School groups help students deal with issues
There's a group for that at Schultz Elementary School.
From combating behavioral issues to developing leadership skills, the school aims to provide groups outside the classrooms for students. Guidance counselor Diana Huston said she currently has about eight groups of students she meets with on a weekly basis.
"Kids get so much more out of groups than they do just listening to me. They learn from each other and it's just more fun," she said.
One group, The Best Me I Can Be, is for students in first and second grade who are having trouble adjusting to school, or who have behavioral issues.
"We work on anything from anger and stress management, to listening skills, friendship skills, social skills and focusing in the classroom," Huston said.
Some recent activities involved Huston teaching students how to focus on their schoolwork amid a sea of distractions. They discussed all the different distractions that could happen in the classroom, such as phones ringing, kids getting up and leaving, doors opening and closing, etc.
"I had the students read a book to their friend while I attempted to distract them," she said. "Their task was to continue focusing on their reading by using the strategies we talked about."
Another activity, Huston said, was an experiment that gave students visual examples of how things such as tattling, whining and bossing people around get in the way of friendship. They also learned that by using good manners and saying nice things to people, people will be more inclined to want to be their friend.
Huston also meets with students who have a variety of skills and challenges. There are two groups of students whose parents are divorced, another group of students who are affected by drug and alcohol abuse in their families and one for students who have speech and social challenges.
Most of the groups meet for 30 minutes once a week for roughly eight weeks, Huston said. She said they are developed around the challenges the students are facing.
She said she observes students in the classroom, on the playground and in the cafeteria and sees the different issues they face. She develops the groups based on her findings and reports from teachers.
Although she doesn't always see tangible results but that is not her goal.
"Seeing results isn't the end-all, be-all for me. I'm planting seeds. We're planting this information in the students so that in the future it will come back to them," she said.
Huston also meets with a group that focuses on developing leadership skills. She lunches with different students once a month and focuses on the seven leadership principles that some of the other Delaware City Schools' elementary schools are working on.
Parents and teachers will refer their children to the groups in order to get assistance from Huston outside of the classroom.
"No one told me I have to do groups, but it's an ideal way for me to do my job," Huston said. "My job is to provide services to families and children for them to have the best possible experience they can have. This is a way I can do this and advocate for the children."