Counselor's Corner 
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BLES Counselors

The Berkeley Lake Elementary Counseling Dept consists of 2 full-time counselors,  Ms. Griffith, 1st, 3rd & 5th grades & Ms. Marantz, K, 2nd & 4th grades.  The counselors provide classroom guidance lessons, individual counseling, and small group counseling.  They are available for parent conferences & can assist families with community resources & referrals.

Both counselors begin the year by helping new students adjust to school and visit each classroom to introduce themselves and explain their program.  The counselors teach special lessons which focus on academic performance, career awareness, and social/emotional issues throughout the school year to all classes.  The first lesson of the school year emphasizes the importance of regular and prompt school attendance. Some children will be  seen in groups for special issues and individual counseling will be available as needed throughout the year. 

Support and resources are always available to parents.  Please feel free to contact Karen Griffith (K, 2nd, 4th) at 770-582-7523 or Laura Marantz (1st, 3rd, 5th) at 770-582-7522.

How counselors make a difference for elementary school students:

Your student is supported by a team of caring adults--you, of course, plus teachers, administrators, & counselors-- working together to support your student's academic achievement and personal development.  Counselors contribute to your child's academic success by:

  • teaching skills in leadership, test-taking, decision-making, effective communication, personal safety and protection, and positive peer relationships,
  • supporting students during times of crisis,
  • guiding students in improving academic skills, setting positive goals, exercising self-responsibility, and expanding career awareness,
  • coordinating referrals and community resources for students & families, as needed.

When should you call a counselor?

  1. When your student is having difficulty learning
  2. When family changes interfere with academic progress
  3. When your child needs extra help adjusting to school
  4. When you want to arrange a meeting with several teachers or with both a teacher and a counselor
  5. When you want to discover available community resources & agencies for your student or family


Care Team: coordinated by Ms. Griffith and Mrs. Marantz, this committee made up of teachers & staff works in conjunction with PTA's Helping Hands Committee.  The Care Team provides resources for BLES families during a time of crisis/need.  

Peer Mediators:  Explanation of Peer Mediators

Safety Patrols: Explanation of safety patrols


The purpose of the DEBUG system is to give children a series of steps that they can use to solve problems when other children are “bugging” them. It helps children learn to be assertive and encourages them to be responsible for their own behavior and self-control. It also defines the adult’s role as one of helping children after they have tried to solve the problem.

The five steps of the DEBUG system are simple. The children have been taught that if someone is “bugging” them, they are to do the following:


Decide to ignore…………    if that doesn’t work, then

Exit. Move Away……………if that doesn’t work, then

Be Friendly…………………if that doesn’t work, then

Use Firm Words………….if that doesn’t work, then

   Get Adult Help…………...........................................

In the event that your child(ren) feels bullied, scared, unsafe and/or hurt, your child(ren) is taught to use ONLY the following two DEBUG steps to ensure his/her safety.

1.     EXIT. MOVE AWAY and



Helpful Books for Parenting
More Reading Suggestions
  • Homework Without Tears, by Lee Canter
  • Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them, James Garbarino, PhD
  • Children the Challenge and The Challenge of Marriage, by Rudolph Dreikurs
  • Parenting With Love & Logic, by Foster Cline & Jim Fay
  • Positive Discipline from A to Z: 1001 Solutions to Everyday Parenting Problems, by Jane Nelson, Lenn Lott, & H. Stephen Glenn
  • Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul, by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Patty Hansen & Irene Dunlap
  • Childhood Stress, by Barbara Kuczen
  • If Your Child is Hyperactive, Inattentive, Impulsive, Distractible, by Stephen W. Garber
Talking with Kids

An excellent website that sends free monthly tips on pertinent topics. If you like it, you can sign up for an on-line subscription. The current featured topic is war and how to address the subject with kids of all ages.

Basics to Help Children

Control Anger

Ø       Be a good role model by controlling your own anger.

Ø       Never spank your child or use any other physical force when he/she gets out of control.

Ø       Limit your child’s viewing of violence in the media, whether on TV, in movies, video or Internet.

Ø       Keep your child healthy, with enough rest and nutritious foods.

Ø       Learn to recognize signs of stress in your child and help him/her handle stress you can’t reduce.

Ø       Encourage your child to put angry feelings into words rather than into physical actions.

Ø       Teach your child to respect the feelings of others.

Ø       Help your child make a list of things to do when angry that won’t hurt property, himself/herself, or others. 

Ø       If you blow up at your child, apologize later, after you’ve calmed down.

Smart Parenting, 1999 The Positive Line, ASI #79930.  Reviewed by Psychologist David Rubin, PhD.

ABC's To Self Esteem 
Family Checklist

  1. TALK it out

  2. LISTEN to each other

  3. Set aside TIME for family activities

  4. INVOLVE each family member in family decisions

  5. RESPECT privacy - knock on closed doors

  6. AGREE to disagree

  7. Go for a family walk or play a game

  8. REMEMBER that no one is perfect

  9. PRAISE each other


Tips for “Grooving” Back Into the School Year

·        Make a plan for after school activities. Schedule adequate time for homework, play, and sports

·        Scale back TV time - You may want to consider a "no TV" rule Monday - Thursday.

·        Establish a family reading time

·        Establish bed times for school nights. Children in elementary school need 10-11 hours of sleep each night.

·        Keep a large calendar.  Mark each family member’s activities in a different colored pen.

·        Collect important phone numbers.  Update doctor, work and other listings for the school office, after-school program and a neighbor.

·        Create a car pool.  Compare schedules and determine which parents can drive kids when.

·        Have a backup plan.  Find another parent who will exchange school pickup favors-in case you become sick or delayed by work or traffic.

·        Spruce up a study space for your child.  Children work best at a desk or table.  Make sure it is well-lighted and free from distractions.  Consider a spot in the house other than the kitchen table which tends to be the center of all activity and can be a very distracting place.

·        Consider creating a "Homework Survival Kit."  This is a box or drawer in which is kept the basic school supplies.  Use the beginning of the year supply list and buy a set of everything to be kept at home.  Keep all of this in one box or drawer so that everyone knows where it is and no time is lost looking for a needed item.

·        Set up a file for school papers.  Place all school notices in it so you don’t misplace them.

·        Get children in the habit of getting ready the night before school.  Set out clothes, pack lunch and put the backpack by the front door.

Source:  Barbara Albers, “12 Ways to Gear Up for School,”  Family Circle, September 1, 1995 (Gruner &Jar, 685 Third Avenue, 30th Floor, New York, NY 10017-4024.  212/878-8700).

 Suggested Reading List for Parents of Elementary Students
GCPS Office of Student Academic Support and Advisement

  • Miram Adderholdt-Elliott, Perfectionism:  What is Bad About Being Too Good?

  • Louise Bates Ames, Arnold Gesell, and Frances L. Ilg, The Child from Five to Ten

  • T. Berry Brazelton, Working and Caring

  • Barbara Brooks, The Scared Child:  Helping Kids Overcome Traumatic Events

  • Lee Canter & Lee Hausner Ph.D., Homework Without Tears

  • Jean Illsley Clarke, Self Esteem:  A Family Affair

  • Foster Cline and Jim Fay,  Parenting with Love and Logic

  • Barbara Coloroso, Winning at Parenting Without Beating Your Kids

  • Stephen Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families 

  • Bernice E. Cullinan, Reading to Me:  Raising Kids Who Love to Read

  • Dolores Curran, Traits of a Healthy Family

  • Dr. Don Dinkmeyer & Gary McKay, Raising a Responsible Child

  • Rudolph Dreikurs, Children the Challenge

  • David Elkind, The Hurried Child

  • Adele Faver and Elaine Mazlish, Siblings Without Rivalry ; How to Talk So Kids Will Listen ; How to Talk So Kids Can Learn

  • H. Stephen Glen & Jane Nelson Ed.D, Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self Indulgent World Positive Discipline (Jane Nelson)  

  • Edward Hallowell & John Ratey, Driven to Distraction: Recognizing & Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood through Adulthood 

  • Louise Hart, The Winning Family

  • Karen Renshaw Josline, Positive Parenting from A to Z

  • Florence Karnofsky and Trudy Weiss, How to Improve Your Child’s Language and Thinking Skills

  • Kevin Leman, Making Children Mind without Losing Yours

  • Amy Lew and Betty Lous Bettner, A Parent’s Guide to Understanding and Motivating Children

  • Linda Madaras, What’s Happening to My Body – Girls ;  What’s Happening to My Body – Boys

  • Robert J. MacKenzie, Setting Limits

  • Carl Metzger, Good Parenting Guide

  • Dr. Ruth Allen Peters, Don’t be Afraid to Discipline

  • Frank Walton, Winning Children Over  (English and Spanish).


Gwinnett County Public Schools

Office of Student Academic Support and Advisement

“Counselors Removing Barriers to Academic Success”