Oyster River Schools Recognize National School Counseling Week

Oyster River Cooperative School District
SAU No. 5
Superintendent James Morse
36 Coe Drive
Durham, NH 03824

For Immediate Release

Monday, Feb. 4, 2019

Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Phone: 617-993-0003
Email: [email protected]

Oyster River Schools Recognize National School Counseling Week

Oyster River Cooperative School District counseling staff painted owls during a team building and self-care activity on Oct. 5, 2018 at the Offbeat Owl in Exeter. Back row, left to right: Hannah Cunningham, Sean Peschel, Sandi Osterloh, Jason Baker, Dagmar Lamberts, Brenda Terrell, Rheanna Cote, JoAn Saxe, Ryan Long. Front row, left to right: Kim Sekera, Heather Machanoff, Carina Dolcino, Kim Cassamas, Jean Wons. (Courtesy Photo Oyster River Cooperative School District)

DURHAM –Superintendent James Morse is pleased to announce that Oyster River Cooperative School District will recognize the support, resources, and programming school counselors provide to students starting Monday for National School Counseling Week.

Sponsored by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), National School Counseling Week begins Monday, Feb. 4, and ends Friday, Feb. 8.

“Oyster River is fortunate to have school counselors who place students at the center of all decisions,” Morse said. “It’s not about the district or the school, it’s the child and the child’s needs. Oyster River counselors know success in school means addressing all aspects of the child, from mental health and wellness to academics.”

Oyster River Cooperative School District has made it a priority over the last decade to create a comprehensive K-12 counseling program. In July 2016, counseling and administration staff underwent a crisis response training and have also worked to improve the crisis response process in the district.

“National School Counseling Week recognizes school counselors who implement comprehensive school counseling programs, a vital part of the educational process for all students as they meet the challenges of the 21st century,” said Heather Machanoff, K-12 Counseling Director.

The district has also adopted CASEL standards for Social Emotional Learning, which seek to support student self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, responsible decision making, and relationship skills in the classroom, at school, at home, and in the community.

According to Machanoff, counseling staff at Oyster River have also been able to use resources including the results of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey to implement targeted programming and interventions for students.

At the elementary school, teachers are currently testing a Social Emotional Learning Curriculum, which includes initiatives such as the Open Circle program in Kindergarten through grade four. Oyster River Middle School is also developing an advisory program, and last year Oyster River High School delivered a ‘Bringing in the Bystander’ training to address sexual harassment. The district also held a student led community mental health forum in November, and HAVEN programming has extended to include grades five through eight in addition to Kindergarten through grade four.

“Focusing our school and broader community on mental health was brought to the forefront with the adoption of a 2015 school board goal surrounding mental health,” Machanoff said. “The work began with a number of community based events, and the focus has shifted to a more programmatic approach. Our mental health team including school counselors and school psychologists evaluate programming to support our students while building skills.”

“Our programming and approach is evolving as a result of the changing needs of our students and families,” she added.

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