Ms. Clark's School Counseling Corner

Hello!   My name is Robin Clark and I am excited to be in my 18th year as Peter Woodbury's school counselor!

Contact Info:     (603) 622-0431  Ext. 24227
About School Counseling:
 I follow a comprehensive school counseling program that follows the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) national model.

 As an Elementary school counselor, I teach skills through classroom lessons, small group and individual sessions with students.  

 I provide support and encouragement and establish a safe and caring connection with students, as well as work in conjunction with teachers and parents to create a positive learning environment. 

  School counseling is intended to be short-term and educational in design rather than therapeutic.  It is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment of mental health  or medical disorders.  
 Some of the issues that impact students at school and can be addressed through individual or small groups may include:
    *Social Skills and        building friendships            *Self-Esteem                    *Self-regulation 
    *Grief/Loss Support          *Divorce Support  
    *Becoming a       Responsible  Student     
    *Conflict Resolution  
    *Managing Stress,    Anxiety, and Anger 

Student Achievement Impacted by School Absenteeism and Tardiness

    We all know that students can’t learn if they are not in school.  Recent studies are showing that regular school attendance, and arriving on time, are critical for student learning.  Lost learning time from absences and tardies, even as early as in preschool and kindergarten, can lead to weaker reading and math skills which can persist for many years.  Frequent absences starting in kindergarten have also been shown to be a predictor of students who will continue to have poor attendance and lower academic achievement in the years ahead.


   “Chronic absenteeism” is generally considered to be missing at least 10 percent of school over the course of a school year.  This is the equivalent of about 2 days per month, or 18 days in a school year.   Many parents do not realize that frequent tardies  are just as concerning as absences.  If a student is 10 minutes late to school each day, it adds up to missing more than 30 hours of class time over a school year.  

   A report from the United States Department of Education (August, 2016), shows that 6 million students (13%) nationally, across all student groups, missed at least 15 days of school in the 2013-2014 school year.  In the Journal of School Effectiveness and School Improvement (2014), a study showed that chronically tardy first graders had lower reading and math scores on assessments as compared to their peers who were on time.

      Attendance Works is a national organization working to promote awareness of the importance of attendance in student academic success.  They found that poor attendance leads to students not being able to read at a proficient level by third grade, and by sixth grade, chronic absences are a significant indicator of students who will drop out of high school (American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, 2014).  The Department of Education also found that students who are frequently tardy have lower grades, lower scores on standardized tests, and lower graduation rates.

  When an absent or tardy student re-enters the classroom, they have missed information about the day and missed instruction, lessons and review, which not only cause them to fall behind, but also increases their anxiety as they attempt to catch up. Not only do absences and tardies affect the student who incurs them, but they also affect the learning of other students in a class.  When students have been absent or come into a class late, teachers have to stop their instruction to help the student catch up.  This interrupts the instruction and flow of classroom routines, the other student’s become distracted, and the class loses valuable learning time.  

    At the elementary level, students rely on their parents to get them out the door to the bus stop or otherwise get them to school on time.  What can parents do to prevent chronic tardiness and absenteeism?  The most important factor is for parents to realize how any missed time from school can have a negative impact on their child’s academic success.  Then, parents can model that being punctual is important - a skill that will prepare children for the “real world”.

    Establish consistent routines for bedtime and for the morning.  Pack lunches, homework, and backpacks the night before and have them ready to go in the morning.  Help students choose clothes to lay out the night before.  Even kids as young as kindergarteners can be taught how to set an alarm clock and be responsible for waking up on time.  If your child is a slow riser, set the alarm for 10-15 minutes earlier than is necessary to assure you will stay on schedule. Have a backup plan for when your child misses the bus so he or she will still get to school on time.

    Avoid letting children stay home unless they are truly sick (fever, diarrhea, vomiting).  Anxiety can often cause headaches or tummy aches but are not a reason to keep kids home.  In fact, this only exacerbates the anxiety the next day.  Talk to your child’s teacher or the counselor for help if your child seems anxious about going to school.   Identify other reasons that may be causing school tardiness or absenteeism - health related issues, sleep habits, family issues, transportation, etc. - and try to address and alleviate them.  

    The Bedford School District is taking the problems of absenteeism and tardiness very seriously.  At Peter Woodbury, if a student has 6 or more tardies or absences in a quarter,  parents of the student can expect to receive a letter from administration documenting the days absent/tardy and requesting your assistance in remedying the problem.  Absences and tardiness reduce even the best school and teacher’s ability to provide solid learning opportunities for student success.  We all want our children to be successful and have every opportunity for academic success.  Let’s all work together toward the goal of getting our students to school on time, each and every day!   

Please reach out to us if you have any questions or for any assistance you may need in achieving this goal.

Have a Fabulous February Vacation!  Spring is around the corner!    

Character Education
Each month I visit classrooms to teach a lesson based on the following themes:

September - Zones of Regulation/Self-Regulation; Gr. 1 Safety

October - Conflict Resolution/Kelso's Choice.

November - Respect; Friendship; Bucket Filling; (Gr.1 - Health/Safety).

December -  Teasing, Bullying, and Assertiveness.

January - Acceptance, Tolerance; Cooperation.

February -  Individual classroom lessons as requested.

March - Growth Mindset; Executive Functioning; School Success Skills.

April - Honesty & Trust; Dealing with Difficult Emotions.

May - Transitions 

Coming in March:
Gr. 1,2,3- Whole Body Listening; Paying Attention; Time Robbers; Focus Power!

Gr. 4: Fixed/Growth Mindsets; Mistakes; Top 10 ways to be a Super Student.