Wednesday, August 27, 2014


All students are being offered the opportunity to participate in support groups at school this year.  The counseling department has devised several different groups for the school year and wanted to let parents know about our offerings. A brochure will be sent home at the start of the year explaining the various groups.  We selected these topics after surveying our students about their concerns.  Interested students may choose from the following groups:

Children from changing families

How alcohol and drug use affects families

Losses and grief

Anger and aggression

Bullying & teasing

Dealing with difficult people

Peer relationships - Getting along with others

Study skills & homework

Friendship concerns for girls

Getting along at home.

Friendship concerns for boys

Additional topics as needed


A school support group is roughly six to ten students with similar concerns.  The discussion in the group is confidential; however, the curriculum for the group is not.  Parents can see what topics and general information are provided.  School counseling groups have been shown to help individual students feel better, work harder and achieve more while at school and at home. We hope you will grant your student permission to participate in our groups and that you will share with us any of your satisfactions or concerns.

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Student support groups offer factual information about the topic of interest.  Groups allow students to examine their feelings about the topic of concern and share these with peers who have similar experiences.  The realization that no one is alone - that others truly understand and really care - provides the emotional support.

  • Changing Families:   This group is for students who are experiencing separation, divorce or remarriage. Grief and loss are addressed. The process of separation and divorce and sometimes remarriage is represented among the group members, who are each at different stages.
  • Concerned Person: This group is for students who are worried about someone's use of alcohol and/or other drugs.  Some simply want more information to protect themselves from future use.
  • Grief and Loss:   This group is for everyone at times.  Some groups have people who recently lost loved ones.  Others are anticipating a loss or enduring family illnesses.  The process of sharing grief without embarrassment is helpful.
  • Friendship:   This group assists students who have traditionally had few friends or contentious relationships with others as well as to learn skills needed to communicate and cooperate.
  • Study Skills:   This is a highly informational group teaching study skills in a smaller setting.  Additionally, student feelings about school achievement are addressed.


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Throughout the month of September, 6th, 7th and 8th grade students will receive a handout informing each student of the counseling groups available to them. Students that are interested in signing up for one or more group must take the permission sheet home to be signed. The permission form can be returned to the Guidance Office.

During October, the most requested counseling groups will begin, with others starting throughout the year as needed. Students that have returned their permission slip will be interviewed by a counselor to see if the student is still interested in joining a counseling group, to discuss confidentiality issues and to discuss how counseling groups typically work. Depending on the topic, most counseling groups last six to eight weeks. Meetings generally last for forty-five minutes and are held during exploritories.




The second type of group offered at Sutherland is known as a "lunch bunch" group. These groups are grade-specific and are generally gender-specific, as well. These groups meet at lunch time for twenty-five minutes once a week and may focus on one particular goal such as friendships, bullying support, homework help or even may be used for students that do not like eating in the cafeteria. Lunch bunch group members have the option to join or leave the group whenever they see fit. Students interested in forming a lunch bunch group should speak with their counselor.

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