Counseling Newsletter


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"Everyday and On-Time Attendance,

Equals Academic Success"


Chronic Absenteeism (missing more than 10% of days enrolled for any reason) is the single strongest predictor of dropping out before graduation.

Students who drop out are more likely to be poor, unemployed, have substance abuse problems, be teen parents and be involved with the law.

Students who miss a month or more of kindergarten are more likely to perform poorly in 1st grade, particularly in reading.

By 6th grade, a pattern of chronic absence is a predictor of high school dropout rates.

Research shows that a student's success in 9th grade is directly linked to the likelihood the student will successfully graduate high school with a diploma by 12th grade.

(Statistics courtesy of The Children's Initiative


  • Let your child know that you think school is important.
  • Make sure your child goes to school regularly and on time.
  • Take an interest in your child's school work.
  • Set a regular bedtime schedule. Age should not be a factor.
  • Provide your child with plenty of time to get ready for school.
  • Provide regular times and a quiet, clean area for doing homework.
  • If your child starts to miss school, speak to the school and let your child know that he/she must attend.
  • Have regular communication with the school.
  • If your child is ill, contact the school and explain the reason for the absence.
  • Don't expect your older children to stay home and act as babysitters for younger children.
  • Set good examples and enforce rules.
  • Include regular exercise and a balanced diet in your child's daily activities.
  • Post the school calendar and notes on the refrigerator, or another prominent location.
  • Limit and balance extracurricular activities.
  • Keep open communication lines with your child.


Talking to your child, regarding the importance of attendance, is another support of being responsible. Our motto at NHE: "Daily and on-time attendance, equals academic success."

More on Daily Attendance: Children who miss school miss out on opportunities to learn, build lasting friendships, and develop the skills and attitudes needed to become good citizens and valued employees. There is a clear connection between student attendance and student performance in school. Data shows that higher attendance equals higher achievement for all students.

Thank you for your support,

Mrs. Florence Alabanza-de la Cruz, M.Ed

NHE School Counselor

Am I Ready To Learn?

Strategies To Get To School On Time & Be Responsible:

The night before...

  • Finish all homework
  • Put my work in my backpack and in a place ready to go (by the door).Shower or Bathe so I don't have to in the morning
  • Get clothes ready for the next day
  • Make lunch if I don't get a school lunch
  • Set my alarm clock
  • Get a good night sleep

The morning of school...

  • Get up right when the alarm goes off or when parent/guardian comes to wake me up.
  • Get dressed right away.
  • Clean up and brush teeth without reminders from family.
  • Eat my breakfast quickly.
  • Remind others we need to BE ON TIME!
  • Help others who need it!
  • Don't forget my backpack and homework.
  • Leave enough time to drive or walk and participate in the NHE Walking Club 8:50-9:00am
  • Be at Line Up before 9:05am
  • Late Bell rings at 9:10 am



Daily and On-Time Attendance = Academic Success


Mrs. Florence Alabanza-de la Cruz, School   Counselor Comprehensive Guidance Counseling Program

Helpful Tips

Below are numerous topics that may be of concern as your child goes through the elementary years. You will find strategies and articles about each of the topics. As always, please feel free to contact, Mrs. Alabanza-de la Cruz, if you have any questions or concerns regarding your child. Email me at [email protected] or call/leave a message at 619-584-6000 or google voice 858-413-7593.

There are many ways parents can help a child exhibiting symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder such as

Providing consistency by following predictable routines for getting ready for school, homework, play, bedtime, etc.

Model and practice appropriate organizational skills and help your child maintain their organizational systems

Help your child use large monthly calendars for planning after-school activities and when tests and assignments occur

Use timers as a visual reminder for your child when they need to complete a task

Give specific, concise directions to your child in positive ways (phrase directions as what do you want to happen rather than what you don't want to happen)

Help practice problem solving skills with your child

Give your child a chance to practice using appropriate social skills

Help your child make healthy food choices

Use encouragement and positive reinforcement

Anger Management
Learning to manage anger is an important life skill that needs to be taught to and practiced by all students. Discussing and modeling appropriate ways you as parents handle anger is a great way to help kids managing their own anger. There are many ways you can practice managing anger with your child, including

Take a break (moving away from what makes you angry)

Do a physical activity (shoot hoops, do jumping jacks, or run the track)

Take deep breaths

Count to 10

Squish Play-Doh

Color your feelings

Write your feelings in a journal entry, story, or poem

Read a quiet book to yourself (When Sophie Gets Angry is a good one!)

Positive self-talk (I can control my anger...)

It is normal for every person to have some amount of anxiety from time to time, but when anxiety begins affecting your child's school and home functioning, there are many things you can do to help your child in addition to possibly consulting a mental health professional.

Listen to your child's worries and fears and remind them that they are not alone and that other kids have worries too

Help children address their concerns and if they are not realistic, help them see the truth

Help your child gradually ease into new situations that may cause anxiety and provide encouragement when they are in these situations

Practice relaxing including deep breathing, counting to 10, visualizations (taking a pretend field trip to the relaxing beach or a peaceful meadow), and listening to calming music

Encourage structured play dates or extracurricular activities if your child has an anxious temperament

Promote your child's independence and build on their strengths

Bullying Prevention
We work hard to prevent bullying at our school but we also want our students to be prepared and know what to do if bullying occurs. At our school we teach Stop, Walk, and Talk, a strategy where students learn how to handle bullying behaviors.

STOP: First, students are taught and role play how to appropriately and assertively request another person to stop bothersome or hurtful behavior.

WALK: If this does not work, we train on how students can remove themselves from the situation.

TALK: If this does not work, the last step is to talk to an adult. We take this very seriously and want all of our children to feel listened to and safe at school.

The curriculum can be found at Parents can help by reinforcing Stop, Walk, and Talk by discussing the strategy and practicing it at home as well as listening to your child's concerns about possibly bullying behaviors and sharing your concerns with your child's teachers.
College and Career

Even though your child is still in elementary school, it's never too early to start talking about college and career! There are many ways parents can help children create a college-going culture!

Talk about your education and career

Discuss a variety of other careers so your child knows there are many options out there

Talk about your child's college and career goals

Introduce your child to colleges and after high-school training programs by visiting websites together

Encourage your child to do the best they can now in order to prepare for the future and develop his or her strengths

Conflict Resolution
Conflicts are a part of our lives every single day and because of this, we want our students to develop conflict resolution skills to help in these situations. There are many choices your child can make when in conflict in order to gain a win-win solution. You can help your child role play and decide when to use the following choices when in conflict:

Talk it out (use an inside voice)

Say "Please stop"

Walk away and stay away

Ignore...don't react

Cool off (count to 10, take deep breaths)

Say "I'm sorry"

Share or take turns

Use an I-message (I feel ____ when ____ and I need ____.)

Have a Peer Mediation

Developing Self-Esteem
Every parent wants a happy, healthy child with a strong sense of self-esteem and self-confidence. Here are some ways parents can support and grow their child's self-esteem:

Choose your words carefully and make sure to provide encouragement for your child

Model positive self-esteem and positive self-talk

Create a positive home environment where students feel safe and loved

Allow your child to become involved in cooperative activities such as volunteering for the good of others in order to feel good about themselves

Help your child give others compliments and make others feel good in order to trigger positive feelings amongst themselves

Because lots of things will be changing in your child's life, try to keep things as consistent as possible for your child; routines = stability = safety

Listen to your child's feelings and make sure they know it's okay to share their feelings

Refrain from speaking negatively about the other parent in front of your child

Allow kids to only have to worry about "kid worries"

When kids ask questions, tell the truth in age appropriate ways

Make sure your child is not the "middle man"

Remind your child that he or she is very loved and never has to choose one parent over the other

Grief and Loss

Resource for parents for helping children cope with grief and loss
Losing a loved one can be extremely hard for individuals of any age. Below are a few ways you as parents can support your children through this difficult time

Understand that children cope with death differently and may have a range of reactions (including emotional shock, regression, acting out and explosive emotions, and questioning) depending on their developmental level

Answer your child's questions and help them understand what happened with truthful, developmentally appropriate responses

Allow children to grieve and tell their story, listen and validate their feelings, and show extra love and care

Understand that grief is a process and allow it to happen as the child needs

Realize that as children move into new developmental stages, they begin to understand the loss in a new way and may need extra support

Be aware of your own need to grieve as a parent; adults who get help working through their grief are much more able to help their child through the grieving process

Homework Hints
To help ensure your child finds success with homework, there are many things you can do to help! In addition to modeling getting your own work done in a timely fashion and modeling organization, you can help children in many other ways such as

Allow your child to re-energize themselves after school by taking a break, having a snack, or playing a game before beginning homework

Create a routine for homework each night using the same time and place each day

Encourage children to use planners to stay organized with assignments

Have a set place for homework like a big desk with all necessary materials available such as pencils, paper, books, and calculators; make sure the area is free of distractions

Sometimes a break may help with concentration during homework time

Internet Safety/Cyber-bullying

There are many ways you can help keep your child safe when using the internet, including

Discuss internet safety with your child

Monitor your child's internet activity by making sure they use a computer that is in a common area such as a family room rather than a child's bedroom

Remind your child to never share personal information (name, address, phone number, school, etc.) with anyone on the internet and never to agree to meet anyone on the internet

Do not allow your child to enter private chat rooms

Making Friends
Every parent wants their child to have friends, and if this is an area your child needs help with, there are many things you can do to help, including

Give your child many chances for socialization, including joining an after school club or an extra-curricular activity

Schedule play dates with friends from the neighborhood or friends from school

Role play meeting a new child with your child, greeting each other in a friendly way and making conversation

Practice partaking in conversation with your child and other social skills

Model for your child how to be a good friend and make a friend

School Transitions

Transitions into elementary school or middle school can cause worries for children. There are many ways a parent can help during these transitional times by

Listening and validating your child's feelings about the change

Let your children know you care about them with extra hugs/nice notes and support

Visit your child's school together

Help your child feel prepared in every way s/he can (school supplies, school clothes, healthy breakfast, etc.)

Explain the rules/procedures of school and how things will work and role play going to school and what things may be like

Allow your child to possibly sign-up for an extra-curricular activity in order to make friends and feel like s/he belongs

Stress Management
Just like adults, difficult, anxiety provoking situations can add stress to a child's life. There are many ways you can help your child cope with stressful situations, including

Practice visualizations (take a pretend field trip to the relaxing beach or a peaceful meadow)

Listen to calming music

Get lots of rest

Eat healthy foods

Drink plenty of water

Use positive self-talk (I can...)

Think positive thoughts

Focus on something good that happened that day


Mrs. Florence Alabanza-de la Cruz, School   Counselor Comprehensive Guidance Counseling Program



Mrs. Florence Alabanza-de la Cruz, School   Counselor Comprehensive Guidance Counseling Program

"The Great Kindness Challenge" and National School Counseling Week

What? The Great KindnessChallenge is a proactive and positively powerful anti-bullying tool. The GreatKindness Challenge-School Edition is one week devoted to performing as manyacts of kindness as possible on campus. Using the checklist on the back,students take the challenge and prove that bullying is weak and kindness isstrength.

Why? Our NHE studentsdeserve to learn in a safe, supportive and dynamic environment. The GreatKindness Challenge provides a powerful way to engage our students, theirfamilies and our whole NHE staff family and community in creating a schoolculture of acceptance, tolerance, unity and respect. Simply put, we believethat KINDNESS is strength and has the power to change the world for GOOD!

Monday - Dream of Kindness. Wear your pajamas!
Tuesday - Crazy for Kindness. Crazy hair day!
Wednesday - Our Super Strength is Kindness Dress like your favorite super hero!ss.
Thursday - Team Kindness. Wear sports apparel.
Friday - Kindness Rocks! Dress like you're from the 80s!


Mrs. Florence Alabanza-de la Cruz, School   Counselor Comprehensive Guidance Counseling Program

Justice and Fairness

Our students will be focusing on the character traits of Justice and Fairness. Here is some helpful information and conversation openers that you can have with your child in support of us being a Character Counts! school.

What is justice?

  1. Treating everyone fairly and under established rules and laws. (Ask your child what are our school rules and what are their classroom rules.)

What is fairness?

  1. Treating all people with honesty and respect.
  2. Giving everyhone equal opporutnities to succeed.
  3. Cooperating with one another.
  4. Celebrating the uniqueness and value of everyone.
  5. Making sure others are not treated badly.

Why are Justice and Fairness important?

  1. To make sure that everyone has the chance to succeed.
  2. To make our home, school, community and workd a better place for all people.

Who are some people that have fought for justice and fairness for others?

  1. Martin Luther King Jr.
  2. Rosa Parks
  3. Abraham Lincoln
  4. Susan B. Anthony

Thank you for visiting my Counseling Newsletter. Please feel free to email ([email protected] )me if there are any topics that you would like to view in the newsletter or in our Counselor's Corner.

Thank you for your support,

Florence Alabanza-de la Cruz, M.Ed
School Counselor



Character is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.

"Providing educational opportunities which enable all students to achieve their highest potential."


Mrs. Florence Alabanza-de la Cruz, School   Counselor Comprehensive Guidance Counseling Program

Teach Respect by Daily Examples
Firm, Fair & Consistent

You want your child to show respect for you, his/her teachers and people in general. Most importantly, to respect the rules and theirs/others belongings. Teaching respect is a big job. But thankfully, research shows a specific method to use.

Childeren learn respect when they are treated with respect. So, make these simple efforts a daily habit:

  • Communication with respect. Listen attentively to your child. Don't interrupt. Make sure you understand what he or she is saying. Focus on the positive.
  • Practice solving problems calmly. Use "I statements" ("I feel ignored when you don't answer me") instead of hurtful accusations ("You always ignore me!".
  • Take responsibility. When you make an agreement with your child, stick to it and expect him or her to do the same. If something goes wrong, the person responsible should make amends and learn from the experience.
  • Care for belongings. Cleaning up is away of showing respect for things around the house. Talk about this with your child. What if so and so, did not pitch in? What steps, such as organizing toys, could make the job easier?
  • Be encouraging. Support your child's interest and strengths. Talk about values, including those of your family passed down for generations. How can he or she show this? Strong character should be a source of pride.

Let your youngster face consequences

Show your child that his/her actions have consequences! If she/he doesn't pick up her/his schoolwork up off the floor, let her/him experience:

  • A natural consequence. The dog runs past and wrinkles her papers. That's a natural consequence.
  • A logical consequence. If you spend time picking up her things, she owes you time tidying other parts of the house. That's a logical consequence.

Thank you for your support,

Mrs. Florence Alabanza-de la Cruz, M.Ed
NHE School Counselor


Mrs. Florence Alabanza-de la Cruz, School   Counselor Comprehensive Guidance Counseling Program

This Holiday Season (and every other day) there are some things that you can do for your child that may mean more than "things" and guess what...they are FREE!!!

Nine Gifts You Can Give Your Child- For FREE

  1. Talk less, listen more.
    Spend 90% of the conversation with your child listening and 10% talking.
  2. Don't sweat the small stuff.
  3. FOLLOW THROUGH when it comes to discipline.
    Think before you say it, but once it is said, no matter how hard it is, you must stick to it. If the
    punishment is dropped, they learn nothing. Be careful with the punishments, however. If you get angry and take away
    your child's participation in a baseball game, you have put yourself in a bad position. Not only do you have to stick to
    what you said, but you are now punishing the entire team, which depends on each player.
  4. Label the behavior, not the child.
    Never call a child a bad boy or bad girl. There a are no bad children only bad behaviors/choices.
  5. Give hugs and kisses often.
    Show affection for your children, no matter what their age, in a way that is meaningful to them.
  6. Be a parent, not a friend.
  7. Be an advocate for your children.
    Be a part of their educational experience. Be the voice for them when no one else seems to be listening
  8. Establish expectations.
    While I praise my children for good academic achievements, I will not give them rewards (too often). I tell them that
    I expect them to do their best and bring home work that reflects their efforts.
  9. Teach kids about money and investing.
    To teach my children about real-world choices, my children put money into two bank accounts, one for spending and one
    for saving.

Top Skills and Qualities Employers Seek in College Grads

Top Skills/Qualities Employers Look For:

  1. Ability to work in a team
  2. Leadership
  3. Communication skills (written)
  4. Problem-solving
  5. Strong work ethic
  6. Analytical/quantitative skill
  7. Communication skills (verbal)
  8. Inititative
  9. Technical skills
  10. Detail-oriented
  11. Flexibility/adaptability
  12. Computer skills
  13. Interpersonal skills
  14. Organizational ability
  15. Strategic planning skill
  16. Friendly/outgoing personality
  17. Creativity
  18. Entrepereneurial skills/risk-taker
  19. Tactfulness

Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) 2012

Character Connection

December's Super Power: Responsibility

"You can count on me!" We've all said it - and we meant it at the time. But have we always carried through?

Responsibility means:

  • Doing what you are supposed to do
  • Persevering; keep on trying
  • Doing your best
  • Using self-control
  • Being self-disciplined
  • Thinking before you act and considering the consequences.

Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers

Modeling responsible behavior is one of the best things you can do. If your children see you being responsible, they will want to act responsibly too. Once infants start on table food, give them the opportunity to feed themselves. Yes, it will be messy, but they will learn the satisfaction of trying.

Toddlers enjoy completing small tasks you give them like picking up toys, find their shoes, choosing between two stories to read. Give your toddler the chance to choose what to wear. This also teaches him that his opinion counts. These activities help your toddler feel confident, and they also learn to be responsible.

Your preschooler wants to help. Give him jobs at which they can succeed; it will make him feel that he is contributing and he will also learn about being responsible.

Seed Planting Activity

Help your child select flower or vegetable seeds. Using a Styrofoam cup or small pot filled with soil, help him plant the seeds. Explain that it is his responsibility to remind you every day that the plant needs water and light. Have him help you water the plant and place it somewhere that it gets adequate light.

School-age, Middle School and Teens

As you can see from the list of traits, responsibility is an important aspect of character. Help your child understand that being responsible means choosing his words and actions carefully. It also means he is responsible for his actions and must take responsibility for the consequences of his choices.

Choosing either a positive or negative attitude is also a responsibility. Help your teen understand that a negative attitude can be harmful and people don't like to be around others with a bad attitude. Viktor Frankl, survivor of a Nazi concentration camp during World War II, once said, "Everything can be taken from man except the last of the human freedoms, his ability to choose his attitude in any given set of circumstances..." Encourage your child to have a positive attitude. You may be viewed as the enemy but be persistent - solicit help from another adult that your teen admires.

Here are some suggested messages to stimulate a change in attitude:

  1. Attitudes are products of feelings and always acting on feelings is unhealthy and unwise.
    A person of character takes time to make good decisions.
  2. While initial emotional responses (anger, sadness, etc.) occur spontaneously, with reflection and willpower it is possible to change one's perspective.
  3. How we react to an incident is determined by how we perceive facts and intentions. Our perceptions can often be based on erroneous assumptions produced by negative attitudes.
  4. Accept what you cannot change.
  5. Selfishness is self-destructive.
  6. Bad things do happen, but the happiest and most successful people in life learn to put tragedies, failures, and hurt feelings behind them.

Practicing Responsibility

Taking responsibility is a way to show we are people of character. It means doing our part, controlling our thoughts and actions, and doing our best. When we are acting responsibly we take the blame when it is due and do not claim credit for other people's work. We accept responsibility for our decisions. Being responsible means we:

  • Think before we act.
  • Think about how our actions affect others.
  • Think before we speak.
  • Are accountable; taking responsibility for the results of what we do and don't do.
  • Fix our mistakes.
  • Keep trying. Stick to duties even when they are difficult.
  • Are reliable and always do our job.
  • Clean up our own messes.
  • Show perseverance by demonstrating a commitment to finish what we start.

Responsibility Journals

Encourage your children to become more aware of their behavior by keeping a responsibility journal for two or three days. Suggest they record their behavior in one of three sections: being dependable, being accountable, and doing my best. After two or three days discuss the journal with them. You may also want to keep a journal for the same period of time.

Character Connection

December's Super Power: Responsibility

"You can count on me!" We've all said it - and we meant it at the time.
But have we always carried through?

Responsibility means:

  • Doing what you are supposed to do
  • Persevering; keep on trying
  • Doing your best
  • Using self-control
  • Being self-disciplined
  • Thinking before you act and considering the consequences.

December Character Corner Activity

Think of things you are responsible for at home and school!
Write them on the card, decorate it, cut it out, and return to school.

Things that I am Responsible for:Girl Classroom Plant Helper



3.Boy Classroom Trash Helper


Mrs. Alabanza-de la Cruz, School Counselor NHE Comprehensive Guidance Counseling Program

Dear NHE Family,

Fidgets have become increasingly popular in the school, especially these past few months. These small items were once only familiar to those working with an occupational therapist for a variety of conditions including attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sensory processing disorder (SPD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These tools have a long, documented, well researched history for the management of these learning differences. However, the availability and use of fidgets for all students has recently gained popularity.

There is a big challenge with this gain in popularity. With the increased popularity and availability of fidgets at stores, we are missing the very important steps of analyzing what sensory input a student needs to help him or her be successful. Without this important step, fidgets become toys instead of helpful tools.

In order to maintain success and focus in the classroom for ALL students, Normal Heights limits the use of fidgets to those students that have shown the need to use a fidget to assist with focusing and attention and can use it appropriately.

Some helpful guidelines are:

  1. Be mindful- think before you grab a fidget
  2. Only use a fidget to help you focus or calm down- otherwise it will be taken away
  3. Do not use a fidget if it distracts others- if it does, you will be asked to put it away or choose a different fidget.
  4. Put the fidget away when finished using.

Mrs. Alabanza-de la Cruz, School Counselor NHE Comprehensive Guidance Counseling Program

7 Habits of Happy Kids

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