My name is Jade Volchoff and I would like to welcome you to Howard Gardner MI Charter School’s Guidance Office!
About the Howard Gardner Guidance Office
- Resource for all students. Supportive atmosphere to reinforce skills and positive behaviors.
- Focus on the academic, personal/social and career areas.
- Solution focused counseling is predominantly used. Students focus on their skills, strengths, and supportive relationships to work on their concerns.
- Safe and open space for students, staff, and parents alike!
Individual Counseling: These sessions will be for students to assist with a variety of educational, career and personal (social and emotional) concerns. The purpose of these sessions are to talk about the concerns, make a plan of action, and to help the students follow through with their plan. If a student is in need of more intensive counseling, I will refer the family to private counselors and encourage the family to use community resources.
Group Counseling: In some instances students help each other out by working in groups led by the counselor. A lot of times students feel supported by working with other students that are experiencing the same problem. Group counseling will usually meet once or twice a week for a specific number a sessions. Depending on the topic, there are typically 6-8 sessions lasting for 30-45 minutes. Advantages of group over individual counseling are that students often do not feel singled out and they tend to gain social skills and personal confidence by learning to empathize and help one another. Some topics that might be addressed in Group are Self Esteem, Handling Emotions, Divorce, and Social Skills.
Classroom Guidance: The topics presented in classroom guidance will largely be driven by what the teacher feels the needs of the classroom or school are. In the past I focused on delivering character education and created lessons based on the particular problem the classroom may have been facing.
Referrals: An important role for the school counselor is to serve as referral agents when students and their families require assistance from other programs and services. In this case I would work closely with the faculty, parents and Vince in this process.
Consultation: This is and has always been a huge part of my role. Students develop to their fullest if everyone works together. So often I will work with the teacher and the parent to better address the needs of the student. Typically consultations will focus on the individual child, but this may also include workshops or presentations to parents or teachers on a particular topic. For example I may speak at a faculty meeting about PSSA’s, or mandated reporting or give a presentation to parents about bullying.
Coordination: I currently hold regular meetings with Lauren Jacobino, our Special Education teacher, Jeri Hubbard, Title I teacher, Rita Williams, School Psychologist, Joy Riviello, our NEIU Speech Teacher, and Director Maria Rozaieski to coordinate our efforts to best serve the students. I will be working closely with Lauren and Jeri in meeting the academic needs of our students. I also coordinate with Faculty on the Child Study team. We meet weekly to discuss students that may be struggling academically, socially, or emotionally.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania requires that schools develop a Schoolwide Positive
Behavioral Support Plans (SWPBS) to create a schoolwide system to cultivate positive behaviors in young people. This Plan was developed by a team of teachers and our administration. I am the Team Leader of this committee.
Our schoolwide expectations for positive behavior are described in the
overview of the Howard Gardner Multiple Intelligence Charter School Schoolwide Positive
Behavioral Support Plan that follows. This plan includes a chart that delineates violations of
school rules and corresponding disciplinary actions. At Howard Gardner, our goal is to involve
students in the understanding and shaping of our expectations for excellence as well as to
cultivate their sense of responsibility for their actions and acceptance of consequences for
misbehavior. Our ultimate goal is that our students model for one another best behaviors, and
together foster a positive community dedicated to learning and personal growth.
Schoolwide Behavioral Expectations
Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support is a set of strategies and systems to increase the
capacity of schools to (a) reduce school disruption, and (b) educate all students including those
with problem behaviors. A SWPBS program contains:
- Clearly defined outcomes
- Research-validated practices
- Supportive administrative systems
- Use of information for problem solving
Features of SchoolWide Positive Behavior Support
- Establish regular, predictable, positive learning & teaching environments.
- Train adults & peers to serve as positive models.
- Teach and model behavioral expectations.
- Create systems for providing regular positive feedback.
- Acknowledge students when they are “doing the right thing”.
- Improve social competence.
- Develop environments that support academic success.
This guide provides specific goals, behavioral expectations, teacher and staff responsibilities,
strategies for acknowledgement, procedures for handling infractions of behavioral expectations,
and specific routines to be followed.
Students at Howard Gardner MI Charter School will be STARS throughout the school day by
following the four behavioral expectations.
Howard Gardner MI Charter School Behavioral Expectations
Teacher & Staff Responsibilities:
- Teachers and staff will teach, model and practice each of the behavioral expectations
throughout the year.
- Teachers and staff will acknowledge student behaviors that meet the STAR
- Teachers and staff will follow procedures for infractions.
The acknowledgement system is a feature of the STAR behavioral expectation system. The
behavioral expectation system focuses on acknowledging students who demonstrate Howard
Gardner’s behavioral expectations. This program works in conjunction with schoolwide and
Specific verbal feedback
When students are being, safe, trustworthy, accountable, and/or respectful, teachers will
acknowledge them by giving specific positive verbal feedback.
Clip Chart Feedback
Classroom clip charts will be used to help students make good choices regarding their
behaviors. When teachers observe students being safe, trustworthy, accountable and/or
respectful the teacher will move the student’s name up the clip chart. Negative behaviors result
in students’ movement downward on the chart. Students can earn their way up on the clip chart
even when they have been moved down. The goal of classroom teachers is to help students
reflect on negative behaviors and to encourage and model positive behavior so that they move
up on the clip chart.
HGS Star Cards
Acknowledge students who are exhibiting STAR behaviors by giving them specific positive
feedback along with a HGS STAR CARD. When a student receive a HGS STAR Card they will
put their name on the STAR card and place it in a container in the classroom. Every week two
STAR cards will be pulled from the container in each classroom. The students whose names are
on the cards will be able to go to the school store and pick a tangible or intangible reward.
Student of the Month
Each month, one student for each class exhibiting STAR qualities will be recognized at a
schoolwide assembly. This student is chosen by his/her classroom teacher. Newsletter with
students of the month will also be sent home monthly.
Each week Art, Music, Spanish, Mandarin, Gym and Science will nominate a class they feel has
exhibited STAR qualities the most. These awards will be announced on the Student Council
Newscast and will be recorded on a bulletin board for all classes to see.
Monthly Blow Outs
The first month SPBS is implemented all students will participate in a Blow Out or party
celebrating their STAR behavior. After the first month only students that have not received a
major office referral will be able to participate. Students that are not able to participate will take
part in a reteaching session for their behavior during that time.
As Team leader it is my responsibility to plan and execute the Monthly Blow Outs and often look for donations and Parent Volunteers to make this happen.
This will be my fifth year as school counselor at Howard Gardner.
I received my Bachelors of Science Degree from the College of Education at Penn State University in Rehabilitation Services and my Masters of Education in Elementary School Counseling with a Secondary School Counseling Certification from West Chester University. I am currently pursuing my professional counseling license at West Chester University.
During my graduate studies at West Chester, I was a Graduate Assistant for Residence Life working as an Assistant Residence Hall Director and serving on the University’s Judicial Board .
Prior to graduate school, I gained experience in the mental health field from 2002-2006 working for Allied Services as a mental health caseworker.
Before joining the Howard Gardner Faculty, I had been working as an elementary school counselor in the Poconos for 4 years. I worked with a diverse population of over 900 students in a district that houses over 10,000 students.
I currently reside in Scranton with my husband Jaden, my son Flynn, 6, my daughter, Adelaide who will be 5 in November, and will be welcoming our 3rd child in January.
If you feel that you need to contact me for any reason please feel free to do so. We have told the students that they may tell their teachers, leave a note or ask that their parents contact me by phone or email.
My email address and phone number are listed below. You may also call the Main Office or leave a note for me with the school secretary.
To schedule an appointment, calling or emailing works the best. Occasionally I will be available to meet without an appointment, but I strongly recommend contacting me ahead of time.
PSSA: Pennsylvania System of School Assessment
This year students in grades 3 through 8 will be given the PSSA. I am listed with the state as Howard Gardner’s Assessment coordinator.
The PSSA calendar for the 2017-2018 school year is as follows:
Assessment — Dates — Grades
- 2017 – 2018 PSSA Testing Window Assessment Dates
- English Language Arts April 9 – 13, 2018 Grades 3 – 8
- Mathematics April 16 – 20, 2018 Grades 3 – 8
- Science April 23 – 27, 2018 Grades 4 & 8
- Make – up April 30 – May 4, 2018
If you have any questions about the PSSA please feel free to contact me and I will do my best to answer your questions.Click here for PSSA Test-taking Tips!
As a counselor, I will protect the privacy of my students and treat each individual with respect . The law states, if during a counseling session anything is said that tells me that a someone is hurting the child, they plan on hurting someone else or themselves, that I must share it with the proper authorities for the child’s protection.