Middle School Counselor

Salida School counselors are in place to lead a myriad of projects in the schools. The counselor at each school provides leadership and programs that are suited to the developmental level of the students.   At Salida Middle School, the counselor strives to support growth and development for all students, close achievement gaps and prepare our students for postsecondary and workforce success.  Individual and group counseling, as well as crisis response management are addressed by the Salida Middle School counselor.  The counselor coordinates the district and state testing program and is also in charge of all master scheduling.  In addition, the counselor works to have a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of the home, school and community for our students.  The counselor works to collaborate with all members of the education team and serve as a community liaison to strengthen these connections and thus bring success to our students.   

Salida Middle School has adopted a curriculum entitled In Focus to address students’ social and emotional intelligence.  Thomas McSheehy, author of In Focus, describes social and emotional intelligence as “the ability to identify, manage, and express emotions constructively, control impulses, express empathy, preserver when things get difficult and challenging, communicate and relate effectively with others, work collaboratively in groups, and negotiate and resolve differences in a win/win manner.” The counselor works with all staff to support the school-wide implementation of this program.

Salida Middle School’s counselor meets weekly with each grade level team, providing the support with teachers to identify students who may need additional instructional or behavioral interventions. This process is called Response to Intervention (RtI). Grade level teams meet with parents and other staff to create a formal RtI plan to support these students’ individual needs. This plan is reviewed regularly and is progress monitored to determine success of the interventions or develop new interventions as needs arise.

The Salida Middle School counselor trains peer mediators to work on campus in our P3 (Peers Promoting Peace) program.  Peer Mediation allows for trained mediators to help fellow students resolve their conflicts.  The objective of the program is to promote harmony and understanding among students by providing peaceful means to resolve disputes.  The counselor trains mediator volunteers to develop interpersonal skills, listening skills, empathy and problem solving techniques that will be life-long skills.

The counselor also serves as the Gifted Program coordinator. Identified gifted students have an advanced learning plan that is reviewed and updated annually. This plan addresses needs of gifted students through differentiation, acceleration, enrichment opportunities and guidance in affective areas.  At Salida Middle School we use the clustering model so that like-minded peers can have the opportunity to challenge and grow together.  We also provide a daily period of project-based learning to help encourage our gifted learners to explore their passions.

The Salida Middle School counselor also leads the students in developing an Individual Career and Academic Plan (ICAP). All 8th grade students will enter high school with ICAP, which covers the areas of high school and college planning, financial aid planning, and career planning.  The ICAP allows students the opportunity to explore strengths and interests and develop goals and timelines for achieving their own definition of success postsecondary. 

Students and parents are encouraged to contact their school counselor if looking for support, or if there are any questions or concerns. Erin Johnke is the counselor at Salida Middle School and you may contact her by calling 530-5317 or by email at ejohnke@salidaschools.org.


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