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Counselors give Belpre BOE program overview

BELPRE — Belpre City Schools counselors are working to help students deal with anxiety and girls to feel more confident through several in-school programs.

Officials with Belpre City Schools counseling office gave an overview of academic and social programs during Monday’s Belpre City Schools Board of Education meeting.

In addition to career and college readiness programs, high school counselor Jenn Miller presented information on several steps the department has taken to address student mental and emotional needs.

“A lot of students report having issues with anxiety,” Miller said. “We’ve been working on anxiety management with our students.”

Miller said the “Flipping the Script on Anxiety” presentation created by Mike Seebaugh, school psychologist assistant for Belpre City Schools, is used with 9th-grade students to not only explain the causes of anxiety but also ways to deal with those feelings in a positive manner.

“It really went over how anxiety works in your body because we felt the students didn’t really have a good idea of what was happening,” Miller said. “When you can name what is happening, then you can deal with it.”

The students have had the opportunity to sign up for an anxiety management group. Miller said staff members also received information to better understand this approach to dealing with student anxiety.

Miller said this year the school system received a grant to pilot ROX, which means Ruling Our eXperiences. The program is designed to give tools and support to girls to help them “live healthy, independent, productive and violence-free lives.”

Miller said a third to one half of all girls experience feelings of doubt when it comes to their abilities, opinions or the opinions of others.

“When girls are asked what they need, the number one response is confidence,” she said.

Miller said the program costs about $75 per student, which covers administration fees, materials and support for facilitators. The grant this year from Columbia Gas of Ohio paid for Miller’s training and funding for 10 ninth-grade girls to participate. The classes will begin in the second semester of this school year.

Miller said she would eventually like to expand the program for all ninth-grade girls, which would cost the school system about $3,400. Miller said she hopes to purchase strike pads for self defense training at a cost of about $300.

In addition, the counselors have continued the Culture Club, a social-emotional support group which promotes social skills and empathy, and an ethics course for 8th-grade students which was designed and given at no cost to the school system by a Wirt County Schools business ethics teacher.

Michael Erb can be reached at merb@newsandsentinel.com.

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