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Matthew Carstens

Matthew Carstens

School Counselor - MS
Middle School 7-8

Our Middle School Guidance Department supports all students academically, socially, and developmentally. We collaborate with middle school staff members, parents, and outside agencies in supporting our student population.  Guidance Counselors meet with students individually and in small groups, as well as deliver a school wide developmental guidance curriculum to all students based upon standards and best practice.

Why your child might visit the school counselor

  • Academic concerns or academic planning 
  • Divorce, separation, and family changes
  • Drug and alcohol concerns
  • Post-Secondary education and career planning
  • Experiencing loss, death, and grief
  • Peer relationship issues
  • Problem solving skills
  • School adjustment issues
  • Stress reduction and coping skills
  • Study and organizational skills

How you can help your Middle Schooler succeed

Middle school is important because your child is laying the foundation in a lot of subjects and forming study habits. Developing certain skills now will make it easier for your child to adjust to the challenges of high school and college later — and will lead to more college options. Here are some things you and your child can do to make the most of this time.

  • Help your child set goals for the year. Working toward specific goals will help your child stay motivated and focused.
  • Review the school calendar together. Note important dates and put them in a shared online calendar or in an easy-to-view place, such as a bulletin board in your kitchen
  • Make a plan to check in regularly about schoolwork. If you keep up with your child's tests, papers and homework assignments, you can celebrate successes and head off problems as a team. Get homework tips for your child.  
  • Talk about extracurricular activities. Getting involved in clubs and other groups is a great way for your child to identify interests and feel more engaged in school. Read more about the benefits of extracurriculars.
  • Discuss ways to take on challenges. Encourage your child to take the most-challenging courses that he or she can handle. Tackling tough courses can give your child confidence and prepare him or her for higher-level high school classes.
  • Come up with fun reading ideas. Look for magazines or newspapers your child may like and talk about the books you loved reading when you were your child’s age. If your family makes reading enjoyable, it can become a daily habit.
  • Visit a nearby college together. If you live near a college, look for upcoming events on campus that are open to the community or see if the college offers classes to local children and families. Just being on a campus may get your child interested in college.
  • Get the big picture on paying for college. It’s not too early to learn the basics of financial aid.

Resources and Links

Peer Relationships and Social Skill Building

For great information to share with your children on understanding the difference between bullying and normal peer conflict, strategies for intervening and what they can do if the witness bullying, and finally ways you can help address negative social behaviors your child may be exhibiting, please visit the national StopBullying website.

Dateline Tackles Bullying

As a crisis that affects 3 million kids, bullying is put to the test by a Dateline NBC hidden camera setup. Parents, alongside parenting experts, watch what their own kids will do as bystanders to staged bullying scenarios, beginning with a group of teenage girls. Kate Snow reports. Watch this eye-opening segment, My Kid Would Never Bully.

Test Anxiety

Does your child get anxious before a test? Is it affecting their performance on tests? Check out Very Well Minds' webpage on Overcoming Test Anxiety.