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School Counseling

What Does It Mean to Be A Middle School Student?

What parents may notice:

  • rapid physical growth, puberty

  • self-conscious, anxiety, clumsy and uncoordinated movements, stronger need for privacy

  • test limits, authority, and rules

  • a desire to develop autonomy or distance from parents or caregivers

  • an ability to detect inconsistencies, think about future changes, see possibilities, think of logical rebuttals (or "comebacks")

  • confusion, caught between dependence and independence

  • establish a sense of self (friends, clothing, music) yet may be carried out through a desire to be part of "the group"

  • Vernon, A. (2004). Counseling Children & Adolescents. Colorado: Love Publishing Company.

How parents can support children through these stages:

  • assist students in developing personal awareness and explore career and personal goals

  • help develop communication, listening, and interpersonal skills needed to relate well to others

  • set a specific study plan to include a study time and place, and check assignments on a regular basis

  • maintain contact with teachers and staff regarding your child's progress

  • be willing to make adjustments, adolescent children often display a range of moods and emotions

  • establish boundaries, yet allow them to make some decisions with your supervision

  • monitor telephone, video game, and television usage

  • know your child's friends and parents

  • speak with school counselors, administrators, and other support staff who can support you and your child during difficult times

Counselor's Corner

The Importance of School Counselors and Healthy Children in Our Changing World

  • By age 21, today's young people have faced more decisions than their grandparents faced in a lifetime.
  • One out of five families move each year, forcing children to get adjusted to new environments (social, academic, community, etc.).
  • Students are faced with making career and educational decisions to meet the demands of increasing standards.
  • Young people face increasing violence in our society and in their schools.
  • Some young people face hopelessness that can lead to self-destructive behavior.

Young adolescents affected by these and other problems are not able to achieve their full academic potential. The counselor's primary task is to help them become better learners by providing a comprehensive program that includes responsive services, individual planning, systems support and a guidance curriculum.

How Our Counselors Help Students

  • encourage positive attitudes among students toward self, family, peers and community
  • counsel students, individually and in groups, to encourage understanding and appreciation for their unique attributes and qualities
  • promote personal and social growth
  • support students in developing an individual plan for academic success (i.e., 4-year plan, career development, annual personal and academic goals)
  • develop and deliver classroom lessons that teach skills related to character education development, anti-bullying behaviors, techniques for making healthy decisions, and methods for resolving conflicts
  • challenge students to become invested in their school success by providing instruction on how school performance relates to career opportunities and personal development
  • work collaboratively with students, parents, and teachers to identify and remove barriers that may impede student achievement

What Our Counselors Know

  • early adolescence is an important transition period, which is a normal part of the developmental process
  • early adolescents benefit most from a team effort involving teachers, parents, students and administrators which can increase their focus on life-long learning
  • early adolescents must develop a healthy self-concept and motivation for learning in order to increase successes during this critical transition period
  • early adolescents greatly benefit from positive learning environments

Click on the links below for additional information.
GW COUNSELORS 2018-2019  

GW COUNSELORS 2018-2019 (SPANISH) 

Planning Guide: What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

Personal interests can lead to professional interests. What we enjoy doing as hobbies can allow us to explore career choices in these fields. Below are some ways to begin developing your career goals.

1. Think of your career in clusters. There are four main groups (clusters) that many careers fall into:

  • business and marketing

  • communication, arts, and media

  • engineering and industrial technologies

  • health, human, and public services

2. To identify what your interests are, you can complete an interest inventory, which will show areas that relate to your interests. The following links include career interest inventories:

3. Once you have an idea of your personal and career interests, select courses that will expand what you already know about this area. At the end of each school year, you will get a chance to select electives based upon your personal interests. Think about what skills you will need for each career interest you identified. Use the ACPS Program of Studies Guide to find class descriptions for each class choice you have made. Speak with your parents, teachers, and grade level school counselor to help you.

GWMS Counseling Directory

Your school counselor works to ensure a holistic educational experience and provides academic and social/emotional support to your child through their middle school journey. We are champions for all of our students! Please contact your school counselor should you need any academic and/or social/emotional support.

  • Individual Counseling: Academic Support, Social Skills, Stress Management, Self-Esteem, Grief/Loss, and more
  • Classroom Lessons: Emotional Literacy & Regulation, Empathy & Resiliency Skills, Interpersonal Skills, Understanding Healthy vs. Destructive Relationships, Coping Skills, Mental Health Awareness, Suicide Prevention
  • Individual Career & Academic Plans (ICAPs): Post-Secondary Six-Year Course Sequencing Plans, College Readiness,  Career Exploration, Goal Setting
  • Small-Group Counseling, Crisis Response Counseling, Student Support Team Collaboration
  • Student Leadership, Orientation/Transition Programming with 5th and 9th Grades
  • Class Scheduling, Registering New Students, State Standardized Testing, Community Resources for Families

Mr. Gregory Forbes
Director of Counseling
703-706-4500
gregory.forbes@acps.k12.va.us

Mr. Joshua Savoy
Registrar
703-706-4500
joshua.savoy@acps.k12.va.us

6th Grade Team

Ms. Amanda Najjar
Students with last names A-L
703-706-4515
amanda.najjar@acps.k12.va.us

Ms. Stacey Thomas
Students with last names M-Z
703-706-4515
sthomas@acps.k12.va.us

7th Grade Team

Mr. Kevin Malone
Students with last names A-L
703-706-4534
kevin.malone@acps.k12.va.us

Ms. Varita Mateos-Bendinelli
Student with last names M-Z
703-706-4534
varita.mateos-bendinelli@acps.k12.va.us

8th Grade Team

Ms. Ansley Shackelford
Students with last names A-L
703-706-4518
ansley.shackelford@acps.k12.va.us

Ms. Verline Jackson
Students with last names M-Z
703-706-4518
verline.jackson@acps.k12.va.us