Dear TYWLS of Astoria Families,
On behalf of the TYWLS Astoria Counseling and Wellness Team, we would like to welcome you to the 2021-2022 school year. The past years have been extraordinarily difficult for all students and families, and we are proud to be part of the important global conversation on increased support for social and emotional needs of students as they connect with learning goals.
We are here to help your children through the adjustment to in-person school and the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, which may appear as withdrawal, struggles with routines, responsibilities, peer relationships, family dynamics, media and technology use, finances, health, and safety. Our services extend from our schoolwide Advisory program, where students develop community through weekly grade-wide meetings and lessons, into more specialized support in group and individual counseling and academic recovery, planning, and goal-setting. In line with our TYWLS School Health & Wellness philosophy, here is some key information:
Social Emotional Resources
Supplementing Advisory and Community Meetings sourced from student needs, all students will have access to the School Counselor's Corner Google Classroom with ongoing wellness resources and review of our offerings. We will focus on relevant themes in this moment - anxiety management, isolation, healthy relationships, media and technology engagement, conflict resolution, grief, hygiene, self care, and mindfulness and reconnecting with joy and each other.
Counselors will support in-person academic goals, foster appropriate digital learning and communication skills, monitor and encourage attendance, and help track and celebrate progress to successfully move toward graduation and navicurrgate mastery-based learning.
Counselors will reach out to families regarding services for students mandated by IEP or referred by self, family, or our attentive grade team teachers to receive extra support. Any family can request and receive a virtual meeting within two days based on any presenting concerns, which will be kept confidential with only relevant information shared, connecting outside providers and referrals as needed. With regard to COVID-19 protocols, students will be seen in the Counseling Suite (409/410) by appointment or for brief check-ins wearing masks in ventilated offices with social distancing.
Our staff continues to maintain our TYWLS Keeps TYWLS Safe policy in line with the NYC DOE Respect for All, requiring all staff, and encouraging all our community, to report any concerns of harm to self or others including suicide, self-harm, sexual harassment, cyberbullying, child abuse, or neglect for follow up. For any immediate concerns of harm, call 911. For 24/7 mental health concerns, call 1-800-NYC-WELL.
Feel free to contact us for any questions or needs. We admire the resilience of Queens families in this time and look forward to partnering with you.
Gayathri, Emily, & Taylor
Q: What is a School Counselor?
A: A School Counselor is an educator who specializes in working with students to help solve problems to support academic, social, emotional, and career guidance. We use research based strategies to have a child focus on their own thinking, feelings, and actions, and not just personal “advice.” We are great listeners and will discuss any issue you may be facing and how to cope or resolve constructively. Whether it’s a problem at school or at home, a problem with your friends, or a personal issue that you’re dealing with, we are here for you!
Q: How can a School Counselor help me?
A: You may have something going on in your life that is causing challenge or change, or with goals you want to meet. Here are examples of situations that we can help with:
- Feeling stressed about returning to in person school
- Having a problem with peers - new connections, pressure
- Navigating healthy use of technology for learning and socialization
- Needing help with stress management
- Planning for academic achievement and goal-setting
- College and career readiness skills
- Conflict or worries with a family member
- Feeling overwhelmed by body image pressure
- Loss or change in home life of a loved one, routine, or home
- Family struggling with housing, finances, or medical needs
- Exploring your gender identity or want to discuss your sexual orientation
- Having thoughts of self-harm or suicide
- Issues with attendance, tardiness in school
- Experiencing sexism, racism, or microaggressions
- Trauma related issues
- New sibling or caregiving responsibilities at home
Q: How do School Counselors work with my parents or family?
A: In addition to working with TYWLS students, School Counselors also work to help parents/guardians to inform them of academic skills and goals, school concerns, positive affirmations, constructive suggestions, and resources for referral. We can help parents set up routines or outside counseling for their child.
Q: How School counselors work with my teachers, staff, and administrators?
A: School counselors do not share all the private content of a student or family outreach with all teachers, but offer general communications to teachers and advisors looking out for any concerns, or suggestions on classroom practices, groupings, or supports. In addition, we work with our administration in a restorative approach if a student is struggling with behavior that causes disrespect of the community or issues with safety. Our empathetic staff has a lot of training and awareness of student behavioral needs and collaborative problem solving, often refers and connects students to counseling with discretion, and stays in the loop in the support and follow-up through meaningful classroom relationships and advisory activities.
Q: How can I contact my/my child’s School Counselor?
A: Students can stop by Suite 410 during the school day to see the Counselors with a pass, or to make an appointment for a later time with referral from self, with a friend, from a teacher, or a parent for a concern of any size. Crisis or student safety concerns will be prioritized first. Families can leave a message or email to set up an appointment within two days.