- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 19, 2016

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The Lincoln school district is working to bring back grade school counselor positions at its schools to help students with their behavior and performance.

Brenda Leggiadro, the district’s coordinator of counselors and social workers, tells the Lincoln Journal Star (https://bit.ly/1ZyGVRq ) that many counselor positions were eliminated in the mid-1990s due to budget cuts. By the end of last year, only five of the district’s elementary schools had full time counselors.

Leggiadro said that there was evidence before the cuts that counselors made a difference in student behavior and performance in grade school.

District officials have added about $229,000 in the budget to hire more social workers and counselors.

Leggiadro shas created a system to encourage schools to bring on counselors full time by having the district and the school split the cost of a counselor for two years. After that, the school will assume the full cost and the district offers to split the costs with other schools.

Fredstrom Elementary is one school that took the offer. According to Principal Vicki Schulenberg, the school had never had a counselor before it hired Jessica Northup and that the counselor’s work has paid off.

Northup meets with students on an individual basis to talk through personal problems. She also meets with students in small groups as well to help prevent problems by teaching students problem-solving skills communication and teamwork skills.

Schulenberg says teachers are now tracking student referrals to the office and behavioral problems under a new model being used by the district. Teachers fill out a chart indicating how students behave throughout the day and then discuss with Northup or the principal.

“It has been effective and I think that is part of the reason we’ve seen a decline in the numbers of students we’ve seen in the office, because they’re getting feedback and striving,” she said.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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