Our School Counselor: Ashlee Demastus
My name is Ashlee Demastus, and I am thrilled to join the Barcroft team as the School Counselor. I graduated with my MA in School Counseling from George Washington University and have a specialization in Trauma and Crisis Management through ASCA training. My background includes a wide-range of educational and counseling opportunities. I have had the privilege of traveling around the world, working with school-aged children in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Haiti. Multicultural counseling has been a strong influence on my practice. I am passionate about facilitating “a-ha” moments, building relationships, and helping to transform challenges into opportunities for growth. When I am not at work, I can be found reading, tending to my indoor jungle, spending time with friends and family, practicing yoga, and cooking. I look forward to working together. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need any assistance (email@example.com).
Second Step Program Details
If you would like to have access to family resources related to the Second Step program, please go to app.secondstep.org to create an account using the appropriate activation key for the grade level of your student. Here are some instructions to access Second Step resources:
- Go to https://www.secondstep.org/create-account
- Enter your email address and create a password
- For Job title, select “Parent”
- Enter your State, city, and select your student’s school
- Enter your family activation key under “Product activation key”
- Navigate to “My Dashboard”
- Here, you can choose to view Resources (support material for parents), or Streaming Lesson Media, which gives access to the lesson videos and songs. This will also allow you to access the Homelinks linked below.
Counseling Lesson Units
|Zones of Regulation||Emotion Management|
|Skills For Learning||Problem Solving|
|Child Protection Unit||Mental Health Awareness Month|
Homelinks are extension activities that students and families may choose to do at home to build on what we’ve learned in the classroom during counseling lessons. Not every lesson has a Homelink, and Ms.Purugganan doesn’t each every lesson that does have a Homelink. Please note that in order to access these links, you need to first set up your own Second Step account. Instructions are at the top of this webpage.
The Zones of Regulation program is being used at Barcroft as a universal language for identifying how we are feeling, and what strategies would be most helpful for us with those feelings.There are four zones. Each zone reflects how someone is feeling and their level of energy (e.g. too low, too high). While none of the zones are “good” or “bad”, students are most available for learning when they are in the Green zone.In the first counseling unit of the school year, students learn to identify the face and body clues associated with each zone and talked about how peers and teachers might feel/react when they see someone in each zone. Older students generate a “toolbox” of strategies they could use when they were in the Blue, Yellow, or Red zones so they could get back to the Green zone and be available for learning. Please consider using Zones vocabulary at home and ask your child what strategies they can use to increase their energy, decrease their energy, and calm themselves down when they’re upset.
Listening Skills, Attent-o-Scope, Self-Talk
In our Skills for Learning unit, Kindergarten and 1st grade learn about our listening skills. Ask your student to show you the hand signals for the following listening skills:
- Looking eyes (point to your eyes)
- Listening ears (cup your ears)
- Voices quiet (put a finger up to your closed lips)
- Body still (give yourself a gentle hug)
We also learn about the super powerful Attent-o-Scope! Our Attent-o-Scopes are on when we have focused our attention and are using all of our listening skills. There’s an especially neat hand signal for the Attent-o-Scope (you pretend to hold binoculars up to your eyes).
We also learn about using self-talk to remind ourselves to stay on task. When we use self-talk, we are using a whisper or reminding ourselves silently to “focus”, “don’t get distracted”, or “use the Attent-o-Scope”.
First graders learn about three different forms of communication. When we speak in a passive or aggressive way, we are not as clear or direct as we need to be. Instead, it is best to use a calm, respectful and strong voice in order to be assertive.
In 2nd and 3rd grades, we learn about three important parts of our brains: our amygdala (which helps us react quickly in situations), our hippocampus (which helps us remember things), and our prefrontal cortex (which helps us make strong choices). We also learn mindfulness practices to help us focus our minds.
Setting Goals and Making Plans
4th and 5th grade students learn about setting short- and long-term goals and making plans to achieve them. Using the Good Plan Checklist, we check our plans to see if:
- The plan matches the goal
- There is enough time to accomplish the plan
- It is not too complicated
- It’s achievable
In our Bullying Prevention unit, Barcroft students learn how to Recognize, Report, and Refuse Bullying. We also learn about being Upstanders.
Bullying hurts someone’s body, feelings or belongings; it happens on purpose; it is unfair or one-sided; it happens more than once; and we are unable to get it to stop.
When we recognize bullying it happening, we must report it to a caring and trusted adult. When we report bullying, we try to use an assertive voice that is clear, serious, and respectful. In our Bullying Prevention Unit, all students are asked to identify caring and trusted adults in the Barcroft community who they could report bullying to.
Both Upstanders and anyone who is experiencing bullying can refuse bullying by telling the bully or bullies to stop using an assertive voice.
Barcroft 3rd through 5th grade students take a pledge every year to be Upstanders. Upstanders take responsibility for preventing and stopping bullying in their community. When they recognize an unsafe or unkind situation is happening, they can support the person experiencing the unsafe or unkind behavior by reporting it to an adult, refusing the bullying, and checking in on the victim. Upstanders understand that we all have a responsibility to keep Barcroft a safe and welcoming community for everyone.
The Child Protection Unit includes one grade level specific lesson in Kindergarten through 5th grade classrooms. Barcroft students learn ways to help them decide if something is safe or not: specifically, about safe, unsafe, and unwanted touches, and rules about touching private body parts (we define this to students as the area covered by swimsuits). They also learn to say no to unsafe or unwanted touches, and to tell an adult if someone breaks rules about touching private body parts. Students also practice asking an adult for help, telling an adult about an unsafe situation, and being assertive to get out of unsafe situations.
What does an elementary school counselor do?
An elementary school counselor provides services to all students to improve academic success, support social/emotional development, and promote career and college readiness. Parents/Guardians must notify the school in writing if they wish to opt their children out of personal/social lessons. Regular counselor tasks include:
- Teaching guidance lessons to all students
- Counseling students individually
- Running programs with small groups
- Supporting school transitions
- Providing information to parents regarding internal and external programs
- Consulting with teachers, parents, and community members
- Conducting needs assessments to inform counseling services
- Providing referrals to external programs and services
When should I contact the school counselor?
If you have any concerns about your child’s academics or their social/emotional state then you can call or email the school counselor. You can also contact the counselor to discuss any of the issues listed above. Due to confidentiality, detailed or sensitive discussions are best held over the phone or in person.
To learn more about the counselor and the counseling services provided at Barcroft please use the menu on the left.