RAMS School Counseling
In Holliston we seek to collaboratively create and sustain Safe and Supportive Schools. A Safe and Supportive school is the culmination of what it would look like for us to truly foster a safe, positive, healthy and inclusive whole-school learning environment that: enables students to develop positive relationships with adults and peers, regulate their emotions and behavior, achieve academic and non-academic success in school and maintain physical and psychological health and well-being for all students, staff, and the greater Holliston community!
- School Counseling Team
- Adjusment Counselor and School Psychologist
- PBIS- CARE
- Family Resources
- Things to know
- Changing Schools
At RAMS, our counseling department consists of a school psychologist, an adjustment counselor, and 3 grade level counselors. Counselors work with students individually and in small groups, teach guidance lessons in the class‐ room, and support the academic, social, and emotional development of all Middle School students. All of the counselors collaborate to provide the whole student body with a range of long‐term and short‐term services, including transition services for incoming 6th grade students and outgoing 8th grade students, crisis intervention services, referral to community mental health services and prevention services, coordination of peer tutoring, and orientation for new students.
School Counseling vs. community counseling?
School counseling is different than community based counseling. School based counseling is a short-term service delivered to individuals or groups to increase their adaptive functioning. The focus is on helping students function more effectively in the classroom and with their peers.
School counselors recognize and respond to the need for mental health services that promote social/emotional wellness and development for all students. School counselors advocate for the mental health needs of all students by offering instruction that enhances awareness of mental health, appraisal and advisement addressing academic, career and social/emotional development; short-term counseling interventions; and referrals to community resources for long-term support.
Community based counseling tends to be a longer-term service. The issues or concerns that an individual presents are more serious and may reflect pathology (e.g., depression, suicidal ideation, eating disorder). Though counseling and psychotherapy clearly involve a personal relationship with an individual or group with the goal of positive change, they address different presenting problems in different contexts.
Holliston Youth and Family: Provides confidential counseling (individual, family, or group), court diversion, crisis intervention, consultation, and referral services to children, adolescents and parents.
Community members can call: 508-429-0620
Holliston Pantry Shelf: All Holliston residents are welcome to use the Holliston Pantry Shelf. Shoppers are warmly welcomed into the sparkling clean, well-stocked Pantry. They respect the privacy and confidentiality of their shoppers at all times. Residents are not required to fill out lengthy forms nor asked to provide any personal financial information. To receive a Pantry ID card, Residents need only to fill out the census at Holliston Town Hall to qualify.
Keely Krantz, President
Tony Polise, Corresponding Sec.
William James College: The William James INTERFACE Referral Service aims to help break down the “silos” that exist between various agencies, mental health providers, and systems that can often hinder access to mental health and wellness services for individuals. Through the Helpline that operates Monday-Friday from 9 AM- 5 PM, callers from subscribing communities will work with a Resource and Referral Counselor who will help them navigate the challenges of finding mental health services.
Interface Referral Service
(617) 327-6777 x 1295
referral/help line: 888-244-6843
Department of Children and Families:(DCF) works in partnership with families and communities to keep children safe from abuse and neglect. In most cases, DCF is able to provide supports and services to keep children safe with parents or family members. When necessary, DCF provides foster care or finds new permanent families for children through kinship, guardianship or adoption.
Main- (617) 748-2000: DCFCommissioner@state.ma.us
Framingham Office: 508-424-0100
Child-at-Risk hotline at 800-792-5200.
Advocates: For anyone experiencing a mental health crisis and is in need of support. Advocates is a 24-hour crisis support line.
24-Hour Crisis Support 1 (800) 640-5432
1881 Worcester Road
Framingham, MA 01701
Castlebrook Counseling Service, Inc.: Provides personalized, compassionate, and highly effective counseling to support you in meeting the goals you want to achieve. Castlebrook counselors are trained in diverse clinical approaches including: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Solution-Focused Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, Person-Centered Therapy, Hypnosis, and others.
South Middlesex Opportunity Council (SMOC): South Middlesex Opportunity Council improves equity, wellness and quality of life for diverse individuals and families by providing advocacy, education, and a wide range of services; building a community of support and inclusion; and creating awareness to combat poverty through partnerships and coalitions with other organizations.
SMOC Behavioral Health: SMOC Behavioral Healthcare is a division of SMOC that provides substance use and mental health outpatient services to individual adults, children and families. In addition, SBH provides substance use recovery residential services to individuals including pregnant and post-partum women and families, court diversion programs, OUI/MID court ordered services, gambling treatment and Peer Recovery Support.
Leslie Lee, Director of Program Operations
Jeff Handler, PhD, Division Director - SMOC Behavioral Health Services
Behavioral Health: Framingham Location 508-879-2250
Department of Mental Health (DMH): The Department of Mental Health (DMH) has a specialized role in the healthcare delivery system as DMH provides supplemental services for people with the most serious needs. The Department of Mental Health, as the State Mental Health Authority, assures and provides access to services and supports to meet the mental health needs of individuals of all ages; enabling them to live, work and participate in their communities.
Area Director:Jerry Juliano, (774) 420-3140
Assistant: Nicole Palmer, 774-420-3144
Emergency/Crisis Line - Available 24 Hours (877) 382-1609
Main (617) 626-8000: Available Monday through Friday 9am-5pm
DMH Info Line (800) 221-0053: This voicemail box is checked regularly Monday through Friday. Calls are returned within 48 hours.
Department of Developmental Services (DDS): The Department of Developmental Services provides supports for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities including Autism Spectrum Disorder to enhance opportunities to become fully engaged members of their community.
Area Director: Deb Johnson, email@example.com
Assistant Area Director: Karen Poutre, firstname.lastname@example.org
Main (617) 727-5608
Attendance/ Tardy Protocol
Research has shown that excessive tardiness and absenteeism has a negative impact on student achievement and is disruptive to the educational environment for all students. Therefore, it is our goal to help all of our students get to school each day, and on time. Attendance is monitored weekly by the guidance and administrative teams. As a parent, you can expect to be contacted via email by your student’s guidance counselor when your child has reached 5 or more tardies or absences. If however, you have concerns about your child’s attendance prior to our contact please give us a call. We make our contact with you in an effort to help support you and your student in developing a plan to improve school attendance. Administration and/or the school resource officer are obligated to become involved if a pattern of absences or tardies continues.
What do I do if my child is absent from school?
The Main Office will contact the parents of students who have not alerted the school of their child's absence in order to ensure that the student is safe and accounted for. Please call your child's absence to the main office at 508-429-0657 and press option 3 after 5:00 pm the evening before or before 7:00 a.m. on the day of the absence and leave a message on the answering machine. Please provide your child’s full name, grade and homeroom teacher. When a student returns to school from being tardy or absent , he/she must have a note from the parent/guardian excusing the tardiness/absence. If the student returns from a tardiness/absence without a note, they will be required to report to the main office for an admittance pass and will not be reminded to bring the note to the office on the following day.
How does a student request homework when absent?
Students are responsible for getting make up work for assignments missed due to absence/tardiness by contacting a classmate, the teacher or checking the teacher's website. Assignments are to be completed and turned in within one day if absent one day, two days if absent two days, etc. or by arrangement with the teacher. If a student is absent from school for a week or more due to illness or accidents, the appropriate team teachers will coordinate a schedule for all make-up work. Tests and missed assignments must be made up after the student returns to school.
Tardiness to school and/or tardiness to class
Students arriving tardy (after 8:05 a.m./during homeroom period) must present a note from a parent/guardian to the Main Office. A note from a parent/guardian is required to be on file in the Main Office any time a student is tardy from school. Being late for class and missing class deliberately is serious and disciplinary action will be taken.
Any student who is absent for all or part of the school day without the knowledge/consent of his/her parent/guardian or who leaves school after arriving during the school day without the prior knowledge and consent of school authorities and of his/her parent/guardian shall be considered truant. The district truant officer will be contacted in these cases and appropriate consequences will be given.
Grade 6 is a time of transition, as students make their way from elementary to middle school. Students will learn how to navigate the larger school setting, adolescent peer relationships, and increasing academic standards. Students will be placed with one of our 3 teaching teams, that will include an ELA teacher, math teacher, Science teacher, and social studies teacher. They will also engage in hands on projects and learn about team work and growth mindset.
Check out our Welcome Powerpoint for grade 6
In Grade 6 we also go on field trips. Here are some of the places we have visited:
Grade 7 is a time of self-exploration and finding their identity. Students have a good understanding of the expectations in middle school and how to navigate the rotating schedule. 7th Grade is a time when students begin seek more independence from their families as they explore friendships and social engagement. At RAMS we support students with developing stronger sense of self, effective communication skills, problem solving skills, and empathy. During the grade 7 year, students will participate in Metrowest Adolescent Health Survey and Mood Check Survey via Wellesley College. These Surveys collect self-reported data on health and risk behaviors, including substance use, bullying, mental health, violence, sexual behavior, suicidal ideation, depression, and physical activity.
Grade 8 is a time of maturity and transition. As 8th Graders settle into their final middle school year, we see students gain more confidence and sense of self. They understand the structure of middle school and are developing stronger social and emotional skills as they make their way to high school. During the 8th grade year, students will learn about their high school options, including Keefe Tech, the regional vocational technical school, located in Framingham. For students interested in attending Keefe Tech, there will be informational sessions for them to attend this school year. Our Grade 8 Counselor will support your student in navigating social and emotional needs during this year, but also in preparing for high school, whether it's Holliston High, Keefe Tech, or another school.
As puberty begins, kids go through big physical changes. Growth spurts are common now. And though biologically female students tend to develop earlier than biologically male students, there’s a big difference in physical milestones among individual youth.
Still, most middle-schoolers:
Get a little less coordinated as height and weight change quickly
Start showing uneven development in skills like agility, balance, strength, and flexibility (For example, they may be able to run fast, but not gracefully.)
Need more rest since so much energy is being used for growing (recommended 8-10 hours a night)
Have a difference between body and brain growth; may be more mature physically than cognitively or emotionally
Get better at fine motor and gross motor movements, like those used in team sports
May try to develop strength and endurance because of increased muscle mass (especially boys)
Problem-solving skills and thinking skills develop a lot at this age. Youth may also start to pay more attention to decision making and to organizing ideas, time, and things.
Start to understand concepts like power and influence
Question things and don’t take everything at face value
Think about how current actions affect the future and may worry about things like climate change and war
Memorize information more easily
Use flexible thinking, like checking work and changing approaches as needed
Begin developing a worldview and a basic set of values
Want to contribute and make their own money
In middle school, language skills typically develop much more quickly than they did the past few years. You might notice that your child can better understand what people communicate — with or without words.
Use metaphors, slang, text speak, and other ways of talking
Are interested in having discussions, debates, and arguments (sometimes just for the sake of it)
Start to “get” and pay more attention to body language, tone of voice, and other nonverbal language cues
Go through “what if” scenarios and talk through other ways of solving problems
Continue to build grammar knowledge and vocabulary
Start to use writing to describe personal experiences
Social and emotional milestones
Middle school is a time of major social and emotional growth. Youth may struggle to fit in even while looking for ways to be an individual. And they may not ask for advice as often as before. It’s not uncommon for middle-schoolers to do these things:
Bow to peer pressure to be like others
Have experiences with bullying or cyberbullying
Be sensitive to other people’s opinions and reactions, and think the whole world is watching them
Develop a sense of pride in accomplishments and awareness of their challenges
Keep secrets (often just having a secret is more important than the secret they’re keeping)
Have a better awareness of what’s appropriate to say in conversation
Are introspective and moody, and need more privacy
May test out new clothing styles and try on “personalities” while figuring out where they fit in
Keep in mind that middle-schoolers develop at different rates. But when a youth this age isn’t meeting a number of these milestones or is struggling, it’s a good idea for parents, teachers, and counselors to talk. Parents and caregivers may also want to talk with their child’s health care provider.
This information was adapted from the Understood site.
What is Internet Safety? For everyone, this is having the knowledge to maximize your personal safety and security risks to private information and property associated with using the internet and self-protection from computer crime. The topic of Internet Safety is an important one for all members of the guidance department. As a department we are actively involved in creating a positive and safe environment within the middle school. We spearhead conversations with students and teachers regarding responsible digital citizenship, and how we all can become informed digital citizens in this ever changing technology climate. Internet safety, and within that cyberbullying in particular, is woven into the Wellness curriculum. Students are provided with knowledge, skills, and values to independently make responsible decisions online and these lessons are infused into Web 2.0 learning activities. Guidance staff provide additional individual conversations with students who may be at greater risk for engaging in unsafe online behavior. We want all of our students to avoid risky online situations, and they need the support and education to do this.
Tips for parents and students:
Keep shared information at a minimum. Be aware of what identifying information you are providing and to whom. Information posted online may be seen by more people than is originally intended. Avoid sharing personal information and personal history whenever possible.
Once it is out there, it is out there and cannot be taken back. Do not say anything to someone over a social networking site that you would not say face-to-face, and do not send pictures that you would not feel comfortable having in the newspaper...you never know where they could end up!
Cyberbullying is taken seriously, you do not want to be a perpetrator!
Do not accept friend requests from people you do not know, it may feel good to say you’ve got 850 friends, but it’s not safe.
Keep antivirus software running on your computer to detect, prevent and remove computer viruses
Pay attention to what you use for Passwords and PINS. These are both a means of keeping information secure. It is best to avoid simple passwords that can be easily guessed, and birthdays, birth years, consecutive numbers, repeating numbers and banking PINS should not be used for internet accounts Using different passwords for different accounts also provides increased security.
Seek to avoid scams by always maintaining a cautious stance toward the internet. Misleading ads, offers from strangers, strange e-mails. Always do research to verify validity of offers.
Take the time to set up parental controls, content filters will limit access to content which provides a parent greater peace of mind, but also provides greater safety for student, which will eventually be appreciated. Questions regarding this? Feel free to contact the network administrator for the school.
We are all navigating this ever changing world of technology together, and we can work together to keep students safe. Have conversations with your student, and students please ask questions of your parents. Keep the conversation about Internet Safety alive and you will become a savvy digital citizen who is informed and ready to take on the world!
Resources for Parents:
Safe practices for life online (publication by ISTE/International Society for Technology in Education)
Computer Ethics, Etiquette and Safety for the 21st Century Student (ISTE publication)
Teaching Kids Cell Phone Etiquette www.parents.com/.../teaching-kids-cell-phone-etiquette
Digital Etiquette Lessons (learn-the-ropes.wikispaces.com/For+kids+%26+Teens...sites)
The World's Largest Internet Safety, Help, and Education Resource: www.wiredsafety.org
Netsmartz for Parents: http://www.netsmartz.org/netparents.htm
Information about Cyberbullying: **http://stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov/adults/cyber-bullying.aspx**
Resources for Students:
Enrolling a Student at Robert Adams Middle School
Holliston Public Schools registration documents:
Documents REQUIRED at the time of enrollment:
1. Proof of Custody of child is required, if divorced, separated, adopted, or guardianship
2. Child's current immunization record (3 DTPs, 3 oral polio's, 2 MMRs and, for 6th and 7th graders, 3 hepatitis B shots (see VDH Immunization Requirement Sheet in Enrollment packet)
3. Most recent report card indicating grade placement of child
4. Proof of physical residency (deed or lease, cancelled mail, current and valid Virginia driver's license, rent receipt, utility bill, or receipt for utility deposit); if mailing address is Post Office Box, must have proof of physical residence
5. Special Education (if applicable) - current IEP is needed.
6. 504 plan (if applicable) current 504 is needed.
Please schedule an appointment with your child's Grade Level Counselor when you have obtained ALL of the above information. A parent/guardian MUST be present for this appointment.
1. For transcript requests, please contact your child's grade level counselor.
2. For recommendations, approach the teacher/counselor and ask if he/she would be able to complete a recommendation form. Be sure to provide the due date and allow three-weeks for the form to be completed.
3. If you are requesting a recommendation from your guidance counselor, please schedule an appointment with your guidance counselor for an interview.
3. Along with the recommendation it will be very helpful if you can provide a “fact sheet” of your in-school and out-of-school activities.
4. Follow-up with a thank you note to the teacher/counselor.
5. Inform the teacher/counselor of the results when you have selected a school.
Withdrawing from Robert Adams Middle School
Please notify Lisa Ahronian in the main office in writing, of your intention to withdraw your child from school. Notification should include name of student, last day of school, and location of the school the student will be attending. Withdrawing students must return all textbooks and library books prior to last day.
Private School Process
Please contact your grade level counselor for further questions regarding private school applications.
Dear Caregivers and Families:
Welcome to the middle school years! This is a time of tremendous physical, emotional, and intellectual growth for your child, which means you may notice changes as your child adjusts to the demands of school, peers, and puberty. This can be a time of stress and awkwardness as your child learns how to navigate these years, but we are here to collaborate and support you and your child through these years. With your support, love, and structure and our guidance, your child will make it through middle school with success.