Hoosic Valley Elementary School Counseling
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The Counseling Connection

  • Welcome
  • Second Step Program
  • Kelso's Choice
  • Groups
  • Bullying Prevention
  • Grief & Loss
  • Parent Tips

Dear Parents and Students.

Thank you for visiting the Counseling Connection. Some of the services that we provide are described under the tabs above.

Our character education lessons are growing!  We are now presenting lessons in Kindergarten through 6th grade.  We have also expanded the lesson content.   In addition to the concepts from the Second Step Program, our student will learn the skills taught through The Kelso's Choice Conflict Management Program.  Some lessons will also focus on bullying prevention.  Our students will learn important facts about bullying and practice our anti-bullying rules so we can all take a part to stop bullying in our school.  Our virtues of the month will also be highlighted during the lessons. Click here for a list of events for the 2016-2017 school year.

If you have any questions about these services, then please call or email us. Have a great day!


Beth McQueeney,School Counselor, x3504, bmcqueeney@hoosicvalley.k12.ny.us

Lisa Waldron, School Psychologist, x3505, lwaldron@hoosicvalley.k12.ny.us


  • Information
  • Empathy Training
  • Impulse Control and Problem Solving

The Second Step Program

One area of learning that requires specific skills is social-emotional learning.  These important skills are often overlooked.  This is the realm where children learn how to understand and manage their feelings, how to make friends and be a friend, and how to solve social problems.  Learning takes place throughout the day – in the classroom, on the playground and at home.  Children learn by watching and listening to how teachers, family members and friends interact with each other.

In the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th grade we are using a program called Second Step to help us think about, develop and practice positive social skills. Research tells us that children who learn and use these skills are more likely to get along with others and do better in school.

The Second Step Program is divided in to three units:

Unit I:  Empathy Training: Children learn about feelings and ways to show understanding and caring toward others.

Until II:  Impulse Control and Problem Solving. Children learn new ways to solve problems and practice skills such as calming down, apologizing, interrupting politely and making new friends.

Unit III:  Anger Management:  Children learn to manage their anger in ways that do not hurt others.

Incorporating photographs and videos of children in everyday situations, Second Step lessons introduce and teach all the above skills.  All students are given the chance to practice the skills they’re learning through role-playing, an important part of Second Step Lessons.

Families play a crucial role in the success of the Second Step Program.  Please feel free to come and observe one of our Second Step lessons.  If you have any questions, be sure to ask. 

If you have any questions about the Second Step lessons, then please call Beth McQueeney at  753-4458, extension 3504.

Unit I:  Empathy Training

Empathy means identifying and understanding your own and others’ feeling in order to get along better.  Below is a list of skills your child has been learning at school, followed by examples of ways you can help your child remember and improve these skills.   

Students have practiced empathy skills by:

  • Identifying their own and others’ feelings through looking at faces, recognizing body clues, listening to voices and watching what is happening.  (Help your child practice by noticing, “You’re smiling” and asking “Are you happy?  Why?”)
  • Recognizing that people may react differently to different situations.   (Help your child practice by saying, “You like to play on the jungle gym, but it scares your friend.  What can we do about that?”)
  • Predicting feelings. (Help your child practice by asking, “How do you think your friend might feel if she asked you a question and you didn’t answer?”)
  • Learning the difference between accidents and things done on purpose. (Help you child practice by asking, “Do you think he meant to knock over your bike?”)
  • Sharing feelings.  (Help your child practice by sharing your own feelings: “I feel happy when you offer to set the table.”)
  • Understanding and accepting differences in others.  (Help your child practice by saying, “It’s okay for your friend to be different from you.  You two are alike in some ways too.  How?”)

In general simply listening and talking about feelings helps children be more understanding of others.  It also helps create a more positive classroom environment.

Unit II:  Impulse Control and Problem Solving

Impulse control means slowing down and thinking rather than doing the first thing that pops into your head. 

Problem solving is a strategy for dealing with the problems we face with other people and as individuals. 

Calming-down techniques are taught to give your child the skills to compose him- or herself so that a given problem can be solved more effectively.

Our class will learn and practice steps for calming down and solving problems.  You can help by practicing these new skills at home with your child.  For example, reinforcing calming-down skills at home maybe go something like this:

Your child comes in upset about her younger sibling playing with her new toy.  You might say, “Wow!  I can tell that you’re upset.  Try taking three deep breaths, then count backward slowly before deciding what to do.”

After you child has calmed down, you might help her practice the problem-solving steps by saying, “Now that you’ve calmed down, tell me what the problem is. What are some ideas that might solve it?  Let’s go through each of the possible solutions and ask, ‘Is it safe?  How might people feel about it?  Is it fair?  Will it work?’  Now choose a solution and give it a try.  If it works, great!  If not, then try something else.”

At-home activities idea:  Use the How to Solve Problems poster to solve a problem with your child.  Take on a specific problem (such as remembering to take out the trash) and state the problem in a non-blaming way.  This will help you reach a solution.

In this unit, your child will practice using such skills as apologizing ignoring distractions, and dealing with peer pressure. 




















Kelso's Choice

We will use The Kelso’s Choice Conflict Management Program to help students understand about problem resolution.

Click on the link for more info on Kelso's Choice: http://kelsoschoice.com/the-program/about-kelsos-choice/



The Banana Splits program is available to students in grades Kindergarten through 6th grade.  It is a peer support program for children who have experienced changes in their families.  Although changes are obviously occurring daily within families, this group is geared towards changes due to separation, divorce, remarriage, illness or death of a parent. 

“Banana Splits” provides an opportunity for children to realize they are not alone; there is no longer a “traditional household”.  Some children are a part of a single household, some are a part of a two parent household, some have parents who are separated or divorced, some have step-parents, some are in foster care, and many have had a number of changes occur in their young lives. Sharing feelings and thoughts helps each child know that other children have similar feelings and thoughts; that anything he is feeling is normal and “OK”.  Each child learns to understand and express his emotions and learns the problem –solving skills necessary to work through the changes in his family.

Banana Splits groups will meet at lunch one time a week for approximately six weeks. Students who have already been through a six week progarm will meet once a month.
If you wish for your child to participate in “Banana Splits”, then please call Beth McQueeney at 753 – 4458, ext. 3504 or send an email to bmcqueeney@hoosicvalley.k12.ny.us.


Bullying is when someone repeatedly and on purpose says or does mean or hurtful things to another person who has a hard time defending himself or herself.

Anti-Bullying Rules

1. We will not bully others.
2. We will try to help students who are bullied.
3. We will try to include students who are left out.
4. If we know someone is being bullied, we will tell an adult at school and at home.

"Olweus, Dan and Susan P. Limber. Olweus Bullying Prevention: Teacher Guide, Hazelden Publishing, Copyright 2007"

Additional Resources:




Community Hospice Literature

http://www.communityhospice.org for more information on services provided to the community

Wave Riders Support Groups for Grieving Children

Wave Riders Support Groups are for children, grades K – 8th, who have experienced the death of someone significant in their lives, including a parent, grandparent, sibling, or friend.  A parent educational support group is offered concurrently.  The programs are free of charge, but registration is required.

These programs provide a safe environment where children can share their grief experience and seek healing and growth through art, music, games and discussion.

If you are interested in learning more about these programs, click here - Wave Riders Support Groups for Grieving Children & Teens

Camp Erin

Camp Erin is a weekend overnight camp for children, ages 6 - 17 who have lost someone in their life due to death.  It combines traditional, fun, high-energy camp activities with grief education and support.  At Camp Erin, each camper has the opportunity to remember their loved one, develop grief skills and enjoy a positive camp experience.  Camp is staffed by licensed social workers, nurses and trained community volunteers.  Camp Erin-Albany was developed in partnership with The Moyer Foundation.

Camp Erin is held yearly - usually during a weekend in September.  Activities begin on Friday evening and end on Sunday afternoon.  It takes place at the Fowler Camp and Retreat Center on Sacandaga Lake in Speculator, NY.  

It is necessary to complete and submit a registration form for each child would like to attend.  

The camp is free to all members.

This website includes more information: 

It’s All Perfectly Normal

 Emotions run rampant during the preteen and teenage years.  Here’s what to expect:

  • Mood swings as hormones begin to do their thing.
  • Worry about appearance, compared to their friends and classmates.
  • Concern about timing of development, especially for early or late bloomers.
  • Desire for their own “space” – even embarrassment to be seen with parents.
  • New and different friends.
  • Crushes/romantic feelings – for “real-life” boys/girls or unattainable ones like celebrities or teachers.

 (Health Notes, Volume 11, Northeast Health Community Newsletter)