KRSD COUNSELORS, from left, Rebecca Schrader, Taylor Fleury, Meaghan Beaulieu, Peter Angus, Amy Cook, Linda Cermak and Nicole Tenney. Not pictured, counselors Dom DiDominic and Kara Byrne.

NEW LONDON — Superintendent Winfried Feneberg has announced that Kearsarge Regional School District is recognizing National School Counseling Week to celebrate the support, resources and programming school counselors provide for students every day.

"I feel so fortunate to work in a community where education and the role of school counselors is valued," said Taylor Fluery, counselor at Kearsarge Regional Elementary School at New London.

"Everyone needs a shoulder sometimes and for many students, school counselors are their comfort, their safe space where they can be vulnerable, validated and empowered. Every day is different and every day students have new worries, challenges or things to celebrate."

"I love working in the Kearsarge School District as a school counselor because we are fully supported as counselors and allowed to implement programs or initiatives that put students first," said Nicole Tenney, a counselor at Kearsarge Regional High School. "We have some of the best kids in our school and I know, for sure, they have impacted me as much as I hope to have impacted them."

Sponsored by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), National School Counseling Week begins Monday, Feb. 3 and ended on Friday, Feb. 7, and seeks to recognize the efforts of school counselors.

"In every district, young people have a variety of challenging topics they are working through, including anxiety, social skills, peer conflict, and so on," Superintendent Feneberg said. "We're fortunate at Kearsarge to have a team of counselors dedicated to helping our students feel supported, valued and safe, which is critical to their success in the classroom as well as their overall well-being."

Every day, counselors at Kearsarge also oversee a variety of initiatives, including individual counseling sessions, group counseling and classroom guidance lessons. Counselors also assist families and connect them with resources, conduct safety assessments and help with placement and transition training.

Kearsarge Regional High School offers a comprehensive school counseling program that follows the American School Counseling Model, through which counselors at the school work with students beginning in their freshman year to provide services and guidance in the area of social/emotional well-being and career/college planning.

This March, the district will also be participating for the first time in Say Something Week from March 2-6, during which students will be trained to recognize warning signs that someone may be at risk of hurting themselves and/or others and be in need of assistance.

Students will also be trained to act immediately when they recognize those signs and inform a trusted adult. Say Something Week is organized by Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit that works to protect young people from gun violence.

The district also offers a Big Buddies program that pairs elementary school students with a high school mentor, who is trained to work with younger students. A group of 40 high school students are participating in the program this year.

The program strives to provide elementary school students with a high school aged mentor to look up to, discuss academics and challenges they may face, and develop a stronger feeling of connection to their school and build self-esteem.

The program also allows mentors to build personal skills, conflict resolution skills and confidence.

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