I am a guidance counselor in a rural school in Oklahoma. I have a little over 300 students grades 6-12. Our school is over 85% free and reduced lunch and poverty is a reality. We also have very little diversity within our community which is a great disadvantage to students on college and work readiness skills.
We have exceptional students who are motivated, and despite socioeconomic conditions and obstacles we have created a college-going culture and consistently had over 60% of graduates enroll in post-secondary schools or enlist in military.
We also received an award from ACT for the number of students who are taking the ACT college entrance exam. Great things are happening for our students.
My job as Guidance Counselor is to get them as prepared as possible for this journey. In order for students to be successful I spend a great deal of guidence instruction focusig on social and emotinal well-being.
In collaboration with the 8th grade English teacher. I have purchased a curriculum to use with the novel Wonder written by R. J. Palacio. Palacio wrote Wonder after an incident wherein her son noticed a girl with a severe facial deformity and started to cry. Fearing he would react badly, Palacio attempted to remove her son from the situation so as not to upset the girl and her family but ended up worsening the situation. Natalie Merchant's song "Wonder" made her realize that the incident could illustrate a valuable lesson. It is one of the most moving novels with an anti-bullying message that is relatable to students that I have encountered.
The Wonder, Choose Kind project consists of a book study combined with an anti-bullying curriculum designed to strengthen empathy skills and educate students on how to handle bullying situations as victim and the bystander.
Implementing the project will not only teach students skills needed today but skills and a healthy perspective they can take with them when they leave us and pursue their individual journeys after high school.
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