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Mrs. Nichole Carey, Counselor & Assistant Principal of Student Support

Hi! My name is Nichole Carey and I am so excited to begin my first year at St. John Fisher as the Assistant Principal of Student Support as well as the counselor to students PreK - 8. My primary responsibility as a school counselor is to to promote the academic, personal, and social development of all students. Productive and comprehensive school counseling programs are, both, reactive and proactive so you can expect the counseling interventions implemented this year to be multi-dimensional.  A counseling curriculum will be delivered to students via in-class counseling lessons, all-school social emotional learning initiatives and grade level programming. In addition, I will provide short-term, individual counseling services to students as needed, as well as small group counseling which will address behavioral or emotional trends. I will also serve as a resource to parents as it relates to the academic success and/or social/ emotional needs of their child(ren).

 

 

Trait of the Week Integrity

Posted on May 18, 2020

 

Integrity 

This week's Trait of the Week is integrity.  Please review the flyer and read-along below and be sure to follow Mrs. Corley's social media posts/blog where she will be sharing inspirational art projects that reinforce integrity.

Flyer: https://drive.google.com/file/d/135AW9rlwlhkj1m3m1O5JXOA3eKd6ZLLn/view?usp=sharing

Read-along: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ev5L0f8hI1k

Have a great week!

Trait of the Week Gratitude

Posted on May 13, 2020

Trait of the Week Perseverance

Posted on May 13, 2020

OPTIMISM

Posted on Apr 27, 2020

Have a great, optimistic, week!

 

Optimism: 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1h0bss7oR3fULh4Iq5bH5CSGgwF3UlMip/view?usp=sharing

 

Read-along with Mrs. Carey: Grumpy Pants by Clare Messer 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SyO47v5Hd0r5Pl20fgn-9xyPKWproRi1/view?usp=sharing

       

 

Trait of the Week

Posted on Apr 27, 2020

As we progress on our e-learning journey, we continue to grow in ways we may never have fathomed.  With growth often comes growing pains; our patience has been challenged, our thresholds met, and our feelings of worry exacerbated.  It is likely our children are feeling similarly but unable to articulate these unfamiliar feelings.  We can help them make sense of this difficult time by assisting them in naming and acknowledging their feelings and strengthening the character traits that will help them cope with difficult emotions like disappointment and uncertainty.  Character traits such as optimism, perseverance, gratitude, integrity, kindness and empathy can be exercised and strengthened, similar to a muscle. Introducing and consciously integrating these traits into our day-to-day practices fosters positive, principled, self-directed development as well as social-emotional intelligence. 

 

Beginning this Monday, April 27th, we will begin a program that encourages this character development and social emotional learning. The Trait of the Week Program will highlight a character trait, define the importance of the given trait and describe ways in which we can incorporate and practice that skill in our day-to-day life.  Every Monday the Trait of the Week will be posted on Mrs. Carey’s blog as well as all SJF social media accounts. Corresponding read-alongs and art projects will accompany each weekly post.

 

Taking time to integrate social-emotional learning into our family’s routine will help our students navigate this difficult time, while also preparing them for future obstacles. I hope you and your family will take note and participate in the Trait of the Week Program.

 

If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to email me at ncarey@sjfschool.net

 

Alternative Learning

Posted on Apr 02, 2020

 

I hope this note finds you and your family well,  finding some routine amidst your "new normal." As these times are trying, and undoubtedly unprecedented, my hope is that we all can use this time to shift our perspective and find calm and opportunity among the uncertainty.  As we are being called to limit our activities and stay home, there has never been a better time to focus on positive mental health. Finally, a perfect time to take care of ourselves — mentally, intellectually and physically — and introduce new practices that in the past we “didn’t have time for.” Below you will find a link to resources that may assist you in fostering time for your child(ren) to explore new practices and focus on less tangible, but equally as important, academic skill sets.  Social-emotional learning, self-care, and intellectual curiosity, to name a few, are invaluable to a child’s academic, social and emotional growth.  

The potential opportunity to re-connect, recharge and explore authentic interests will, for many of us, be overshadowed by uncertainty, isolation and a loss of direction.  It is important that we acknowledge that this is a stressful and anxiety-provoking time for our children, as well as ourselves. For that reason I have included additional resources to assist parents in supporting the emotional and psychological well-being of their child(ren) .

During these challenging times, I am happy to help assist you in any way I can.  I will post resources and recommendations to my blog weekly and remain available for questions or student specific concerns as they relate to academic success and/or wellness.  

 

Please note: if you or your child are in need of counseling services many local practitioners provide telehealth services; virtual counseling sessions that, in some cases, will be covered by health insurance.   

 

Stay well,

 

Nichole Carey, MEd, LPC

 

Link to Resource: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1dNJiJuGUNQyRP3a15nFNnSWugCBmoAZ0hCaWLo0dJEU/edit?usp=sharing

Empathy Programming

Posted on Feb 19, 2020

I hope your new year is off to a great start and you find yourself rested, rejuvenated and enthusiastic about what is to come. As we all tend to do as a year comes to a close, I spent some time over break reflecting on my first months at SJF.  Having gained a better understanding of the school culture and student body, I have identified all-school counseling lessons that will address social-emotional topics most relevant to our students.  

The first social-emotional lesson of 2020 will focus on empathy; the ability to identify the feelings and understand the perspective and experience of others. Empathy and perspective-taking in school-aged children improves interpersonal relationships and positively influences academic performance as it enhances classroom culture, school-wide sense of community and improved leadership skills.  In my research, I stumbled upon a variety of interesting articles that discuss the importance of encouraging and demonstrating empathy in the classroom.  Listed below are reading recommendations for those that may be interested in fostering empathy in their homes.  I am confident you will find you are already doing so in many ways!

Over the past two weeks I have delivered my counseling lessons through the students’ regularly scheduled library time, as Mrs. Keller has graciously agreed to allow me to use her space.  In preschool, kindergarten and first grade students learned to identify feelings in themselves and their friends through a fun game of charades.  Then we read the book, I’m Not Just a Scribble, by Diane Alber, and each student drew their own scribble, representing the feeling of their choice.  In grades 2 through 4 students learned to put themselves in someone else's shoes as we read The Invisible Boy, by Trudy Ludwig.  Following the story students discussed times they have felt left-out or invisible and identified ways they could notice when others are feeling the same way.  They students role-played what they could say and do to show empathy to their family members and friends.  Fifth through eighth graders discussed sophisticated feeling words and why descriptive language is important in identifying feelings, recognizing others' feelings and how we can use this language to relate to others.  Students then defined empathy, evaluated why it is important to build strong empathy skills, and applied it to their own personal experiences. Grades 5th - 8th were also asked to identify a population of people in which they empathize and construct a plan to service or support this population; one that we could practically put in to action here at SJF.  Students submitted their responses and will be eligible to, not only, put their plan into action but also win a pizza party for their homeroom.  Stay tuned for the results of our “In Their Shoes” competition; it is going to be a tough decision! 

As always, if you have any questions in regards to programming or concerns about your child please do not hesitate to reach out!

 

Sincerely,

Mrs. Nichole Carey

 

An excellent explanation of what empathy is, told by Brene Brown: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Evwgu369Jw

Book Recommendation:

UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World by Michele Borba, Ed.D

 

Article Recommendations: 

Synopsis of Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succed in Our All-About-Me World and strategies to foster empathy in your child.

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/seven_ways_to_foster_empathy_in_kids

Harvard study explaining why empathy is important and strategies to explore in the classroom.

https://mcc.gse.harvard.edu/resources-for-educators/how-build-empathy-strengthen-school-community  

Counseling Programming

Posted on Nov 08, 2019

As the first trimester comes to an end,  I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to speak to faculty and the 7th and 8th grade girls about topics I have found to be relevant to the SJF community in my first months as the school counselor.

At a recent faculty meeting the resource coordinator, Mrs. Birnacki, and myself presented to the faculty, sharing information on anxiety and ADHD.  We discussed symptomolgy, classroom implications and interventions as well as ways in which we can be emotionally supportive to our students who are facing academic and/or personal challenges.  The aim of the meeting was to arm faculty with the resources they need to best serve our students, ensuring they are prepared and able to learn each and every day.

This past week I also met with seventh and eighth grade girls to discuss social media and the impact it can have on self-esteem and self-efficacy.  The girls were incredibly engaged and willing to participate throughout the lesson which made it so much fun! I think we all learned something about how the overuse (dependency) of our phones and social media negatively impacts our mood and the relationships we have with others.

The linked presentations have been updated to include parent suggestions as they relate to anxiety, ADHD and social media. If you have questions, concerns or would like to discuss the information shared at length please do not hesitate to contact me at ncarey@sjfschool.net.

 

Please click on the hyperlink below.  Google slides is the recommended application.  Videos and their hyperlinks are included in each presentation.

Childhood Anxiety 

Supplemental Resource: Netflix The Mind Explained, Episode 4: Anxiety

Social Media

ADHD

 

 

Positive Relationships

Posted on Sep 18, 2019

What an exciting couple weeks I had visiting ALL classrooms, PreK – 8!  The students and I kicked off the school year discussing how important it is to treat others with kindness, respect and empathy.  This lesson was imparted to PreK – 4thgrade students through the book Have You Filled a Bucket Today. The students learned that they can fill someone’s bucket through simple acts of kindness, appreciation and love. The students enthusiastically identified ways they can fill the buckets of their friends, classmates and parents.  Conversely, the “Bucket Book,” as the students refer to it, also outlines that one can dip into someone’s bucket and make them feel sad or lonely through actions that are hurtful, discouraging or rude.  As you might imagine, the book illustrates children holding invisible buckets that are either filled with rainbows and stars or empty. I love these books as they provide young children with very concrete imagery of how their actions impact others.  I have already had students stop me in the hall to provide examples of when someone “filled their bucket” (which incidentally filled my bucket!); hopefully you will begin to hear these terms at home as well!

Students in 5th– 8thgrade received a different type of lesson aimed to impress the same message.  With our older students the content was framed as an anti-bullying lesson and students were prompted to discuss the differences between bullying and a conflict, examine the potential motivating factors that drive bullying behavior and ultimately provide suggestions as to how we can ensure St. John Fisher is a place where every student feels a sense of safety and belonging and, most importantly, feels as though they can explore, learn and take academic risks.  The lesson was supported by a reflection in which students were prompted to think about a time they were mistreated, bullied or deeply embarrassed.  Students recorded some of their thoughts and feelings and reflected upon their experiences; how they felt physically, what they were thinking during the event, how long they thought about the event after it occurred, etc.. Most importantly, students were asked to evaluate if these events and experiences are still hurtful memories. We processed how important it is to treat others with kindness, dignity and respect as memories and experiences, especially negative ones, are lasting and can be seriously damaging to our self-esteem and confidence.

The capstone to this lesson was our visit from Mr. Roy Petifilis, a renowned author and speaker.  Mr. Petifilis echoed many concepts from our classroom lessons and, in addition, discussed how unique and difficult it can be to be an adolescent in today’s society.  Hopefully you were able to attend the parent version of this presentation which delved deeper into topics plaguing todays children and adolescents such as depression, anxiety and unhealthy relationships with social media.  If you were not able to attend I would encourage you to read Mr. Petifilis’ book Helping Teens with Stress, Anxiety, and Depression: A Field Guide for Catholic Parents, Pastors, and Youth Leaders.  

I am so grateful for a strong start to the school year; it was wonderful meeting all your children and I look forward to meeting you, the parents, in the coming weeks. If you have any questions as to how you can best support your child(ren) or would like your child to meet with me for academic or social-emotional reasons please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

 

Services Provided

CLASSROOM COUNSELING LESSONS:? Classroom lessons will be presented in classrooms, grades PreK-8.  The curriculum is informed by teacher and parent feedback (as received from a needs assessment survey last spring) as well as the National Model for School Counseling (ASCA).  Lessons will be delivered in a developmentally appropriate manner, addressing various academic and social-emotional topics. Examples include: healthy peer relationships, coping with difficult emotions and effective study skills.

GROUP COUNSELING:? Group counseling is provided for small groups of students experiencing similar concerns. Group topics may include coping with anxiety, anger management, organization and executive functioning skills and improving self-esteem. Counseling groups generally service 4 to 6 students and last for 6 to 8 sessions.  Students can be recommended by parents/guardians, faculty members or the counselor. If your child has been recommended to participate in a small group you will be contacted, informed of the group’s goals and asked for signed consent.

INDIVIDUAL COUNSELING:? Short term, one-on-one counseling support is available to all students in grades PreK- 8. Students may self-refer or be referred to the counselors by teachers/staff, administrator and/or parents. Confidentiality* is respected. 

CONSULTATIONS:? I am available to meet with teachers, administrators and/or parents to discuss the needs of individual students.? I am here for all students and want to ensure that your child has a productive and positive school year. If I can support your child in anyway, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

BLOG:  Please note that I will be updating my blog on the SJF website; it will highlight upcoming counseling lessons, school-wide social emotional learning initiatives, book recommendations and more!

I am thrilled to begin this school year and grateful for the opportunity to serve St. John Fisher students, staff and families.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions or concerns.

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