Hartley Elementary

    Comprehensive School Counseling Program




    Mrs. Brianna Lawrence, M.S.

    507-835-0986 | lawb@waseca.k12.mn.us

  • What exactly does a school counselor do?

    Much like the school nurse, my services are available to ALL students, not just those with emotional or behavioral difficulties or in a crisis. My priority is to make sure that everyone feels safe and can do their best at school. 

     Some of the activities I conduct:

    • Teaching classroom guidance lessons to help understand self and others,  communication skills, decision making skills, conflict resolution skills, and career exploration

    • Short-term counseling with children individually and in small groups

    • Consult with parents and teachers

    • Assist with crisis intervention

    • Collaborate with the Family Services Coordinator to find useful resources and make referrals.

    Why do kids need school counseling?

    • Children learn best when they feel good about themselves.
    • Children who understand their feelings are better able to control their behaviors.
    • Schools, parents and communities that communicate and collaborate provide the most effective support to children.
    • Attitudes formed during elementary school shape future attitudes towards learning, self and society.

    How are you different from a therapist at an outside agency?

    I most often see students when I’m teaching classroom lessons about social/emotional learning! Unlike mental health therapists, I only provide short-term individual and group counseling. Sometimes an issue is better addressed more intensively in a therapeutic setting and with greater direct parental/guardian involvement. If you would like to discuss a therapist referral for your child, I work with the Family Services Coordinator to find referrals to local resources.  


    How do children get to see you?

    Children may come to me in a variety of ways.  Usually it’s by recommendation of the classroom teacher and/or the parent. Often, children will approach me themselves and ask if they can see me.  Each classroom has a form to fill out to request an appointment. Parents/guardians may reach out to me directly to inquire about support for their child.


    Will parents/guardians be notified when my child receives services from the school counselor?

    As a part of your child’s comprehensive education at Hartley Elementary, I will be providing classroom lessons to ALL students either on a weekly or biweekly basis. If your student is identified as someone who might benefit from a short-term small group intervention, you will receive a phone call or letter from school in which you have the opportunity to opt your student out of the group. You are able to opt your child in or out of counseling services at any point during their time at Hartley by simplifying sending me an email at: lawb@waseca.k12.mn.us

    In any counseling situation, student confidentiality will be maintained EXCEPT:

    • In cases of suspected abuse/neglect

    • A student poses a danger to self/others

    • The child and/or parent/guardian gives permission to share information


    What might a student talk about while in the counseling office?

    • Feelings about themselves
    • Difficulty in making or getting along with friends
    • A family problem
    • A school problem
    • A fear or worry
    • A physical concern

    What might a student do in the counselor’s office?

    • Talk about things that are important to children
    • Use materials to help express feelings and problems
    • Talk about feelings
    • Work on a plan to reach a goal
    • Read stories that help students learn and understand more about themselves
    • Calm down when feeling upset
    • Play games to learn ways to relate to others