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School Counseling Department- 2018/19

The School Counselors loop with their students at Montezuma-Cortez Middle School (M-CMS)

  • Colin Noel - 6th Grade Counselor
  • Carrie Schneider - 7th Grade Counselor/Department Leader
  • Robyne Cote - 8th Grade Counselor
  • Jade Neighbors - Secretary/Registrar

The school counseling program is intended to support students’ academic, social/emotional and individual needs based on these core strength based beliefs:


  • All people have strengths and capacities
  • People can change. Given the right conditions and resources, a person’s capacity to learn and grow can be nurtured and realized
  • People change and grow through their strengths and capacities
  • Students are experts of their own situation
  • All healthy people want good things for themselves and have good intentions
  • The problem is the problem, not the person
  • Problems can blind individuals from noticing and appreciating their strengths and capacity to find their own meaningful solutions
  • Individuals mean to do the best they can in light of their experiences to date and healthy individuals do not want to harm others
  • The ability to change is a choice we can make, it is our story
  • Positive relationships are essential to success


We utilize a preventative School Counseling model by reaching all students with classroom visits. Throughout the school year, our counselors will provide educational classroom lessons that teach students skills and strategies for academic, social/emotional and individual success. We will be teaching the Second Step Curriculum weekly during the 1st semester to promote skills and attitudes that increase students’ social and school success and prevent violence, bullying, and substance abuse. To find out more about Second Step go to, select “Create Account”  and enter this activation key SSP7 FAMI LY23. After the first semester, we will visit a classroom monthly and teach lessons around the following areas: career exploration (O’Net Interest Profiler), studying and test taking strategies, mindfulness, learning style, and tolerance. Our team is data driven in the decision making process, so the lessons are chosen based on the needs of our students.


Many students benefit from additional support to help them reach their full potential and school counseling groups can assist in their academic, personal and social skills. Support groups are educational in nature and address the following strength based areas: school success, mindfulness, managing stress in a positive way, goal setting, healthy communication, assertiveness skills.

These are only a portion of the educational groups that our department can provide. We will assess the needs of the students in each grade level and provide groups to fit their needs. Counseling groups are scheduled during the Academic Enrichment or lunch time.  All students have the opportunity to be assigned to a school counseling group based on student goals and needs.


As one of our core beliefs, “Positive relationships are key to students’ success,” our department utilizes restorative practices as a way to manage student discipline. Restorative practices are based on principles that emphasize the importance of relationships as central to building a school community and involves the process of restoring relationship when harm occurs. During a situation that leads to a student referral we ask the following questions for our students and staff involved to reflect upon.

► What happened, and what were you thinking at the time?

► What have you thought about since?

► Who has been affected by what you have done? In what way?

► What about this has been hardest for you?

► What do you think you need to do to make things as right as possible?

We also coordinate mediations as a strategy to understand others points of view and discuss how the harm can be mended and the incident can be prevented in the future.


There are a variety of ways that students are referred to the school counseling office. Most of the referrals occur with our school’s Child Study team. This team of school staff discusses referrals made by  teacher, staff and administrator and determine the best community and school resources for support. Please let us know if you have concerns about ANY student at our school and we will work collectively with other school support staff to address them.


Confidentiality and trust are essential in developing and maintaining a helping relationship. School counselors have an obligation to protect the privacy of the students we work with. Decisions about what information to share are made while considering the need for parent and school personnel to be involved. School counselors are mandated reporters and obligated by law to report if a student is in danger to self or others, or if there is reasonable cause to believe that a child has been abused. The main reason for reporting is to keep the student safe and collaborate in preventing it from happening in the future.