By COLIN KYLER
Students at Warren Area Elementary Center are set to mark National School Counselors Week.
School Counselor Debra Jannotti said each day will have a theme including "Compliment Day" on Monday, "Friendship Day" on Tuesday, "Kindness Day" on Wednesday, "Manners Day" on Thursday and "Spread Sunshine Day" on Friday. A variety of people will be honored at the school will be honored with certificates and flowers for their participation, she said.
Classroom Aide Gillian Rapp has given Monday broadcasts as Miss Manners, Jannotti said, and Fifth Grade Teacher Sally Beckerink has organized the Adventure Club members daily broadcast. She said Art Teacher Terri Walters and Librarian Dixie Gurdak have allowed her to co-teach in their classrooms.
As the only counselor for 694 students at WAEC, Jannotti said she uses her time to reach as many students as possible. Her classroom presentations include safety, career exploration, character education, anti-drug use and friendship.
"Students also have the opportunity to participate in counseling groups that teach skills to deal with relational aggression and coping mechanisms for family situations," Jannotti said. "Presently there are four groups with a fifth in the planning stage that will serve at least 50 students total."
According to Jannotti, her door is always open to students individually. In addition, she also organizes the Child Study Team meetings, schedules reauthorization meetings with area agencies and works with Hospice of Warren County which provides an annual counseling group for students who have lost a loved one.
Counselors are an integral part of any school, Jannotti said, and provide many services to students, staff and families. Pennsylvania averages a ratio of 379 students to each counselor, she said, but the American School Counselor Association recommends a ratio of 250 to 1.