LMS Counselors

Torri McCraken
Ron Stewart

Visit our website at:   counselorcorner4u


Attendance Matters
BIST (Behavior Intervention Support Team)
"Dealng With Bullies"
Good Study Habits: A Key to Your Student's Success
Help Our Grieving Families
Practicing Mindfulness With Your Family
Students Who Are Successful at LMS Always

“Dealing With Bullies”

You don’t have to let yourself be a victim, and you don’t have to stand by and watch bullying happen to someone you know.  Here’s what you need to know about bullying.

“Bullying” is another name for harassment.  Bullying can be physical - one or more students hurting another.  More often, bullying is verbal and includes persistent threatening, teasing or gossiping, in person or over the internet.

It’s not your fault.  A bully doesn’t pick on you because of something you did.  The bully is picking on you because of the way he or she feels.  Some people bully others as a way of feeling popular, showing off or making themselves look tough.  Often they have been the victims of bullying themselves.  So if someone is bullying you, don’t think it’s your fault.

You aren’t helpless. Some parents may tell their children to strike back at bullies.  Usually that creates more problems than it solves.  Here are some things you might try:
-Tell a friend. It’s tougher to pick on a person who has someone there for support.
-Walk away.  It’s harder to bully someone who won’t stand still to listen.
-Chill out.  Bullies seem to target kids who respond to their taunts, so try not to show any emotion. It’s not fun to bully someone who doesn’t seem to care.
-Write it down.  Keep track of what happens - dates, times, places.  Write down exactly what the bully says.  When you are ready to tell an adult, you’ll have proof.

Tell an adult. If you’ve tried some of the things on the list above and the bullying hasn’t stopped, it’s time to tell an adult.
Nobody likes to admit that they’re being bullied, and some kids think they’re being “tattletales” if they tell an adult.  That’s not true.  Kids have a right to be safe.  Often, a bully has more than one victim, so if you don’t tell, the bully may keep on harassing other people.

Schools can do things to stop kids from bullying, but they can’t take action if they don’t know what’s happening.

Good Study Habits:  A Key to Your Student’s Success

Good study habits help children become independent and confident. It’s important to remember that studying is your child’s job, not yours.  But you can help make study time more successful.

Many student don’t have a regular study time.  They fit their studying around talking on the phone, using the computer, playing on a team or watching television.  As a result, they don’t do much studying at all.

You can’t do the studying for your child, but you can promote good study habits.  The first step is to establish a regular  study time for your child.  Make sure homework takes priority over all your child’s other activities.

Find the best place for your child to study.   

The homework spot should be:
-Well lit. Find a good lamp so your child can see what they’re reading.
-Quiet. Turn off the television and the phone.
-Neat. Your child should be able to find their desk and calculator.
-Well supplied.  In the middle grades, students need pens, paper and pencils.

The best students study every day.  If they don’t have a specific homework assignment they review the main points covered in class or key vocabulary words.

Remember, school is your child’s most important job.  When after-school activities, or other interests, start hurting grades, it may be time to think about giving something up.

Practicing Mindfulness With Your Family

With school breaks, holidays, and maybe just some extra stress this time of year, there are many uses for mindfulness in the home setting.  Mindfulness is defined as the state of active, open attention on the present.  When people are mindful, they can observe their feelings and emotions in the moment and be nonjudgmental.  Far too often, it is habit to always think of and/or worry about the future, judge our feelings, or judge what is going on around us.  When practicing mindfulness by oneself or with others, people discover a new peace and more productive sense of self.  Here are some tips of how you can practice mindfulness with your family.

Share About Your Highs and Lows

Ever sit at the dinner table and ask your kids/parents/siblings how their day was and gotten the response, “Fine” or “We didn’t do anything”? This can be tough but fixed easily. Instead, take turns sharing a high point of your day and a low point of your day.  Take turns by having a talking object, such as a rock or significant object to your family.  This will not only allow families to have mindful discussions reflecting on their days but will also practice listening and speaking skills.


In recent years, psychologists have discovered the value of coloring to relieve stress at all ages.  Coloring allows people to focus on one thing, being mindful of the present and engaging in only one activity.  Take time with your family to draw or color using child and adult coloring books.  This works best when there is a distraction free environment void of technology.  Share works after completed and state some emotions that family members were experiencing as they created their art.

 Family Quiet Time

Often we feel as though we have to find “entertainment” for kids and adults.  That entertainment now frequently comes in the form of technology.  When exposed to a significant amount of technology and media, social skills quickly become limited and hindered.  Instead, implement a time everyday to have family quiet time.  Have the family spend time in the same room working on a craft, building a puzzle, reading, cooking, or simply just enjoying the quiet.  Showing children that they can be away from their devices will enable them to increase creativity, sleep better, and communicate more affectively.

Mindfulness is the state of being active and open to the present.  The future will be there tomorrow.  Spend time tonight with your family in the moment.  You just may discover something new about others and yourself! 

Helping Our Grieving Families

As we near the Holidays, all of us are reminded of family members or friends who have died and are not with us.  Our memories may be from very recent deaths or ones from many years ago.   We are again reminded of them.  If we will react with sadness this may put a damper on our celebrations.  We can help others and ourselves by remembering funny things that you did with that person and sharing the neat memories.

Parents, teachers, and other adults, YOU DO NOT NEED TO HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS.  If you do not know the answer to a child's question, say so.  Young ones know when we are telling the truth.  Use the words "death, dead, dying" and do not use the words, " sleeping, lost, going away, passed away, laid to rest" as children may be afraid to go to sleep or rest.  Be a good listener by giving them your full attention, your eye contact, and your repeating what they have said.

Children will grieve in doses.  They take in only what they can handle at the moment and then may take a break by playing or doing regular daily activities.  Later on they may come back with more questions or expressions of emotions.  It may be they are too young to understand, and it is not that they do not care.  Sometimes they are away from you but they watch your actions and reactions.

Remember that sometimes children have trouble putting their feelings into words and may need your help finding the right words.  Some children may act out because they do not know how to express the pain of grief.  It is fine for you to role play and help them find a way that is appropriate for them.

Young people have a more adult understanding of death, but many times they do not believe that it will happen to them.  A characteristic of some young people might be to believe in their own immortality.  Young people tend to express a lot of anger about death because it is easier to express anger than sadness and hurt.

It is common for young people to go to their friends to seek support.  Peer support is very important in their lives, but they still need caring adults in their world. 


BIST (Behavior Intervention Support Team)

The Lexington Public School system has adopted the BIST program to use in Kindergarten through eighth grade.

Why students get into trouble:

  • They don't know any better, (they need information)
  • They test limits, (they need consistency)
  • They cannot manage feelings                       

These are the goals for life:

  • "I CAN take good care of myself, even if I am mad."
  • "I CAN be okay even when others are not okay."
  • "I CAN be productive and follow directions, even if I don't want to."

Early Intervention:

  • It is never okay to be disruptive.
  • It is never okay to be hurtful.

BIST encourages the students and teachers to use "I" statements.  These statements will help reduce resistance and blaming, increase acceptance and invite students to grow and give support.

A teacher might say:  "I don't want YOU to be in trouble."
   I want to help you look at yourself, so you can change."

A student might say: I did it
                               I'm sorry
                               I accept consequences
                               I accept and need help

Safe Seat, Buddy Room, Processing, Think Sheet:

THIS IS NOT A PUNISHMENT, but it is a change to look at the problem and make changes needed to be successful.1.    Teacher warns a student about behavior not acceptable.

2.    Student is asked to go to the Safe Seat.

3.    Student moves to Safe Seat without any further incident.

4.    Student must process with teacher before class time tomorrow.

5.    Student returns to seat with a verbal plan in place.

If a student does not move to Safe Seat quietly then they will be escorted to the Buddy Room.
       1.    Teacher escorts student to another classroom and puts in the Buddy Seat.
       2.    Student sits there quietly until the end of class.
       3.    Student must process with teacher and complete a Think Sheet in written form.
       4.    Student comes back to classroom and sits in the Safe Seat.
       5.    After success in the Safe Seat, they the student returns to seat.

At any time that the student does not process with the teacher they will remain in the Safe Seat or the Buddy Room until they do process.  If the student does not process in a timely manner, then the principals will get involved.

Students who are Successful at LMS always:

Attend school every day unless I’m really sick, and I be there on time.

Get 8-10 hours of sleep each night.

Eat a healthy breakfast in the morning.

Pay attention in class.

Write down assignments for each subject and refer back to it many times a day.

Start projects when they are assigned and do not put off to the due date.

Complete my homework on time.

Read for pleasure each day.

These are the 14 common Test Taking Errors that you need to avoid:

1.  Did not follow the directions.
    (Always read test directions before beginning to answers.)

2.  Didn’t calculate how much time to spend on each question to have time to do all of them.
     (Divide the number of questions into the number of minutes you have to take the test.  Be sure to allow more minutes for essay or problem-solving.)

3.  Did not read questions carefully.
     (Circle and underline key words in the test questions and use them as a check to see if you answered all parts of the question.)

4.  Did not go back and check over answers.
     (Always leave time toward the end of a test to ready over answers to check for careless mistakes.  Overall, students who do this earn higher grades.)

5.  Accidentally marked the wrong item or box.
     (Go back over test at the end.)

6.  Changed an answer from correct to incorrect after.
     (Change answers if you are positively certain you have recorded the wrong answer.  First impressions are more often correct that second guesses.)

7.  Remembered going over the material but could not recall it.
     (This is a sure sign that you did not review the material enough times. Set up your notes to make repeated and frequent reviews fast and easy.)

8.  Did not understand a question and didn’t get clarification from the instructor.
     (Ask the instructor for clarification.)

9.  Wrote lots of words but didn’t answer the question.
     (Circle and underline key words, and if you have to guess, write something closely related to the question.)

10.  An answer was disorganized.
      (This has a direction connection with how you studied the material. If your notes or the way you studied them was disorganized, your test answers will be disorganized.)

11.  Hand writing was illegible.
       (Print if you need to or write slower.)

12.  Made careless errors.
       (See the suggestions for #3, #4, and #7.)

13.  Did not support points with evidence, facts, statistics, research or proof.
       (When you review material before a test, you need to include evidence, facts, statistics, research, or proof.)

14.  Did not know the subject matter well.
      (Take good lecture and textbook notes.  Review these notes 3 to 4 times per week.  Join a study group.  Ask your instructor questions.  Answers the questions at the end of the chapter even if they are not assigned.)           

 Ms. Underwood, Counselor at LMS

Attendance Matters

by Ron Stewart

Lexington Middle School has rules on the number of days that you can be absent.  That's because we want you to attend and be successful.  Here's why:

You're likely to get better grades.  You can't learn if you aren't in school.  It's a fact that students who have good attendance do better in school. 

You're likely to get a better job.  The habits you set now - attending class every day and coming to school on time - will carry over into the workplace.

You're more likely to stay out of trouble.  One study found that 78 percent of those who ended up in prison had attendance issues while in school.

You'll be more likely to graduate.  Missing too many days is often the first step toward dropping out.  Students who drop out of high school have a higher rate of unemployment.

Here is a list of things that sound like good reasons to miss school - but they're really not.  Please discuss these with your parents:

Doctor or dentist appointment.  Try to schedule it after school or during a day when there is no school.

Family vacation.  If your family has scheduled a vacation during the school year, talk to your parents.  Could it be rescheduled during a school break?

Babysitting for your younger sibling.  Your number one job is being a student, not a child care provider.

Being unprepared for class or a test.  If you didn't study or didn't complete your homework, it's your responsibility to face the consequences.  Talk to your teacher.