Thursday, October 3, 2019

Mindfulness is coming to Chattahoochee!

Woman walking outdoors

The Counseling Department is starting a series of Mindfulness workshops that will be happening once a month for the rest of the school year.

According to, mindfulness is “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”

Harvard Health Article states that the benefits of mindfulness are as follows:
  •           Improved overall well-being
  •           Improved physical health
  •          Improved mental health
We hope to create a platform for students to practice and experience these benefits.

Our first workshop will take place on Tuesday, October 8th during Chatt Time. We will be making mindfulness glitter jars. When using the mindfulness jar, the swirling glitter represents our thoughts and emotions. As the glitter settles and we sit still, our breath and our thoughts settle as well. 

Please also check out the video below for a quick and informative video on teenagers and mindfulness:

Our next Mindfulness workshop will be in partnership with Chattahoochee High School Yoga Club! Stay tuned for more details. 

Monday, September 23, 2019

Crisis Resources

Upcoming Activities:
Thursday, September 26th from 6:30 - 7:30pm in the Media Center
"How to Talk to Your Child About Suicide" sponsored by Summit Counseling Center.  

Friday, October 4th at 10am in the Media Center
Student Leader Workshop at Hooch: Lead with Grit & Empathy, sponsored by LRJ Foundation, a local non-profit suicide prevention organization.

As part of Suicide Awareness & Prevention Month, we encourage you to seek out resources if you are in need.  Do not wait to get help.  Suicide is preventable!  There are so many excellent community resources to take advantage of if you ever find yourself in the midst of a crisis.  We wanted to make sure you had all the information at your fingertips.  First and foremost, your school counselor and school social worker are available to talk through any major concerns.  However, the counseling office is not available for emergencies after hours.  If you run into any issues before or after school, please make sure you utilize one of the resources below.  We want you to get the help you need at the very moment you need it.

In case of Emergencies:
If you are experiencing an emergency, please seek immediate assistance and/or call 911.

Immediate Mental Health Resources
The following facilities provide 24-hour assistance and have shared with the Fulton County District that they will complete emergency assessments at no cost. If your child already receives support from a mental health provider, you may wish to make contact with that professional first. You may also want to check with your insurance company regarding mental/behavioral health coverage. Please note that the District does not endorse any provider, makes no representations as to the effectiveness of these providers, and makes this information available only as a helpful resource.

North Fulton
South Fulton
Wellstar North Fulton Hospital Emergency Room
3000 Hospital Boulevard
Roswell, GA 30076

Anchor Hospital
5454 Yorktown Drive
College Park, GA 30349
770-991-6044 or 770-991-6045
Peachford Psychiatric Hospital
2151 Peachford Road
Atlanta, GA 30338
770-454-2302 or 770-455-3200

Grady Hospital Psychiatric Emergency Clinic
80 Jesse Hill, Jr. Drive
Atlanta, GA 30303
Ridgeview Institute
3995 South Cobb Drive, SE
Smyrna, GA 30080
1-844-350-8800 or 770- 434-4567

RiverWoods Behavioral Health
223 Medical Center Drive, Riverdale, GA 30274
Lakeview Behavioral Health
1 Technology Parkway South
Norcross, GA 30092

Suicide Prevention Hotlines
Georgia Crisis & Access Line (also available as an app called "My GCAL" on your Apple/Android smartphone).  
75 Piedmont Avenue, NE., Ste 256, Atlanta, GA

Chattahoochee High School 
Text 4 Help Line
Anonymous 24/7 Help Line
Text COUGARS to 1-844-201-9946

International Association for Suicide Prevention
1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

National Alliance on Mental Illness

US Trans LifeLine (10am – 4am Eastern Time)

The Trevor Project: Trevor Lifeline
Fulton County Department of Mental Health
Emergency Mental Health Services Hotline

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

National Suicide Prevention Week: Warning Signs & Risk Factors

Guest blogger: Katie Beals, The Summit Counseling Center

As September is National Suicide Prevention month, it’s important to take some time to touch on this difficult topic. A big part of this is learning to be intentional about noticing things in your children and feeling comfortable having conversations with them about these things. I know that it often feels difficult or uncomfortable to do this, but talking and creating an open environment really is the most important thing you can do to keep your child safe.

Before we launch into what some of the warning signs of suicide are, it’s crucial to take some time to explain that no one thing leads to someone wanting to take their own life. It is usually many things at once that have added up to make someone consider suicide. I say this to reduce any guilt that might be felt by reading these. It is also true that many are very good at covering up symptoms or emotions and that can also make it very difficult to notice.

Some warning signs to pay attention to are a change in appearance or affect. This means that if your child or someone else usually gets up in the morning and showers and puts makeup on and all of a sudden they stop doing that for a significant period, that would be the time to check in on how they are feeling. In the same vein, if your child usually has a happy/joyful demeanor and lately they have seemed “down,” a conversation should take place. If your child has started to lose interest in something they used to love (ex. a sport, hobby,  etc), it’s time to check in. If your child seems tearful or hopeless or reports feeling “like a burden,” pay attention. If your child is sleeping significantly more or less than normal, ask them about it. Basically we are looking for significant changes in patterns of behavior. The goal here, again, is just to have some conversation starters and to let your child know that you are paying attention and that you care.

The following are some risk factors associated with suicide: a mental health diagnosis, family history of mental health issues, a significant life event (a death of a loved one, parental divorce, a breakup), exposure to suicide by a family member, friend, or someone in the community, bullying, a history of abuse, and access to lethal means. This is another reminder that no one thing leads to suicide. If any of these are involved in your child’s life, it may have had an effect on them and a conversation could be really helpful.

Now that we have helpful information about how to know if your child is at risk for suicidal ideation, we can dive into how to support your child through middle school. First, to stay on message, conversations and open relationships are everything when it comes to this. If you are intentional about checking in, asking open ended questions, and making sure your child knows you are there if they need to talk, you are doing a phenomenal job. I’ll add to that though that teaching your child coping skills is also extremely helpful. Some of these coping skills might include: planning ahead, taking a break, reading a book, taking a bath, listening to music, calling a friend, doing some deep breathing, journaling, etc. The more you can model these healthy coping skills to them, the better they will be at incorporating them in their own lives.

To sum this up,
Notice changes in patterns of behavior
Acknowledge them to your child
Attempt to have a conversation about it
Model/teach coping skills as early as possible
Tell your child that you care about them

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Suicide Awareness Month

September is Suicide Awareness & Prevention Month.  

Chattahoochee High School recognizes the importance that mental health plays in lives of our students.  We want students to know that they matter!  During the month of September the Counseling Office is promoting activities that provide students and parents with the skills and resources they need to break the culture of silence and encourage "help-seeking" behaviors.  The awareness generated this month has the potential to have an enormous impact in our school community, even the chance to save a life.

We are doing this through several ways.  A calendar of events is below, which includes fundraising efforts, resource distribution, and educational workshops for students and parents.  We will also be publishing a series of blogs that discuss Suicide Warning Signs and community resources that are designed to assist students in crisis. This is a topic that is often difficult to discuss, but we want to shine a light on ways to prevent suicide in our community. 

Quick Fact: Suicide is one of the leading causes of PREVENTABLE deaths and that FOUR out of FIVE teens who attempt suicide give clear warning signs. This means that 80% of the time, we have the opportunity to intervene and possibly save a young person who is at-risk.

Please follow us on Twitter @HoochCounselors as we will be posting facts and resources regarding suicide prevention.   

Monday, February 4, 2019

Course Verification Information 19-20

Revised & Updated from 2018

It is that time of year again where you have now received your course recommendations for the upcoming school year.  The counseling team fully believes that you should analyze how this year has gone for you and determine how to achieve a better balance in the future.  Now more than ever, you need to consider your options and what you can realistically handle in the coming school year.  It is quite important to take into consideration your responsibilities for each course.  It is equally important to make sure you are maintaining a healthy balance in your life and factoring in down-time as a part of your day.  Academics are just one piece.  

Recently, there was an article published (Children Need Balance Article) advising parents to help their children balance their lives.  They need guidance in this area.  We are seeing far too many students who are stressed, angry, overwhelmed, and feeling anxious.  Students need help making appropriate course choices for the upcoming year.  What is right for one student may not be right for another.  With that said, now is the time to begin discussing what next year might look like.

The counseling office has one document that outlines the process for all courses that might require an application such as Yearbook, Newspaper, Work Based Learning, Peer Leadership, Online Classes, Dual Enrollment, etc.  There are many classes a student can take but they first must be approved.  There is a process for all of them.  You can find that information here:Application Courses & Processes 19-20.  They are each listed alphabetically.  We encourage you to make sure you have followed the steps.

Students interested in online courses must complete all steps of the process no later than March 15th.  Fulton Virtual School and Georgia Virtual's registration portals do not open up for registrations for the 19-20 school year until March 1.  Contracts are are available on March 1st in the counseling office. See flow chart for complete details.  Flowchart 19-20  All students who plan to take an online class must do 3 things: submit an online contract to the counseling office, complete the online Google Form in the counseling office, and register for the course through the proper portal (FVS or GAVS).  If  you do not do these things by the March 15th deadline, you will not be approved for online classes for the next school year.

Dual Enrollment
 is equally as strict with their processes.  It is lengthy, but worth it.  The deadline is March 30th to apply to the college as well as submit the Fulton County Schools DE Contract.  We have moved to a process on Google Classroom.  All information and power point can be found on the CHS Dual Enrollment Website. want free college??  Gotta jump through a lot of hoops!  You can do it!

Please note that on the course verification sheet, you cannot just scratch out a course and add a course that requires approval (see list of application courses above).  Once the application/process has been approved then the course gets added at a later date.  In the meantime, students should choose an elective from the back of their verification sheet, including some alternates in case a course becomes full or does not work logistically with their schedule.  

Students wishing to take a summer school course to satisfy a graduation requirement: please note that course will not be removed from your verification until we receive your passing Summer course grade.  Counselors are back early enough in the summer to make changes at that time.  What you can do is write notes on your verification form giving us insight as to what you would want to take out of your schedule once you complete the summer course.  Example:  US History (graduation requirement) is being taken over the summer in order to make room for AP European History.  US History will stay on your verification for now, but AP European will be listed as its alternate.  Then when we receive your passing grade for US History in the summer, we will replace it with AP European History.  We will not remove a graduation requirement to accommodate an elective.   We love you, but we want you to graduate on time.  

Summer school registration will begin on March 1st.  No paperwork in the counseling office is required to take summer classes. 

We appreciate the questions. Here are upcoming scheduling help sessions (below).

STUDENT WALK IN DATES: We are available for STUDENTS to drop in for quick advising on the remaining dates:  February 6, March 6, and March 13 in G125 during all lunch periods.  No pass is needed to come to G125 for assistance.  Bring your verification form with you when you come.

PARENT WALK IN DATES:  We are available for PARENTS to drop in for quick advising on these dates:  February 7 and March 13 in the Media Center between 5 - 7pm.  Again, bring your child's verification form with you.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Financial Aid Night!!

We hope you can come to the Financial Aid Night which is hosted by the Counseling Office on Monday, October 1, 2018 at 6:30pm in the Auditorium. A representative from the Georgia Student Finance Commission will be on hand to explain the FAFSA, HOPE, HOPE Grant, and Zell Miller Scholarship.  She will also be able to answer any questions you might have about the process for obtaining aid.

Here is what will be discussed that night:
Georgia Student Finance Commission Presentation - GSFC Presentation

This powerpoint is additional information pertaining to scholarships and the CSS profile:
Dream Big Powerpoint - CHS Financial Aid Night Power Point

We look forward to seeing you then! 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Requesting Counselor Recommendations

It's the time of year again when you are needing to start the process of applying to college.  The counseling team hosted a senior parent night on August 30.  We will host students for an information session on September 6 during the beginning of all lunch periods.  It is important that you attend a session to get the steps for you to work through this process with ease.  In the event you cannot make it on Thursday, here is a link to the presentation: Senior Information Presentation

Also, if you have not yet joined the Counselor Remind App - you should do so.  We send out quick announcements occasionally and we know you want to be in the loop.  Here is the link for that:  Class of 2019 - Join Remind

We have changed the process to request a counselor recommendation.  We have attempted to streamline this process and hopefully make it easy for you to do from home, rather than having to come into our office for each step.  Counselors are using Google Classroom for information purposes.  You must join YOUR counselor's Google Classroom link, not any other counselor or it will be declined.

**  Teacher recommendations are requested directly from the teacher.  The process to obtain a teacher recommendation does not go through the counseling office.

Keep in mind MANY colleges do not need a counselor recommendation.  This process only applies to students who DO need a counselor recommendation or school report completed.  If your college does not ask for one, then you do not need to follow this process.  However, if you do need a counselor recommendation or a school report here are the steps to request one.

Step 1:
Go to your FCS Launchpad account.  FCS Launchpad Site

Step 2: 
Click on the Google Classroom icon.

Step 3:
Click "Join Class" at the top right.

Step 4:
It will ask for your class code.  This is where you make sure you are joining YOUR counselor's "classroom".   You must go through your Launchpad account using your Fulton County email.

Mrs. Chilson - Last Names (A - Deo) - 9ydwhy2
Mrs. Johnson - Last Names (Der - Hei) - tyt7exh
Ms. Vemuri - Last Names (Hen - McD) - bmzt5uo
Ms. Blount - Last Names (McG - Sa) - zewqr6
Mrs. Jones - Last Names (Sc - Z) - nfgdcz4

Step 5:
Once you are logged into your counselor's Google Classroom, it will detail steps to upload a student profile, complete a Google Doc Form for requesting recommendations, and explain the process for requesting a transcript.  If the student profile is not complete, we cannot write your recommendation.  Make sure you follow through on all the steps provided.

Step 6:
Make sure you entered your counselor's email address into the application.  This is how the counselor gets the link to submit your recommendation.  We do not get links from students, it comes from the organization directly.  We fill it out and submit electronically.  Google Classroom describes how to handle the paper copy recommendations.

Lastly, all counselors require 10 school days to submit recommendations.  Please adhere to those deadlines.  Here are some of the important dates, this is not an exhaustive list of college deadlines - only some of the more popular deadlines:

•October 15th deadline – students must submit requests no later than September 27th
•November 1st deadline – students must submit requests no later than October 18th
•December 1st deadline – students must submit requests no later than November 9th
•January 1st deadline – students must submit requests no later than December 7th

Keep positive thoughts as you go through this process.  You have done the hard work, all you can do at this point is follow through on your plan, including having a back up option.