Counseling Center

A Counselor is available at Tobey Elementary each Tuesday and Thursday from 8 AM - 4 PM and can be contacted at (269) 321-1470.

Julie Sorenson is the Elementary School Counselor at Indian Lake Elementary and Tobey Elementary. She will provide services to students at Indian Lake on Monday, Wednesday’s and Fridays. On Tuesday’s and Thursday’s, she will be at Tobey.

Julie has been in education for 14 years. She began her teaching career as an intern at Sunset Lake Elementary School. She graduated with a BA of Science from Western Michigan University specializing in Elementary Education and Early Childhood. After teaching for a few years at various grade levels she received an  MA in Educational Counseling/School Counseling from Western Michigan University. Julie has worked as a screener at Borgess Hospital, an outpatient therapist in an alternative high school setting, a therapist in a private practice setting, a behavior interventionist, and a school counselor. She has taken classes toward her DMFT (Doctorate of Marriage and Family Therapy) through Northcentral University.  

In addition to her counseling experience, Julie is also is an on-call consultant for critical incidences within Calhoun and Branch counties. She has had extensive training in suicide awareness and prevention, grief, and trauma. She has been trained in CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). and completed her counseling internship at Mattawan Consolidated Schools.

Julie is currently the school counselor here at Indian Lake and she is typically here 3 days a week. With the other two days a week Julie is at Tobey Elementary. She loves being an elementary school counselor! Julie provides in-class counseling lessons for all students at both Indian Lake and Tobey Elementary. She also holds small groups ranging. Some of the small groups that she currently offers are friendships, self- esteem, anger, organizational skills, and different types of families. Julie also works with kids one on one. She helps each child to find their own level of personal success. Additionally, Julie works with families to determine each child's individual needs.  

Julie and her family reside in Portage. She has three children and has hosted a foreign exchange student from Spain, and a hockey player from Alaska. Her hobbies are being with her family, kayaking, fishing,  traveling and using her creativity to refinish furniture (turning something old into something beautiful).

Julie loves to help make a difference and a positive impact on children’s lives. If you have any questions you can reach her at 269-321-1470 or jsorenson@vicksburgschools.org.  The teachers and staff are here to support our children in any way they can. Cherie hopes that she will be able to do the same for you. A Counselor is available at Indian Lake Elementary three days a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8 AM - 4 PM and Tobey two days a week from 8 AM - 4 PM. Julie looks forward to working with your child.

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

Ms. Sorenson will run support groups on various topics from year to year. If there is a need for your child to participate in a support group please contact Ms. Sorenson and let her know of this need. Support groups will meet one day a week during the school day for about six sessions. Each session will be between 30-60 minutes in length. Students must have parent permission in order to participate in a support group.

Here are some examples of support groups that might be run in the elementary school:

Divorce Support Group called “Banana Splits”: This support group is for families who are divorced or separated. We will cover topics like having two homes, living with one parent, separation and remarriage, blended families, feelings about the divorce, support people in our lives, etc.

Support Group for students with A.D.D. or A.D.H.D. called “All Stars”: This group is for students who are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. We will cover topics like what is A.D.D., organization techniques, focus issues and what to do, impulse control, etc.

Friendship Groups: Friendship groups are typically formed when a teacher or a parent see a need for a student who is struggling to make friends. Students in this group can be positive role models with friendship making skills, as well as students who struggle with these skills. We will cover topics like how to make friends, how to keep friends, what to do when you have a conflict with a friend, etc.

Grief Groups: Grief groups are also formed when students are struggling with losing a loved one. These groups will be formed on an as needed basis when there are several students with similar issues. This group will cover talking about the missing loved one, stages of grief and help and healing, etc. Journeys is also a free support for families who may be grieving a lost one.

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