Make the Choice to Move Forward
By Amy LaGrasta on April 24th, 2014
Stop and think about your life’s journey so far.
Some of us are just getting started on school, many are at the beginning of our careers, and others are nearing retirement. The reality for all of us is that every choice we make and action we take has gotten each of us to where we are today. You, and you alone, are responsible for your happiness or unhappiness, success or failure.
Fate and luck are of no consequence. Accepting personal responsibility is the first step to success. It is the only requirement needed to achieve goals. If you say things like, “it’s not my fault” or “life is unfair,” then you have not yet accepted responsibility for your actions.
It is not too late or too hard to change.
By Amy LaGrasta on April 9th, 2014
Anyone can get test anxiety. In fact, it is normal to feel some stress before a test. The anticipation and nerves you feel can actually help you perform at your peak. However, for some people this normal stress is much more intense. Students who worry a lot in general may feel more anxious at test time. Those who worry about getting every answer correct may be even more prone to test stress.
Students who eat right, get plenty of rest, and get ample play and exercise time are better equipped to combat test anxiety. These are important factors all the time, but it’s most important to get all three the day before a test.
Practicing these few tips prove to be valuable skills not only when dealing with test anxiety, but in many of life’s situations: Continue reading
Self-Injury Awareness Month
By Amy LaGrasta on March 24th, 2014
March is Self-Injury Awareness Month.
Each year, approximately 2 million cases of self-injury are reported annually in the United States. One in five females and one in seven males engage in self-injury. Ninety percent of people who engage in self harm begin during their teenage or pre-adolescent years.
Self-harm can be a way of coping with problems. It may help express feelings that can’t be put into words, serve as a distraction from life, or release emotional pain. Afterwards, one might feel better—but only for a little while. Although self-harm may give temporary relief, it comes with a cost. In the long term, it causes far more problems than it solves. By not learning healthy ways to deal with emotional pain, it increases risk for bigger problems down the line, including major depression, drug and alcohol addiction, and suicide. Continue reading
Random Acts of Kindness
By Amy LaGrasta on March 12th, 2014
Recently, a mother took her two young boys to the grocery store. As she shopped, she helped them to put back their “fun finds” and stick to their list. She explained that since daddy had passed, they could not afford all of the things they used to and that they needed to stick to their budget. She told them they could now only purchase the necessities. What mom didn’t realize was that someone had overheard their conversation. This person picked up every item she put back on the shelves. As the family finished shopping, this woman followed them to the line, but managed to get ahead of them. She purchased all of the “fun finds” and left money with the clerk for mom’s shopping. When mom checked out, she was notified that her groceries had all been paid for, a cart of goodies was left for them, and they even had money left over. Tears streamed down her face as she tried to chase down the mystery woman to thank her. She never caught her, but contacted the local news to share her story. She hoped the mystery woman would hear and know how grateful she was for her gift of kindness. Continue reading
Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
By Amy LaGrasta on February 24th, 2014
Dating violence is defined by the National Center for Victims of Crime as controlling, abusive, and aggressive behavior in a romantic relationship.
It can include verbal, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. Teen dating violence runs across race, gender, and socio-economic lines. Anyone can be a victim of dating violence.
One in three teens reports knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped, or physically hurt by his/her dating partner. Both males and females are victims, but boys and girls are abusive in different ways. Girls are more likely to yell, threaten to hurt themselves, pinch, slap, scratch, or kick. Boys injure girls more severely and frequently. Continue reading
Celebrate National School Counseling Week
By Amy LaGrasta on February 4th, 2014
National School Counseling Week is February 3-7, 2014.
School counselors are certified school professionals who specialize in helping students make decisions about their personal and educational needs while providing information about colleges and other life choices. The school counseling profession started about 100 years ago with caring teachers that helped their students plan for the future. In the early 1900s, students began to have more educational and occupational options so school counseling became its own profession.
The role of the counselor has changed over the years, but the focus remains the same. School counselors help all students in the areas of academic achievement, personal/social development, and career development, ensuring today’s students become the productive, well-adjusted adults of tomorrow. Continue reading
Celebrate Successes in 2014!
By Amy LaGrasta on January 1st, 2014
Every January, about 45 percent of Americans resolve to accomplish a new goal or reform a habit with a New Year’s resolution.
Unfortunately, only about 8 percent are successful in keeping their resolutions.
Did you stick with your resolution for 2013?
What are your goals for 2014?
The Real Win is in Losing!
By Amy LaGrasta on November 19th, 2013
Losing is part of life. In fact, it is one of the most valuable lessons one can learn.
We don’t get everything we want all of the time. We can’t win every race. Tasting defeat only allows us to savor victory and try harder the next time. Learning how to lose teaches us how to win.
If a child knows they will automatically get a reward for showing up, what motivation is there to try? If our students’ walls are adorned with ribbons and trophies for participation, we have done them a disservice. We are teaching them that a promotion will be handed over on a silver platter, not earned. Grades will be given based on attendance, not effort. Continue reading
Red Ribbon Week 2013
By Amy LaGrasta on October 25th, 2013
Although many of us know that Red Ribbon Week is recognized annually during the last week of October to raise awareness about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, you may not know the history behind it. It all started with one man, Enrique “Kiki” Camarena. Kiki joined the Marine Corps after high school. After his discharge, he worked as a fireman, police officer, and narcotics investigator. Kiki’s devotion to keeping drugs off the streets and out of schools led him to join the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Kiki was assigned to the DEA office in Mexico and his mission was to stop the drug trade from crossing the borders into the US. Continue reading
Take Action to Stop Bullying
By Amy LaGrasta on October 8th, 2013
As the following statistics show, bullying is widespread and touches someone we all know. It is increasingly important that parents and educators talk to their students about bullying.
Be aware of the signs of bullying, pay attention to your students, and check in frequently to ensure their safety. One of the best ways to prevent and reduce bullying is to talk about it. Continue reading