Counseling Center

A Counselor is available at Sunset Lake Elementary four days per week 8am - 4pm (Tuesday - Friday)

Alyson J. Lonsway is the counselor at Sunset Lake Elementary School.

Alyson grew up in Portage and attended Portage Central throughout her entire k-12 education. Her first job in the public schools was as a teacher who ran a special education program in Paw Paw, MI. Alyson taught there for four years and then heard about a special education position opening in Vicksburg. She taught in the special education resource room at the Middle School for five years. After receiving her graduate degree in school counseling an opportunity presented itself at Vicksburg High School. Alyson became a part-time guidance counselor and part-time special education teacher. After a year at the high school, she was offered a full-time position as an elementary counselor at Sunset Lake and Tobey Elementary school. Alyson is at Sunset Lake four days a week and shares the Tobey position with Cherie Houghton one day a week.

Counseling Services

Counselors are available to meet with students on an individual basis or with a group of students who have a similar life situation they wish to address, such as: divorce, loss of a family member, self-esteem, peer pressure, depression, anxiety, etc.

Individual Counseling

  • Individual counseling is a personal choice in collaboration of parent, teacher and student.
  • Individual Counseling reflects a short-term solution focused approach. This means that the counselor seeks to work with students in order for them to resolve problems on their own.
  • Referrals for long term therapy can be made. A list of outside resources is available on this website.
  • Students may meet with the counselor on an individual basis. Students can be referred by their teacher, parent and/or themselves.
  • If a teacher refers a student the counselor asks that the teacher contacts the parent first before finalizing a referral.
  • Parents may refer a student by simply calling the counselor and asking them to meet with their child.
  • Counselors typically meet with a student on an individual basis once a week for about a half hour at a time.
  • Students may also refer themselves to meet with a counselor for a one time meeting. Teachers have tablets in their classrooms for students to use. These meetings are typically a one-time meeting and are resolved quickly. Students are encouraged to talk to their parents about these meetings.

Support Groups

Mrs. Lonsway has listened to the student's issues, as pointed out by the principal, teachers, parents and students, unique to Sunset Lake Elementary and has created the following groups (3 group limit).

Each group runs for no more than 5 sessions and will meet one time per week for 30 minutes based on their schedule.

Well-Wishers Group: Help with making more friends, understanding friendship and social skills (K-5th grade).

Banana Split Group: Support with families in divorced or separation (K-5th grade).

Reflections: Support for those students who have lost a significant person(people) in their life and/or have a significant person in their life with a life-threatening condition, cancer for example (K-5th grade).

The Lion Tamers: Assistance in better handling conflicts with adults and/or peers, to help with understanding angry feelings and expressing anger in a healthy manner (K-5th grade).

Eye on the Target Group: Help with school success skill such as: organizational/focus skills, study skills and peer interactions within a classroom setting (grades 3-5).

PDF DocumentCommunity Resources for Parents & Students

Counselors in the Classroom

In addition to working with individuals and groups, counselors in the elementary buildings reach out and teach social and emotional skills to all students. The elementary counselors at Vicksburg Community Schools teach a minimum of 6 lessons in every single classroom in the Begindergarten through the fifth grades. This allows all students to get to know the counselors as teachers and helpers in the school. Counseling staff also plan and organize other activities for the entire student body such as Red Ribbon Week a drug awareness week in October, Career Day, Caring Club, Leadership Club and other anti-bullying activities.

Classroom objectives for BK & K

  • Self-Esteem
  • Safety
  • Communication Skills
  • Anger Management Skills
  • Conflict Resolution Skills
  • Anti-Bullying Skills

First Grade

  • Self-Esteem
  • Safety
  • Communication Skills
  • Anger management skills
  • Conflict resolution skills
  • Anti bullying skills

Second Grade

  • Self-Esteem
  • Listening Skills
  • Friendship skills
  • Anger management skills
  • Conflict resolution skills
  • Anti bullying skills

Third Grade

  • Problem solving skills
  • Internet Safety
  • Conflict resolution skills
  • Multiple Intelligences
  • Career Awareness
  • Anti bullying skills

Fourth Grade

  • Self Esteem Skills
  • Career Awareness
  • Anti bullying skills
  • Cyberbullying skills
  • Anger mangement skills
  • Diversity lessons

Fifth Grade

  • Self Esteem skills
  • Anti bullying skills
  • Sexual Harassment skills
  • Cyber bullying skills
  • Friendship making skills
  • Peer Pressure skills
  • Transition to Middle School

Counselor Corner

Classroom Lessons: The elementary guidance department's guidance curriculum aligns with the American School Counselor Association National Standards. Alyson Lonsway will be presenting K-5 lessons on a monthly basis in the classrooms throughout the year.

Individual Sessions: If you feel that your child is in need of 1-on-1 counseling to help get through a situation, I do offer up to 6 six sessions per student per year. However, if the need is severe and will require more than a few sessions, I will provide your family with appropriate resources for community counseling.

School-Wide Programs: Red Ribbon Week, 2015 will be celebrated at Sunset Lake Elementary in late October. More details to come!

Warm Kids: Every year, a group of volunteers in Kalamazoo County get together and find out the surrounding school systems needs for coats and boots for the cold winter season. There will be a notice coming home in early October. Please let me know if you need assistance with these items for the upcoming winter season!

Casual For a Cause: If you have not seen the poster in the lobby yet, please stop by and take a look. Every month we will be posting a new cause that the Sunset Lake Teachers and staff will make an individual donation in exchange of dressing casually two Fridays a month. If you would like to donate for the cause as well, please stop in the office!:)

Thank-you so much!

Parenting Tip

Back to School Anxiety: Let your children know you care. If your child is anxious about school, send personal notes in the lunch box or book bag. A nice family picture or a picture of the family pet is also a soothing tool for your child to have access to. Reinforce the ability to cope. Children absorb their parent’s anxiety, so model optimism and confidence for your child. Let your child know that it is natural to be a little nervous anytime you start something new and that they are going to have a great year!:)

If the first few days are a little rough, try not to over react. Young children in particular may experience separation anxiety or shyness initially but teachers are trained to help them adjust. If you drop them off, try not to linger. Reassure them that you love them, will think of them during the day, and will be back.

Resources

Clark, L. (1996). SOS: Help for parents (2nd ed.). Berkley, CA: Parents’ Press. ISBN: 0935111204.

Dawson, M. P. (2004). Homework: A guide for parents. In A. Canter, L. Paige, M. Roth, I. Romero, & S. Carroll (Eds.), Helping children at home and school II: Handouts for families and educators. Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.

Rimm, S. (1996). Dr. Sylvia Rimm’s smart parenting: How to raise a happy, achieving child. New York: Crown. ASIN: 0517700638.

Websites
 

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Alyson Lonsway

Counselor
Phone: 269-321-1570