Bush Elementary School Counselor Teaches Students About Responsibility

Bush School Counselor Alexandra Peterson talks with kindergarten students about responsibility as part of her character education lessons.

“We are going to learn more about responsibility by listening to a story. Do you like stories?” asked Bush Elementary School Counselor Alexandra Peterson.

“Yes!” said the kindergarteners.

“The story is called Strega Nona, which is Italian for Grandma Witch who is one of the main characters. We are going to see another character, Big Anthony, who will show us what being responsible looks like, but also, what happens when we are not responsible.”

Ms. Peterson taught Eileen Healy’s kindergarten class as part of her job as a school counselor. It is Ms. Peterson’s first year at Bush School but she was formerly a counselor at Chautauqua Lake School and G.A. Family Services. With the kindergarteners, she was teaching the students more about responsibility, what it looks like, and how to be responsible at school and home. The character education lesson is just one way Ms. Peterson helps Bush students be ready for school and life. She visits all classrooms each month to teach an age-appropriate lesson on a specific character trait. It is just one aspect of her job.

“A lot of my job is helping students make sure they are successful in the classroom — socially, academically, emotionally and behaviorally,” Peterson said. “I try to make relationships with students so that they feel comfortable coming to me with anything that they want to talk about. They learn that I am another adult at Bush School that can help them succeed.”

In addition to the character education lessons, Ms. Peterson works individually and in small groups with students. It could be anything from helping a student through a personal problem to having lunch with a group of students to build strong relationships. Ms. Peterson also works directly with outside agencies that can help students and families and often refers members of the Bush family to these agencies for additional resources or help.

Ms. Peterson works hand-in-hand with teachers to be proactive about what is expected of students in the classroom. When a student is not meeting those expectations, she works with the teacher, parents and the student to “put the puzzle pieces” together to find out why, but also, to help give all parties resources to help the child.

Ms. Peterson understands Bush students.

“I was born and raised in Jamestown and graduated from JHS. I am so excited to come back here to work as a school counselor to help other Jamestown kids,” Peterson said. “I really love the new wave of school counseling. It used to be that counselors would tell students what to do. Now, we work with students to see what their mindset is. It our job to help students find their own path and create a plan to succeed. We create the tools and teach them how to use them so that when they leave school, they feel confident in using the tools and have ownership over their own lives so that they can be successful.”