RAMAZ MIDDLE SCHOOL Guidance

Ramaz Middle School strives to guide and support students as they negotiate the myriad social/emotional, physical and intellectual changes characterizing the transition from childhood to adolescence. Middle School years are about increasing independence and self-advocacy. Our goal is for students to emerge from the MS as confident teenagers who embody our core value of menschlichkeit both in school and in the community. During this exciting time, students face increasing challenges - to think critically, problem solve and collaborate and also make difficult social decisions and manage stressful situations.

Grade 5 incoming students encounter a larger, more complex physical environment with a departmentalized schedule that requires independent movement and increased academic expectations. Our “moving up” tour in grade 4, thorough orientation involving 8 grade student/mentors and Advisors informing students who to go to for what, and executive skills program are just some programs designed to make the transition into Middle School as smooth as possible.

The Director of Guidance is a consistent presence in the school a familiar face, maintaining an open-door policy. Every effort is made to destigmatize involvement with the “psychologist.” The Director of Guidance attends all grade-level meetings and division-level support meetings and consults to faculty and staff in support of the student body.

Short-term individual and group counseling is provided not only to support students with “problems” but also with the goals of reinforcing positive coping skills and resilience, promoting positive peer relationships and social problem solving. Crisis prevention and intervention, anger management and identification of at risk students both academically and emotionally are also critical components of Guidance. Parent education is integrated as well, helping families understand their child's learning and mental health needs. We communicate regularly with parents and faculty about various general trends of possible concern in adolescent behavior (e.g., vaping or spending too much time online at the expense of studies) and suggest preventive strategies. Parent evenings inform about varied topics such as Internet Safety and Strategies to Help Manage Your Child’s Anxiety.

Our team approach and concerted effort to understand the “whole child” results in Guidance collaborating with the administration, teachers, advisors and Nurse to identify at risk students, manage student and classroom behavior, and interpret student and classroom data such as standardized academic achievement test scores. Interventions are developed in regular consultation with parents of course as well, and, with their permission, the outside professionals working with a student. In addition, the Director of Guidance leads or facilitates various weekly groups. For example, the “Splits” groups support children of divorced or separated parents. Individualized supports for special needs students are in integral part of our program. Read more about the Learning Center HERE.

The mission-driven Advisory program is a cornerstone of the Middle School designed to nurture students’ social/emotional growth. The Director of Guidance and Advisory Program Coordinators collaborate extensively, developing curriculum, arranging for special programs (e.g., Mindfulness and Nutrition) to and meeting with the advisors from each grade regularly. Each advisor meets three times weekly with a group of approximately ten students for a ten minute homeroom and a weekly forty-five minute advisory period with a grade specific curriculum. Read more about Advisory HERE.

Dr. Atara Berliner
Director of Student Guidance and Learning Center
5th Floor
212-774-8047
atarab@ramaz.org

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