Whitaker Elementary

Counseling

Mrs.Utley

Dear Whitaker Families,

Welcome to the 2017-18 school year! This is my second year as counselor in Finneytown, and I am excited to get to know you, your children, and connect with our community. I have 10 years of experience supporting and advocating for young people in a variety of settings, including Cincinnati Public Schools, Columbus Public Schools, foster care & juvenile court systems, and a partial-hospitalization program. More importantly, as a proud graduate of Finneytown High School & former student at Whitaker, I fully support the preservation & positive development of this small, diverse & service-oriented community through working with our children & alongside their families.

My primary goal is to help ensure that your child feels welcome, safe, and excited about school so that they can be engaged in the classroom and with their peers. I greet students at the front door every morning, have an open door policy and am visible throughout the building during the school day. I have a locked mailbox outside my office so that students can leave me a message if an issue arises, like bullying. I work to connect peer leaders with students who may need some extra support to help build comfort & security. Once children have a sense of belonging to school, we can focus on life skills: social skills, self-regulation skills, coping skills and basic organizational skills, etc. to handle everyday situations, like how to make & keep friends, how to manage anger or worries in a healthy way, and how to prioritize assignments or study for a test. School counselors work on these skills in a variety of ways- Individual counseling, small group/lunch bunches, classroom guidance lessons, crisis intervention, mediation sessions, and through collaboration with our community partners like Beech Acres. We reward and praise positive, respectful & responsible behavior (The Whitaker Way!) through fake money that students may use to buy items from our school store. In addition, I serve on our Character Education Committee in which we plan positive character lessons to teach in specials (e.g. gym, music). In the monthly newsletter, I will be highlighting these character traits, such as compassion and perseverance, and will offer activities on how to mirror at home what we are teaching at school. Stay tuned!

Lastly, I believe that parents/caregivers know their child best and that their involvement is necessary to help children be successful in school and life. I encourage you to communicate with me, teachers and admin on an ongoing basis so that we can collaborate & be consistent in teaching academic and social/emotional skills. Also, there are numerous opportunities throughout the year for parent involvement in school events & activities. We understand families are incredibly busy- volunteering at just one event would make a big difference! Ask about our Parent & Community Engagement Committee for more information. Please do not hesitate to email: butley@finneytown.org, call: (513) 728-3737, or stop by: Main Office during my scheduled office hours (Monday-Friday, 9:00am-3:30pm) to connect.

Sincerely,

Britany Utley