Weekly Update from the Counselor

I hope everyone enjoyed starting our week with a snow day!

This week at Van Allen we concluded our first cycle of MTSS. We will have the upcoming week off so that students can devote all their attention to Iowa Assessments, and that teachers can use the extra half an hour in the afternoons to make up lost instructional time from testing.

After school will Success Lab will also be canceled next week due to Iowa Assessments.

Taking a standardized test can bring on anxiety for many students. Please encourage your children at home to not worry as testing begins! The best thing they can do is to stay positive, work through the test without rushing, and eat well and sleep well. I will keep an eye out especially during the week for anyone who may be feeling anxious and do everything I can to help!

This week in guidance, we talked about the way we treat our peers.

In grades JK-2, we read the story Hooway for Wodney Wat!



This is a great book about a little rat who has trouble saying his r’s and is teased so much by his classmates that he is afraid to even speak. However, things turn up when he ends up saving his class from a mean new bully who came to school, and he becomes a hero.

After our story, we talked about ways we can be kind and supportive to our friends who may still be learning how to do something, or be embarrassed because of things they are not good at.

In grade 3-5, I have been meeting with more and more students lately who are grappling with issues of name-calling and verbal bullying. This is quite common in this age group, and I wanted to make sure to address the problem in guidance.

We watched a video called …but names will never hurt me! I am including the link below:

“…but names will never hurt me”

This video sparked discussion about how much damage we can cause when we verbally bully one another, and what the consequences are for a person when they are isolated and broken down. We made lists of all the ways we can treat others positively at school.

Everyone have a great weekend, and enjoy the warmer weather!

Shameem Balakrishnan
School Counselor

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