Woodland Elementary’s Counseling Program Recognized
It’s easy to see how Elizabeth All and Sharon Kirton, school counselors at Woodland Elementary, are making a positive difference in their school’s learning environment. The amazing transformation of their school counseling program has led Woodland to earn, for the second time, the Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) designation from the American School Counselor Association.
As a Leader in Me school, Mrs. All and Mrs. Kirton provide programs that encourage students to make positive, effective, and responsible choices. In any given classroom, visitors can observe how students incorporate Steven Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective Students into their daily lessons: be proactive, begin with the end in mind, put first things first, think win-win, seek first to understand then to be understood; synergize, and sharpen the saw.
One reason the Woodland counseling program is so successful is that the entire school has buy-in. “Since we began using the Seven Habits, the school has completely turned around. We added the Leader in Me program last year, and we are seeing amazing results from our students,” said Kirton.
“We are extremely proud of Mrs. All and Mrs. Kirton as they are once again honored with the RAMP Award. This prestigious recognition attests to their ongoing commitment to our children and our school,” said Principal Wanda Mote. “They provide a school counseling program that helps each child discover their own unique gifts and ensure their personal success.”
During the week, students and staff can submit written entries, or Skye Tickets, to recognize others for positive behavior. On Fridays, Mrs. All’s toy Australian Shepard, Skye, visits the school to celebrate the winners on the morning news show. “The students love to spend time with Skye,” said All. “She gets letters from students, and I have a ghost writer who responds to all of them.”
Kennedy and Allie, two third graders, are responsible for collecting and sorting Skye tickets. They count the tickets, sort by grade level, and enter the totals in a notebook. Both girls understand the Seven Habits and how to use them, even outside the school walls. “Sometimes my family goes out to eat, so that is when I’m sharpening the saw – spending time with my family and friends,” said Kennedy.
Allie, who takes swimming lessons after school, said she uses three of Covey’s Habits. “I have to be proactive and bring my gear, I have to seek first to understand so I have to listen to my teacher, and finally I put first things first to get my homework done before I go to practice,” she explained.
Carol Barnhill, a first grade teacher, said it took a little time for students to become oriented to using the notebooks and set goals, but now they understand how it works. “They know where to put things, they know how to track their progress, and they get excited about using their strategies,” she said. “I can’t wait to see what these children are going to be like in fifth grade. These learned leadership skills will help them define who they are and who they want to be,” said Barnhill.
“The Seven Habits and Leader in Me programs are student-centered,” said Kirton. “Our discipline problems are almost non-existent. We are giving students the skills to work things out, including the soft skills that will make them more employable when they graduate from high school.”
The RAMP designation, awarded to schools that align with the criteria set in the ASCA National Model, recognizes schools that are committed to delivering a comprehensive, data-driven school counseling program and an exemplary educational environment. More than 600 schools have been designated as RAMP since the program’s inception.