids in [...]

Now Offering Full Testing for ADHD and Learning Differences!

First let me say Happy New Year to all of you! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday break and that 2018 will be a great year for everyone. It’s fun to look back and see how far we’ve come in a brief year. Although I spent much of New Year’s Eve recovering from whatever sickness has been going around, there was still plenty to celebrate. I wrote previously on the Texas State Board’s proposal to allow Licensed Psychological Associates to practice independently, provided they fulfill additional requirements, and the impact that decision may have on mental health. Well in [...]

Social and Emotional Learning – Relationships

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Texas Psychological Association’s annual convention, an event that I go to every year as part of my ongoing professional development.  There were a few sessions I checked out, but one in particular stood out as especially relevant:  Resilience Starts in Schools:  SEL for Healthy Relationships, which was conducted by Dr. Jeff Temple and Ms. Lauren Scott, both from UT-Medical Branch in Galveston. My last post explained Social/Emotional Learning using the model developed by CASEL and presented its 5 core competencies.  Dr. Temple and Ms. Scott utilized this model throughout their presentation, but [...]

Understanding Social/Emotional Learning

  Over the past few years, the concept of Social/Emotional Learning has emerged as a hot-button topic in education.  It’s now a buzzword in local communities, having received national attention both positively and negatively. But what exactly is Social/Emotional Learning, and why does it matter? CASEL CASEL is an organization formed in 1994 and is widely regarded as having developed the most comprehensive and well-researched approach to defining Social/Emotional Learning (SEL). According to CASEL, SEL is: the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and [...]

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