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Counseling

The School Counselors are a resource to our BIS community and a partner in promoting student achievement and well-being. Anyone within our school community should feel free to contact them.

Students and parents in the Primary School may contact Kelli Holm or stop by Room 123A.

Students and parents in the Secondary School may contact Cristina Varriale or stop by Room A1.13.

The International Counselor supports and maximizes student learning by:

  1. Modeling the skills and attitudes of a global citizen, including: cultural sensitivity, positive attitude and empathy
  2. Creating and implementing features which support students in a culture of transition and mobility
  3. Establishing helping relationships with a community of diverse students
  4. Facilitating communication among students, parents and teachers
  5. Fostering intercultural communication within the school community
  6. Applying relevant and appropriate ethics, laws and standards of professional practice to an international school context
  7. Advocating for students and families
  8. Collating and conducting research in the field and utilizing it to continuously improve support programs

The goal of the counseling team is to provide a warm and safe environment where each person can learn to value and respect who they are, and to facilitate the interpersonal skills and strategies needed for everyday life. We want the students at BIS to know that we care about them and value their individuality.

The School Counselor performs the following roles in order to promote positive development in personal and social domains:

  • Individual counseling
  • Small group counseling
  • Classroom guidance
  • Consult and collaborate with parents, teachers, administrators and students
  • Attend and participate in academic intervention meetings, where counselor support is indicated
  • Student observation in various school environments
  • Respond to school crisis or emergency situations
  • Provide information and resources to parents on a variety of issues
  • Facilitate educational workshops for community members

Individual Counseling

Students may be referred to the counselor for individual guidance if they are having emotional or social challenges that are affecting their education and is based upon teacher, parent or self-referral. The role of the school counselor is to help that student cope with the current situation, so they will be able to be successful in the classroom.

At BIS, school counselors do not work with students one-on-one in a therapy/clinical role. Sometimes, working with an individual student can take multiple sessions, and parents will be notified for permission when more than one session is indicated. If more in-depth counseling or therapy is recommended or desired, the counselor will provide the names of suitable therapists.

Small Group Counseling

Another role is facilitating small group guidance. Students are referred by self, teachers and/or parents based on need for group support. Groups may be formed for the purpose of building social skills or based on our student population’s needs, such as changes in the home (e.g. divorce), anger-management, friendship circles, girls’ group, transition and/or to manage grief or loss. Groups are open, which means students may be referred to or join them as needed.

Classroom Guidance

The main focus of the school counseling and guidance program at the primary level is prevention. One role of the counselor is to teach age-appropriate lessons that help students develop the skills they need to help get along with others, as well as make tough decisions confronting them daily. Some of the classroom guidance lessons include: empathy, emotion management, child protection, problem solving and making good choices.  The counselor also consults with teachers and delivers responsive lessons based on issues affecting a particular class.

In the secondary school, the counseling team provides extra support to the EPD classes and tutor groups. Topics may include: sexual health and education, addiction awareness and prevention, maximizing mental health, career and university advisement, digital citizenship and risk assessment.