Frequently Asked Questions
How can the counselors help my child?
Our role as school counselors is to support the efforts of teachers, administrators, and parents in ensuring that students have a positive school experience at Wachter Middle School. Our responsibilities vary depending on the individual student and their situation, and may include, but are not limited to (1) helping students develop skills necessary for school success, i.e. organization, time management, study skills, social skills, etc; (2) consulting with teachers, administrators, and parents in order to identify strategies and resources for improving student behavior and/or academic performance; and (3) providing a safe place for students to share their feelings, fears, and concerns that may affect their ability to learn.
How can I find out how my child is doing in his/her classes?
Wachter Middle School (WMS) encourages parents to stay involved with their child's education through regular communication with both their child and school personnel. There are a number of ways that parents can obtain updates about their student's academic performance, including:
- Ask your child regularly how things are going at school. Periodically ask to see returned work to check for test or homework scores.
- Take note of the dates that midterm grade reports and end-of-grading period report cards are issued to students, and ask your child to show you their report card. Every 4 ½ weeks WMS sends home student progress reports. Parents can find the dates that reports are sent home in their student's agenda (assignment book), on the school calendar available on the WMS web site, or by calling the school.
- Contact individual teachers via phone or e-mail. If you are concerned about your child's progress in a particular class, don't hesitate to contact the teacher to obtain specific information about your child's strengths and areas of need in that class.
- E-mail. Teacher e-mail addresses are available on the WMS website. Please note that it is most difficult to reach teachers via phone during the school day, as they are in class teaching. However, all teachers do have voicemail.
How do I know what my child has to do for homework each day?
There are a few ways that you can gain information about what your child needs to accomplish each night for homework. First, ask your child to show you his/her agenda (assignment notebook). Each student is expected to write their assignments for each class in their agenda on a daily or weekly basis depending on the class. In most cases, teachers write the assignments for the entire week on their blackboard on Mondays, and they give students ample time to copy those assignments down in their agenda. Otherwise, teachers have students write the assignment in their agenda on a daily basis.
My child is struggling with his/her schoolwork, what can I do?
There are a number of resources available to parents who are concerned about their child's academic progress. Some or all of these steps can be taken in an effort to help students improve their academic performance.
If your child is struggling in a particular class or subject, contact the teacher to identify both strengths and weaknesses and to obtain suggestions for helping your child in that subject area.
If your child is struggling in a number of courses it may be helpful to set up a staffing (parent-teacher meeting) to allow teachers to share both strengths and weaknesses, identify any troubling patterns, and to work together as a team to generate ideas for helping your child. Staffings are typically held immediately before school at 7:15 a.m. or immediately after school at 3:15 p.m. Contact your child's school counselor if you would like to set up one of these meetings.
My child says that other students are teasing/bullying him/her. What can the counselor do to help my child in this situation?
The most important thing to realize about bullying is that we need to know that it is happening to your child before we can do anything to help. If your child comes home and reports that he/she is being bullied, either encourage him/her to tell his/her counselor or call and report the situation yourself. Once we know what is happening we can take steps to help remedy the situation. The steps we take include but are not limited to:
- Helping your child develop appropriate responses to bullying.
- Speaking with and warning those students who are accused of bullying.
- Maintaining contact with administrators about the situation and recommending disciplinary action when appropriate.
My child is having difficulty with a particular teacher. Can you assign him to a different teacher?
If your child is having difficulty with a particular teacher, your first step should always be to contact that teacher to get their perspective about what is going on. They may be able to give you insight into why your child is experiencing difficulty, and they may have suggestions for helping to remedy the situation. Your next step should be to contact your child's counselor. We may be able to work with your child to identify the problem and help them develop strategies for coping with or improving the situation. Your final step would be to contact an administrator to share your concern. Ultimately it is the principal's decision to change a student's schedule if there are concerns about a particular teacher. Please note that a schedule change is often the last step in a series of many that we will take. Schedule changes are often most disruptive to the students themselves and are not made simply because a student doesn't like a teacher.
I have concerns about my child's schedule for next year. Can I get it changed?
Concerns should be expressed to the student's counselor. At that time, the counselor will document the concern and present it to the WMS principal. Each situation is considered individually and, if appropriate, a schedule change is made. It is important to note that making a schedule change request does not guarantee that a change will be made. There are many considerations that go into building student schedules, and it is not common practice for schedules to be changed unless there are obvious errors or extreme circumstances. Ultimately, the school principal makes the final decision about whether a schedule change is made.
My child has been dealing with a lot of stress outside of school. How can his/her counselor help him to focus and do his/her best while at school?
We know that students don't always leave their stress and anxiety at the door when they come into the school building. As counselors we are trained to listen to students in order to assess their needs and help them cope with a variety of situations they may face in their lives. If parents are interested in having their child's counselor talk with their child about issues outside of school that may be affecting their ability to learn, all they need to do is call. We can talk with students about specific situations that may be occurring outside of school, or we can check in with students periodically in order to give them an outlet for sharing their feelings and provide opportunities for developing coping skills. It is very important to note that as school counselors we are only able to do brief counseling with students. There are situations that cannot be dealt with appropriately with school counseling alone, and in those situations we will often suggest that parents seek assistance from outside resources including community based counseling. We can provide referrals to counseling resources in the community.
What if I have questions that are not included in this list?
Please do not hesitate to contact your child's counselor if you have any questions about how to improve his/her school experience. We will always work to answer your questions and/or help you get connected with the appropriate resources.