Degrees and Certifications:
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
Meet the Counselor...
My name is Terri Onley and my husband, two daughters and I moved from Charlotte to Weddington over 20+ years ago primarily so that our girls could attend Union County Public Schools. Over the years both of my girls received an excellent public education, and I chose to work for UCPS as a school counselor for 15 of those years. In the earlier years I had the privilege of being part of the team to open Marvin Elementary and Kensington Elementary, followed by New Town Elementary which I continue to proudly serve ever since the doors opened in 2008. Both of my girls have since chosen to further their education at the University of South Carolina, one currently in her senior year and the other now a practicing Registered Nurse. My husband, two dogs, cat, and turtle continue to live in Weddington, albeit our days are a bit quieter. I enjoy a good rain, reading, dance, and music. My husband and I are avid Gamecock fans so on game days during football season look for me on the jumbotron! Go Gamecocks! I received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from UNC Charlotte, and continued my graduate studies at Winthrop University receiving a Master of Education in School and Agency Counseling. I am a National Board Certified Counselor and a certified North Carolina School Counselor. New Town is a wonderful school community and I love working with the children and their families helping them to grow emotionally, socially, and behaviorally. I am very excited to once again be serving a wonderful school, great students, and supportive families!
School Counselors help children...
Understand self and the world around them
Develop a positive self-image
Show respect for the feelings of others
Explore the decision-making process
Learn problem-solving skills
Navigate effective relationships with peers and adults
Develop conflict resolution skills
Understand options and strategies for bully situations
Gain an understanding of the world of work
Develop effective study skills
Be prepared to make the transition to middle school
The role of the School Counselor...
While academics/education is the primary function of a school, there is much more that takes place during the elementary school years. Children learn how to relate socially, resolve conflicts, navigate friendships, cope with stress and anxiety, and experience many other learning events that take place away from the home. In addition, each child has a separate life outside of school comprised of family, friends, hobbies and interests, which directly impact his/her life as well. All of these elements come together to make up the whole child that comes to school to learn each day, therefore impacting the educational experience. This is my purpose as the school counselor; to address emotional, social, and behavioral needs of the whole child in the school setting so as to foster positive growth and development, learning, and overall enhancement of the educational experience. I help students, teachers, administration, and parents in a variety of ways to influence a positive and productive school experience.
Listed below are some of the services I regularly provide toward this goal:
- Teach character education through classroom guidance lessons
- Provide short-term crisis/conflict counseling when needed
- Plan, coordinate, and implement school-wide reward/community service events
- Work collaboratively with teachers and administration to provide academic/behavioral strategies/interventions to promote student success
- Help students navigate social/peer relationships
- Monitor at-risk student academic/behavioral progress
- Teach mindfulness skills and application through guidance lessons
- Help students navigate personal problems/issues upon request
- Consult with parents upon request to address specific needs
- Address specific classroom needs (topics) upon teacher or administration request
- Teach test-taking strategies and skills
- Provide pre-EOG lessons which include reducing stress and anxiety, understanding what to expect on test days, and test taking strategies
- Provide information and/or referrals for community resources to families
Knowing how to study is a learned skill and it begins with establishing good homework habits. CONSISTENCY IS KEY in both developing or changing a habit. Beginning a healthy homework process in elementary school is essential for academic success. It is much easier to create a good habit than to change a bad habit. For homework success, begin routinely and consistently implementing the following good study habits.
- Allow your child to have a 20-30 minute brain and snack break after getting home from school, then immediately begin homework. This demonstrates that school/learning is a priority in your home and sets precedence for future expectations. Also, as the day passes your child becomes more mentally and physically tired and less able to optimally perform therefore impacting his/her willingness to complete homework.
- Complete homework at a desk or table in an area free from noise and distractions while continuing to be supervised by a parent/guardian. It’s important that a parent/guardian be available during homework time as some students may need help with organization, such as what subject to begin with, how to start an assignment, thinking through ideas before writing, and to check their work for understanding.
- Only one subject and materials should be accessible at a time. Student should complete the one assignment/task prior to moving on to the next. This should keep both the student’s mind and work space free from unnecessary clutter and therefore help with focus.
- Allow for a 3-5 minute break if homework time is becoming lengthy and then continue working. When possible it’s always best to complete homework in one sitting, however sometimes a short break may be needed.
- Let your student do his/her own work. Parent/guardian should be available to help in a supervisory way such as answering questions, reinforcing a learned skill, etc. but should not do the homework for the child, nor feel as if he/she has to “teach” the child. Homework needs to reflect student understanding so the teacher will know how to best help/teach the child. A better choice is to allow homework to reflect student understanding, and you communicate any concerns to the teacher.
- Do your best not to argue with your child during homework time. And yes, I do understand what you’re going through and know how difficult it can become! Your child may tantrum to protest doing homework but remember to remain calm, in control, non-reactive, and do not release him/her from the task! If you do, you will be creating an unwanted habit by reinforcing in your child’s mind that tantrums=don’t have to do homework! Take a breath, allow him/her a few minutes to tantrum and see that you’re not going to react then after your child calms down, redirect the child back to the work at hand. Use of a kitchen timer can be a great resource for providing “time” for both outbursts and breaks, allowing you to not have to verbally engage with your child during a tantrum.
- CONSISTENCY IS KEY! Keep in mind that very often resistance is seen prior to change, and habits take at least 31 days of routine, consist, and repetitive behavior to form.
No Bullies Allowed!
What is School Bullying?
Bullying is (1) unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that (2) involves a real or perceived power imbalance, and (3) is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. There is an intent to intimidate, or cause fear or discomfort, on an ongoing basis. Bullying includes but is not limited to actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, preventing inclusion, threatening through use of social media or via electronics such as texting, attacking someone physically or verbally, and/or working with others to create a hostile environment.
Signs a child may be being bullied:
Be aware that not all children who are bullied exhibit warning signs, however some potential warning signs are:
- Unexplainable injuries
- Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
- Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
- Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch
- Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
- Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
- Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
- Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
- Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide
It is equally important to recognize signs that one may be bullying others:
- Physical or verbal fights with others
- Has friends who bully others
- Displays increasingly aggressive behaviors
- Gets sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently
- Has unexplained extra money or new belongings
- Blames others for his/her problems
- Don’t accept responsibility for his/her actions
- Competitive and worries about his/her reputation or popularity
How to talk about bullying:
Parents, school staff, and other caring adults have a role to play in preventing bullying. Help children understand bullying by keeping lines of communication open and being engaged in their life. Show interest in hearing about everyday occurrences and model how to treat others with kindness and respect.
For more information: www.stopbullying.gov
School counselors recognize their primary obligation for confidentiality is to the student but balance that obligation with an understanding of the family or guardians’ legal and inherent rights to be the guiding voice in their children’s lives (ASCA Code of Ethics).
The role of the school counselor in regards to confidentiality is:
- To support the students right to privacy and protect confidential information received from students, the family, guardian and staff members
- To explain the meaning and limits of confidentiality to students in developmentally appropriate terms
- To provide appropriate disclosure and informed consent regarding the counseling relationship and confidentiality
- To inform students and the family of the limits to confidentiality when: Student poses a danger to self or others, Court ordered disclosure, Consultation with other professionals in support of the student i.e. colleagues, supervisors, treatment teams, and other support personnel
- To keep personal notes separate from educational records and not disclose their contents except when privacy exceptions exist
- To seek guidance from supervisors and appropriate legal advice when their records are subpoenaed
- To assert their belief that information shared by students is “confidential” and should not be revealed without the student’s consent
- To adhere to all laws protecting student records, health information, and special services (i.e., HIPAA, FERPA, IDEA)