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Chelmsford School Guidance Coordinator Gives "Meat and Potatoes" Update on Department

Guidance Department Coordinator Thomas Wright Jr. told the School Committee on Tuesday night the key points on what his staff is doing to help Chelmsford students.

At this past Tuesday evening's Chelmsford School Committee Meeting, Guidance Department Coordinator Thomas Wright, Jr., presented the end of year Chelmsford K-12 guidance report.

In his report, Wright outlined what he called “meat and potatoes, for needs in the district. Wright highlighted the importance of meeting the Massachusetts model for school counseling and one-on-one at risk assessment, using the state and national model to guide their practice.

“This is what the meat and potatoes of what counselors do. Guidance, responsive services, individual planning and system support. This is what guidance counselors do twenty-four seven days a week, including some weekends.”

Wright also highlighted the district’s plans to help students, teachers, counselors and parents stay up-to-day with the latest information on what is going in the schools.

“We want all of our teachers, parents and counselors to know from the very beginning to know what we’re doing and what the plan is, whether it is on our websites or on our calendars. You have one person to three to four hundred kids and you’re not always going to be in your office. That’s why these calendars help.

Using various cartoon characters as mood regulation to reinforce student behaviors at the elementary levels, Wright presented to the board what he says, are fun tools to help build students and teachers in the classroom. These characters, affectionately named “rock brain” and “super flex” are used to help students stay on track and meet their academic goals.

 “So when at student having a rock brain movement, super flex comes in and saves him. It really is a mood regulation moment. It helps puts a student in check, and helps them to decompress. Teachers use it, and counselors use it. Each teacher uses it in their own, unique style,” Wright said.

But every student is different, and Wright indicated the need of the guidance department to help some those at risk students, in order for them to meet the academic curriculum standards.

“I believe that if a student isn’t ready to learn, they won’t. So that’s when our guidance department comes in.”

At the HS level, Wright talked about how the counselors implemented a program for sophomores that focuses on stress management, bullying and harassment prevention, and study skills.

“Freshmen are still getting used to their new school, and there’s a lot of drama that carries over from the middle school. When the students become sophomores, then there’s a lot of adult like pressures and academic pressures as well because they make a lot of bridges with upperclassmen and they take on a rigorous course load. The counselors wanted to teach the sophomores goal setting as well as stress management.”

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