Lynden Middle School counselors Coral Bartlett and Laura Lupo have always placed a premium on connecting with students. This year that has just looked a bit different.
As the pair worked to find new ways to relate with students and their families, they created a weekly Counselor Newsletter, starting in January. “It is a project that I have been wanting to do for some time now, to hopefully inspire, support, educate and provide a vital connection between the entire Lynden community families, students and teachers,” Bartlett says. “Also, because of the big shift that has happened in our lives due to the pandemic, how we communicate as schools and families becomes even more critical.”
The newsletters are full of encouragement on wellness, physical and social-emotional well-being, academic support, resources, inspirational stories and diversity and character building. And the information is often inspired by first-hand conversation with Lynden Middle School students, teachers, staff and also community members, Bartlett says.
“We have had excellent response from all, including teachers,” Lupo says. “Some teachers have utilized the newsletter into their lesson plans and go through it together as a class. The response I hear the most often is that the newsletter is appreciated.”
During the pandemic, Lupo says it is important for the community to know that the counselors, whether at Lynden Middle School or any of the other Lynden Schools buildings, are available for support if a student needs resources or someone to talk to.
Luna, the therapy dog
Luna, a licensed therapy dog that travels with Lupo, has added a unique outlet for the students at Lynden Middle School. “She provides a sense of normalcy in these uncertain times and has given unconditional love to students,” Lupo says. “Unfortunately, anxiety and depression have been on the rise and this is where Luna shines. Many students have experienced anxiety at school and have spent a few minutes with Luna and then they are able to return to class. She has provided much-needed smiles and laughter in the building.”