LYNDON — Dani Criqui, elementary and middle school counselor, provided information to the USD 421 Board of Education during the Jan. 11 regular meeting about what services she provides.
“I know that there have been a lot of changes to school counseling,” Criqui said. “I thought this would be a good opportunity to share.”
Criqui provided the board with the state standards that she uses.
“It is my job to empower students for academic success, personal and social growth, and college readiness,” she said. “There are three content areas that my curriculum really focuses on, academic development, career development, and social and emotional.”
Criqui provided information about each content area. Academic development has three state standards, benchmarks, and knowledge-based indicators, which are broken down by grade.
“One of the areas I am really working on right now is growth mindset,” Criqui said.
“We have a really great program that we’re using for career development. It is Career Cruising, and for kindergarten through fifth grade, it is ccSpark. It is a great program where they can investigate different careers. The eighth-graders are actually going to Bill Patterson [high school counselor] for career class.”
“Social and emotional is really a big piece of my job,” said Criqui. “I help kids to deal with their emotions, learn how to apply their interpersonal skills, and how to work together. There is a lot of character building skills, like how to respect themselves and respect others.”
Criqui also covers personal safety, including Internet safety and technology safety. “There is a new statistic out right now that 1 in 5 youth, ages 7 through 13, receive sexual solicitation through Internet or text,” said Criqui. “So they need to be prepared on how to handle that and not to get involved in that.”
Criqui discussed the Jason Flatt Act that was signed into law, Senate Bill 323, on May 13, 2016, by Sam Brownback, Kansas governor. It requires that school personnel receive at least one hour of suicide prevention training each year and that each school has a crisis prevention plan.
The state recommended ratio is one counselor per 250 students. There are around 300 students that Criqui sees.
“I feel that we are meeting the students’ needs,” she said.
Criqui provided a breakdown of how her time is spent: 35-45 percent of her time is with elementary students; 25-35 percent is with middle school students on curriculum; 5-10 percent with individual elementary students; and 15-25 percent with individual middle school students. She spends a fair amount of time providing responsive services, needs that are brought to her by the teachers and parents. The balance of her time is spent on system support, collaborating with teachers and parents.
Superintendent search update
The district has been working toward hiring a new superintendent to replace Cheryl Cook, who submitted her resignation Oct. 12, 2016, effective June 30. The committee has asked each board member to provide names of at least three people from the district to receive an invitation to the special meeting 7 p.m. Jan 30, which is open to the public.
It was also decided to try to keep the meetings as much as possible at the same location and to be big enough to accommodate a large group, with the cafeteria as a suggestion.
Information requested by Jacobson & McPherson, the firm hired to assist with the search, has been submitted, and will be used to create a brochure.
In other business, the board:
• received information from Brad Marcotte, Lyndon High School principal, about the current status of the Ring of Honor.
• received information from Marcotte about the private school modifier that is being considered by Kansas State High Schools Activities Association.