The school counseling program at OB Gates Elementary School is designed to assist your child in making the most of his or her educational experiences. As your child’s counselors, we are concerned about his or her emotional well-being, academic progress, and personal and social development. Because there are so many situations that interfere with a child’s learning process, we are here to help students work through those issues. We provide students with early interventions as well as preventative strategies so that ALL students can do their individual best EVERY day.

What does a school counselor do?

The role of the elementary counselor is to guide, advise, recommend, consult, and assist with the near limitless variety of concerns that students, parents, teachers, administrators, and the community at large may have. Specifically, the thrust of the counseling program is defined by three major goals:

To assist students with personal and academic concerns such as coping with stress, learning to study, and behaving appropriately in class.

To help students develop educational and career decision-making skills including knowing how to make decisions, developing individual interests and abilities, and learning about jobs and careers.

To aid students in developing interpersonal skills such as resolving conflicts.

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Implement the elementary school counseling curriculum;
  • Guide individuals and groups of students through the development of educational, personal, social and career plans;
  • Counsel individuals and small groups of children toward social and emotional growth;
  • Consult with teachers, parents and staff regarding children’s needs;
  • Refer children with problems and their parents to special programs, specialists and outside agencies;
  • Participate in, coordinate and conduct activities that contribute to the effective operation of the counseling program and school;
  • Participate in and facilitate the intervention team process;
  • Plan and evaluate the counseling program;
  • Pursue continuous professional growth.

As school counselors at OB Gates Elementary School, we will:

advocate for every child’s academic and social best interests; be available to all students on an as-needed, short-term individual basis, conduct small groups that focus on prevention and skill refinement, and teach classroom guidance lessons that address social/emotional, academic, and career development; work with all major stakeholders in students lives to provide a proactive, comprehensive school counseling program that is in accordance with the goals and competencies set forth by the state of Virginia, the Virginia School Counselor Association and the American School Counselor Association’s National Model; and consistently assess the needs of the school community and use that data to actively drive the counseling program.

Individual Counseling

Individual counseling is one-on-one and is available on an as needed basis to all students at the request of the student, parent, or staff member. The school counselor provides a safe environment for the student to problem solve topics of interest that may be affecting their academic success.

During sessions, students might:

  • talk about things that are important to them
  • use art or play to help express feelings and problems
  • role play situations
  • work on a plan to reach a goal
  • read stories that will help them learn and understand more about themselves
  • use the counseling office as a safe place to calm down when feeling upset
  • play games to learn ways to relate to others

Referrals for students to meet with a school counselor can be made by classroom teachers, principal, parents, or through student self-referrals. Self-referral forms are available for all students in grades 3-5, and can be obtained from the student’s teacher. Parents are welcome to call or e-mail the counselors at any time to request individual counseling for their child. While students may see us at any time for brief discussions, parental permission must be granted in order for a counselor to work with a student for a series multiple, planned sessions.

While we provide many services for students and their families, we are unable to testify in child custody matters. We are also unable to provide intensive, long-term counseling services to students.

Group Counseling

Small group counseling (typical 5-8 participants) is needs based and usually meets once a week during lunch for four to six weeks in efforts to be least disruptive to the learning environment. Small groups provide members the opportunity to share ideas and learn from each other. Group topics vary and are according to student’s needs. Participation is voluntary and confidential, requiring permission from a parent or guardian. Referrals for groups are made by parents and teachers. Priority is given to students who show an academic need.

Group Topics may include:

  • Friendship
  • Social Skills
  • Self-Control
  • Changing Families/Divorce
  • Grief/Loss
  • Anxiety/Stress
  • Study Skills
  • New Students
  • Anger Management

Classroom Guidance Lessons

Classroom Guidance is a developmental program of classes designed to foster students’ academic, career, and personal/social development. Classes are preventative in nature and empower students with self-knowledge, coping strategies, and life skills that will assist them in becoming problem solvers, collaborative workers, and responsible citizens.

Classroom Guidance Topics may include:

  • Getting Along with Others
  • Bullying
  • Internet Safety
  • Promote Respect
  • Career
  • Knowing the School Counselor

At O.B. Gates Elementary, we have many school-wide programs to reinforce the importance of our core values of respect, responsibility, accountability and honesty. These include, but are not limited to:

  • School-wide Programs
  • Promote Respect
  • Peaceful School Bus
  • New Students
  • Student Leaders
  • Watch Dogs
  • Parent Talks
  • Make A Difference with Change

Kelley Arrowood, M. Ed

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My name is Kelley Arrowood and this will be my first year as the school counselor at OB Gates. I earned my undergrad degree in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and my M. Ed from Liberty University. In my free time, I love to read and spend time with my family.

I am so excited to meet and work with all of the Gates Star students and families!

Katie Klipp, M. Ed (Monday and Wednesdays)

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Hello! My name is Katie Klipp, and I am so excited to begin my second year as a school counselor! I will split my time between Gates (Mondays and Wednesdays) and Jacobs Road (T, Th, F) this year. I earned both my undergraduate degree (Psychology) and M.S. in School Counseling at Longwood University. Go Lancers! When I am not at school, I enjoy reading, relaxing, and hanging out with my cat, Fiona. This is going to be such an amazing year!