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DSA Counselor:

Leah Kriss

What Does a School Counselor Do?

School Counseling is a general education service provided for all students. It's purpose is to help students navigate, problem solve, and deal with concerns that are impacting their school day - which may include interactions with peers and staff, poor academic performance and management of emotions and behavior. School Counseling is not ongoing therapy and is not for the purpose of addressing parent concerns within the home.  We do have some outside resources available that we can refer parents to for therapy or concerns at home. School Counseling is primarily educational in nature and topics include, but are not limited to, focus on social skills, conflict resolution, anger/anxiety management, and bullying/teasing.  The ultimate goal is for all students to feel valued and loved and to help them to develop resiliency skills that help them overcome challenges and/or adversity.


Features of the Counseling Program at Desert Sun Academy include:

Gabriel's Angels - Select students are chosen to participate in this bi-monthly opportunity for pet therapy presented via a community resource.

Lunch Bunch - The is an informal group setting that allows students the opportunity to build relationships and understanding of each other. Each day, students from select grade levels have the opportunity to join peers at their grade level in the counselor's group room to practice social skills via games and discussion. The group size is approximately 6-8 students and the students participating are always changing.  This opportunity is available to all students. If parents do NOT wish to have their son/daughter participate in these groups, they should notify the classroom teacher.

Conflict resolution support groups may be intermittent groups held to help students work through conflicts they are having with their peers. The lengths of these groups may vary depending on the needs of the students.   If the students need more than 1-2 sessions to resolve the conflict, then it will become a specialty group and parent consent will be solicited to continue. 

Specialty Groups - These groups are weekly meetings that run 4 to 6 weeks. They are specifically designed to meet the needs of a specific student population. Students participate in these groups with parental consent and they are held during instruction time.  Some examples include; ADHD support group (emotional/behavior regulation, writing skills, or cognitive regulation skills). 

Classroom Lessons - Social Emotional Learning lessons are co-taught with the classroom teacher based on specific requests and group dynamics.

Individual Student Interviews - Each student who is referred for specific counseling support has the opportunity to meet 1:1 in a "Get to Know You" Interview. Where the student can talk about personal interests and activities as well as things that are motivating and or upsetting to them.

Informational Videos in the "Dazzler" - The counselor sometimes creates an informative video for parents that reviews skills and topics taught during lunch bunch meetings and/or classroom lessons that parents may discuss with the student at home. 

Check In and/or Check Out - For students who may require consistent monitoring to support emotional or behavioral needs.  This is a quick 10 minute opportunity for students to share how their day has gone and receive suggestions on how to improve the outcome of their day.

Crisis Support - The school counselor may be called upon to support students in a crisis and require community intervention, which may include parent pick-up or contact with DCS or Crisis.

Admin Support - During times when the principal is unavailable, the Counselor will be called upon to investigate and perform conflict resolution. Disciplinary actions will be determined by the Principal.