Welcome to the Counselor Site
After hearing multiple questions such as “I heard my child went to see you today; is she in trouble?” and/or “Why is my child in a small group at school? Does he need therapy?”, I decided it was time to clarify who I am and what I do at Blue Grass Elementary School. I have also provided links to resources and information families may find helpful.
Some Information about Mrs. Bracey
My background includes a variety of careers (secondary English teacher, business owner/artistic director, professional choreographer, Creative Arts Academy (CAA) teacher, and school counselor) all having one common denominator: I am passionate about helping others succeed in one area or many!
Whether it was teaching high school students how to write research papers, training dancers at my academy, choreographing and/or directing performances, teaching at the CAA, or helping students navigate life’s ups and downs, I love empowering others to thrive.
I have a BA in English for Secondary Education (Spanish minor), MSEd in counseling, and am a Board Certified National Counselor (NCC). I am married to Tom Bracey, and we have two grown children who attended Blue Grass Elementary, Erin and Collin, and a son-in-law, Andrew Coffman. I am presently the school counselor at Blue Grass Elementary School and am there Mondays through Wednesdays.
What Does a School Counselor Do?
First to clarify, when students see a school counselor, they are NOT in trouble!
They learn and practice skills as a class, small group, or individual. These skills may include: how to calm down or cope with strong emotions (anxiety, disappointment, anger, etc.), how to develop healthy relationship boundaries, how to handle challenging friendship issues, and how to set and achieve goals. Students learn how to problem solve by considering alternatives and consequences. School counselors may make suggestions, but, ultimately, the choices (and consequences) belong to the student.
In order to develop trust with students, school counselors share a confidentiality statement: “I will not share what you tell me UNLESS someone is hurting you or you threaten to hurt yourself or others. I will get you help.” School Counselors (and all mandatory reporters) are obligated by law to get help for students in those serious situations. We take all threats of harm to self or others seriously and contact parents immediately in these cases.
Students also sometimes want to eat lunch with the school counselor for a variety of reasons: a change in atmosphere, to play games together, or to build friendships. The school counselor will encourage students to get to know each other, get along, and play fair during these lunches.
What Else Does a School Counselor Do?
School counselors collaborate with all school staff, students, and parents to help students with three main areas: academics, preparation for post secondary choices (college, trades, career), and social/emotional well-being.
School counselors provide class lessons to supplement:
- Second Step Skills for Academic and Social Success, social/emotional learning (SEL) core curriculum. For more information see secondstep.org
- PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports), a district-wide program. PBIS.org
- American School Counselor Association (ASCA) “Mindsets and Behaviors for Student Success”. schoolcounselor.org
- Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. violencepreventionworks.org
The class counseling lessons strengthen:
- Skills for Learning (focusing, listening, showing respect,etc.)
- Empathy (identifying others’ feelings, understanding perspectives, showing compassion, etc.)
- Emotion Management (identifying physical clues to help identify feelings, learning to calm down, and managing challenging emotions like disappointment and anger)
- Problem Solving (learning to follow steps to solve problems, brainstorm several solutions, explore positive and negative consequences for classroom, and peer-related issues)
School counselors provide small group and individual support when the student is struggling:
Besides teaching classroom lessons, counselors provide more support (Tier 2 just like in math or reading) in small groups or individual sessions when students need to be retaught or to practice a skill. davenportschools.org/mtss
School counselors also provide support for students facing other challenging situations. Some school groups include: friendship, changing family (divorce or other family changes), grief, and emotion management (anxiety, disappointment, anger, etc.).
School counselors provide referrals for therapists:
Just because your child is seeing the school counselor does NOT mean he/she needs therapy.
At times, a teacher, counselor, other educational professional or parent believes further testing or services will benefit a student. School counselors can provide names of private practice or agency therapists. If parents would like more intense and on-going services for their child/children, Blue Grass School also has a school-based therapist, Barbara Myers, from Lutheran Services in Iowa. You may contact her directly by phone (563) 322-7419 or email barbara.myers@LSIowa.org.
Other Family Resources
Click on the links below for more information.
An excellent social/emotional learning resource for parents of young children, http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/resources/family.html
Thanks for visiting the Counselor Site!
Please feel free to contact me! I am available Mondays – Wednesdays at Blue Grass School (563) 723-6200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.