Counselors Strive For Trauma Aware School District

AUBURN – School counselors described the importance of Auburn being a trauma aware school district at Monday’s school board meeting.

Elementary Counselor Autumn Reeves said that sometimes means putting mental well being ahead of academics to ensure that students are in position to learn.

Reeves: “I think it’s important that our students know we are sensitive to what is happening in their lives, so that we can help them regulate their emotions, help give them the tools so that they can be productive with their mental health so that helps them benefit with their academics.”

The school district hired Katherine Niedermeyer as a mental health counselor this fall. She said sometimes it is not that a student is giving a hard time, but is having a hard time.

Neidermeyer: ““In the classrooms that we are seeing you might have a kid that looks like they are being oppositional and disrespectful and refusing to do their homework, when there are major issues going on at home and in their life that they are not entirely sure how to deal with, or that becomes a self-defense mechanism for them and it’s portrayed differently in the classroom.”

Middle School counselor Kayla Yearley said she had 1,300 contacts with students last year and a quarter of them were for personal concerns.

Yearly : “So many of our middle schoolers, not just in our district, but adolescents across the country, are dealing with concerns on social media. Our job as counselors is to meet kids where they are  and help them develop skills and coping mechanisms that they can utilize throughout their life.”

Counselors told the board that a firm attendance policy and trauma awareness are key to their jobs.