Ashland Middle School

Ashland, MA 01721



Welcome to the 2001-2002 academic year at Ashland Middle School.  My name is Stacy M. Rechtin and I am the school counselor for all 7th and 8th grade students. The following web page was developed in order to increase your understanding of the role of the school counselor at the middle school level, to encourage ongoing communication between the home and school, and to provide valuable information and resources that will enhance your child’s educational experience.  Please check back throughout the year, as I plan to update periodically with new web links and articles relevant to school counseling.  I look forward to meeting and working with you—Have a great year!




The middle school years are best characterized by the term “transition.”  During this time, students experience more physical and emotional changes than in any other developmental period, with the exception of infancy.  As such, school counseling programs at the middle school level aim to help students:


·       Learn more about themselves during this period of transition

·       Manage and organize information

·       Make choices and deal with change

·       Create educational plans and set goals

·       Participate in creating a positive learning environment




Individual Counseling: Assist students in establishing personal-social, educational, and occupational goals, involving parents, students, and the school.

Group Counseling: Lead small groups dealing with particular topics based upon the needs of the student body.

Consultation with Teachers: Provide information & support to teachers and provide feedback on the emerging needs of students.

Consultation with Parents/Community: Work collaboratively with families and the surrounding community to ensure access to services.

Coordination of Programs: Develop, support, or lead programming consistent with the goals of the school and in the best interest of students.

Professional Development: School counselors engage in ongoing learning opportunities in their field of expertise in order to improve their skill level.


For more information regarding the role of the school counselor visit the American School Counseling Association web site at www.schoolcounselor.org/role.htm.






Counselors often adopt a particular counseling style best suited to their professional environment and individual personality.  I have chosen solution-focused brief counseling for it addresses the briefer nature of counseling in the school setting, works well with resistant students, and is applicable to a host of student concerns.  Solution-focused counseling is a step-wise process that emphasizes student strengths, helps reinforce self-esteem, and focuses on solutions (not problems!).  Steps include:


·       Helping the student identify the issue or problem to be addressed

·       Helping the student identify the desired change or coping goals related to the problem

·       Encouraging the student to recall times when he or she has been successful in solving similar or other problems

·       Encouraging the student to identify and focus upon his or her strengths or “what worked” in that situation

·       Helping the student develop and carry out a plan of action


This is an effective counseling strategy for it focuses on what the student is already doing, which encourages feelings of self-control and does not ask the student to do something that he or she has never tried in the past.  All students have experienced success in the past and this counseling strategy encourages students to recall times when problems seemed more manageable.




I can be reached at (508) 881-0167/8 between the hours of 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM.  Email coming soon at srechtin@ashlandhs.org.  My email account should be active by mid- October.




You may set up a meeting in one of two ways:

1)     Contact Mrs. Rechtin to schedule a conference.


2)    Contact your child’s team leader directly.

Mrs. Knoff: Grade 7

Mrs. Cooper: Grade 8

Mr. Chad Kipp-McGowan: Multi-Grade


Conferences are usually scheduled during the teachers’ team period.  This period is at a different time each day.  Parents are encouraged to schedule a conference at least one week in advance.




20001-2002 Johns Hopkins Talent Search-- The Johns Hopkins University Talent Search is designed to identify, assess, and recognize students with exceptional mathematical and/or verbal reasoning abilities. Grade 7 students who scored at or above the 97th percentile on their most recent nationally normed standardized test are eligible to participate. The Talent Search can help students, parents, and schools better understand a student's reasoning abilities.  Students will also learn about educational options and opportunities for students with their abilities, and they will receive recognition for their outstanding achievements. If you are one of these students, you will receive a letter, brochure, and application from Mrs. Rechtin in September, which provides further details.  8th graders who participated during their 7th grade year will automatically receive this information in the mail.  For further information, please visit http://www.jhu.edu/gifted/ts/ts.html


7th Grade Advisory Program—As mentioned previously, the transition to middle school is filled with many personal and academic challenges.  The 7th grade teachers recognize how important this transition is to shaping the success or failure of the middle school experience.  As such, the advisory program was developed in order to create a more personalized, student-centered environment at Ashland Middle School.  7th graders will be assigned a teacher advisor on the 7th grade faculty.  Two class periods per month, he or she will meet with this advisor in a small group setting of 10-15 students.  Discussion in the advisory groups will explore such topics as communication skills, decision-making, conflict resolution, study skills, wellness issues, and peer relationships.  The teacher advisor will facilitate discussion based upon an established curriculum, however students will have the opportunity to shape both the direction and length of discussion based upon their individual needs.  The advisory program is scheduled to begin in October.




www.trasformingschoolcounseling.org/tips/asking.pdf: A “tip” for students on the best way to approach teachers to ask for help.  This is a very important task for all middle school students to master as they begin to take more responsibility for their educational futures. 


http://stats.bls.gov/ocohome.htm: Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH)

Published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this web site contains employment projections, information on popular occupations, and other career related articles.


http://www.myfuture.com/:  Good web site for middle and high school students, as well as parents.  Offers information on all types of post-secondary options: vo-tech, military, volunteer, jobs, internships, apprenticeships, and four-year colleges.


www.thinkcollegeearly.org:  Early college awareness for middle and high school students.  The web site emphasizes that the more education you have, the more career options you will have available to you.  Offers information on why to go to college, choosing a college, paying for college, and preparing early for college.




“How To Talk So Kids Can Learn” by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish—Excellent book for both parents and teachers, or anyone who works with students.  Helps you self-evaluate your comments and reactions to the students in your life.  This book provides humorous, everyday examples (cartoons as well) on ways you can help children handle problems that interfere with their learning.