News From the Counselors

News From the Counselors

Get to Know Norton’s Counseling Department

Meet Mrs. Brand
My name is Dori Brand and I am the school counselor for grades K-2. I graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Early Childhood Education and enjoyed teaching 2nd grade for four years. I also earned my Masters and Specialist degree from the University of Georgia in School Counseling. I enjoy spending time with my husband, walking my dogs, traveling, and watching UGA athletic events. GO DAWGS!
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you have. I can be reached at 770-736-2010 or

Meet Mrs. Burns
My name is Joy Burns and I am the school counselor for grades 3-5. This is my fourth year at Norton and I am looking forward to getting to know you! I graduated from Georgia State University with my bachelors in Psychology and my Masters degree in School Counseling. I enjoy spending time with my family, going to the lake, and watching ice hockey. Go Thrashers!
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you have. I can be reached at 770-736-2011 or

How Counselors Make a Difference for Elementary School Students

The elementary school years are a critical time academically for your student. Gwinnett's curriculum - called the Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) - provides elementary students the academic building blocks on which all future learning depends. Your School Counselors contribute to your child's academic success by:

teaching skills in leadership, test-taking, decision-making, coping, 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 and families, as needed
A university study found that guidance provided by Gwinnett County Public School's (GCPS) elementary counselors had a significant impact on improving students' academic achievement.

Students Benefit From Teamwork Between Teachers and Counselors

The teacher and counselor work together to overcome barriers to learning, manage classroom behavior, develop strategies for students who need extra help to learn, and assist students who want an extra challenge beyond their regular course work. The counselor also develops school wide programs, such as Care Team, which offer resources and support for needy children in the school community.

Who Sees the Counselor?

The counselor works with students one-on-one, in small groups, and in classroom guidance sessions. The counselor is also available for crisis counseling. The Counselor works with parents and teachers. The counselor helps parents understand their child's social, emotional, and educational needs. Students are referred to the counselor by their teacher, parents, or themselves. The counselor is available to all students, parents, and teachers to provide needed services.

What Is the Purpose of Elementary School Counselors?

Counselors are an integral part of your child's education. GCPS is dedicated to becoming a system of world-class schools, ensuring that all students receive a world-class education that prepares them for academic success from the very start, laying a strong foundation for future learning. The counselor provides an important support system for students, teachers, administrators, and parents as our school system pursues educational excellence. The elementary school counselor makes sure students get the very most out of their first years in school by providing them with study skills, coping skills, and problem solving skills.

What are the Qualifications of an Elementary School Counselor?

Gwinnett County elementary school counselors are hired from a national pool of applicants and meet high minimum standards. Your counselors are state-certified, hold at least a master's degree in guidance and counseling, have completed an intensive internship in a school setting, and have completed a special-area test. Your counselors belong to state and national counselor associations, and continue to broaden their knowledge of counseling and guidance through workshops and conference.

Gwinnett County Guidance and Counseling Program Standards

Classroom Guidance

Small Groups

Resources for Parents

Character Education

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    Last modified on 02/02/2010.