Counselor Profile: Ann Fitch, Gold Rush Elementary

Counselor Profile: Ann Fitch, Gold Rush Elementary
Posted on 01/16/2020
Counselor Profile: Ann Fitch
Gold Rush Elementary

Ann Fitch, the school counselor at Gold Rush Elementary, is helping elementary counseling programs expand district-wide. Stacy Blaylock, DCSD Communications Coordinator, sat down with Fitch to learn more about Douglas County School District’s Elementary Lead Counselor.

How long have you been with DCSD?

Eleven years. Seven as a Middle School Counselor four years as both an Elementary Counselor and the Elementary Lead Counselor for DCSD.

What role does the Elementary Lead Counselor have?

Four years ago we had a small group of six Elementary Counselors. We were such a small group back then! As our group, we knew that we needed to find a way to connect monthly and meet to align practices and start building the group. Three years ago I became the lead Elementary Counselor and worked with our group to work on a vision and what we wanted the role of an Elementary Counselor to look like. Our group slowly grew to eight and then to ten - now we are at forty-five! I continue to organize and hold our monthly Elementary meetings and also have some other “big rocks” as a Lead Counselor that I work on. We built an Elementary Counseling Resources library that holds different curriculums and programs for us and I also run different types of Professional Development to support Elementary Counseling.

Do you support other elementary counselors a lot?

I try! I love to be a support and help mentor some of our new Elementary Counselors. We have so many AMAZING people that joined DCSD and I love their new ideas and energy!

Is that on top of your role as the school counselor at Gold Rush Elementary?

Yes! Gold Rush is a school that just got a counselor for the first time this year with our Bond and Mill passing last Fall. I am working on building a school-wide Counseling Curriculum that fits the needs of this school. I work monthly in first through fifth-grade classrooms using the Mind Up Curriculum and weekly with our Kindergarten students. I also started a SHIP (School Health Improvement Plan) with our DCSD Healthy Schools Team - implementing year one of Mindfulness education. We tend to cover different topics like talking about the brain, how to build new neural pathways, how to use mindfulness-based strategies to cope with stress and emotions, to name a few.

In addition to implementing a new curriculum, I also meet with kids individually and run different groups based on what the need is for the students. Some of the groups I run throughout the year are Worry Warriors, Friendship, Executive Functioning, Social Skills, Managing Emotions - to name a few!

What was something that surprised you this year?

How much the kids enjoy talking about their feelings! A lot of them call me the “Feelings Teacher” and know that I am a safe adult in the building they can connect with about their emotions. The students are very engaged in learning about their brain and how it works in relation to their feelings. When the students understand the why behind what we are teaching they can do so much with it! This helps all of our kids learn that our brain is the system behind our feelings but ultimately we are able to learn and develop strategies that help manage our feelings.

Thanks for your time, Ann! Good luck in the new year!

My pleasure!
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