Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Elementary School Counselors: Britany Utley, Whitaker Counselor: 513-728-3737
1. What services does the counselor provide?
Elementary School Counselors provide preventive and intervention services, which are integrated into all aspects of children’s lives. Counselors help provide appropriate tools for communicating, making decisions, developing friendships and coping skills. Counselors provide services by developing and delivering classroom lessons that teach life skills, facilitating small group counseling, providing immediate short-term counseling, and providing support during personal crisis. In addition, counselors provide building support and work collaboratively with parents and staff to help students succeed. School counselors do not provide long term counseling services. Referrals to community resources can be utilized as needed.
2. How does my student get referred to the counselor?
Students can see their Elementary School Counselor via self-referral, parental request, request of the counselor, administrative referral, and/or teacher or staff referral. Parental referral forms are available online in the Student/Parent Portal or in the main office or contact the counselor directly.
3. How do I get referred for outside services?
There are times when outside, private counseling may be necessary. The counselor can provide information regarding local counseling agencies partnerships. The district also has a social worker, Cathy McNair, who can be reached @ 513-728-3700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. If it is not a school day, how do I get help for Crisis Counseling?
The school counselor can be reached by email. Please use the school line during school hours.
5. If a student is getting outside services, what is the school counselor’s role?
The school counselor can collaborate with the outside service providers if needed. There is a form that the school counselor might give you titled, Authorization for Use and/or Disclosure of Confidential Information, which will allow communication between providers.
6. What are the parameters around confidentiality?
Confidentiality is an important aspect of counseling; this is how the counselor builds trust with the student. Often when students are young, parents/guardians are aware and involved. School counselors and other school staff members are mandated reporters when a child may be in danger. Mandated reporters are required by law to report to CPS any time a student is suspected of being in danger.
7. Will you notify me if you spoke to my child?
Counselors work with many students throughout the school day and parents are notified based on the severity of the situation. Classroom teachers play an important role in keeping parents/guardians informed. If a counselor will be seeing a student on an on-going basis they will notify the parent and seek parental consent for small group involvement.
8. How do small groups work?
Small group topics and participants are determined based on the needs of the current student population. Group topic surveys are sent to parents and teachers within the first month of school. Group spots are limited and determined based on level of concern from teachers and parents. Parents/Guardians will be notified for permission if their child will be participating. If a parent completes a group survey for their child it does not mean they are automatically signed up. Groups are typically once or twice per week during lunch time so students don’t miss out on educational activities. Some group examples are:
- New Student Group: For 1st & 2nd grade students transitioning to a new school who need extra support with adjusting, confidence, making new friends, & school expectations
- Confidence Group: Self-esteem, positive self-talk, anxiety
- Friendship/Social Skills Group: Friendships, sharing, cooperation, manners
- Making Good Choices Group: Listening skills, following directions, focusing/attention, self- talk, decision making, problem solving, appropriate vs. inappropriate behavior
Grief or Absent Parent Group: Fernside, a local child grief organization, partners with the school counselor to provide support for students who have experienced the loss of a loved and/or the absence of a parent.