Mr. Harris' Blog

Welcome... I hope this blog can be useful, particularly to parents and the community, as another way to stay connected to what's going on around McNair. Find out more about McNair school counseling by clicking around the blog or reading my program brochure. Students can use my "Mr. Harris Please Help" form to let me know they need to chat. Please browse around and contact me ( if you just cannot find what you're looking for! It's my pleasure to serve McNair and the community.

Child just needs more help?

Here are a couple options for therapy at no charge:
- Family Solutions for Kids offers a great variety of services to meet the needs of children and their families including therapy and psychiatric services (brochure).
- Community Psychological Service (at UMSL) offers therapy for children & families for a variety of concerns. Psychological evaluation is also offered.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Workshop on Behavior Management- October 27, 2011

In an earlier post I mentioned I would be sharing an overview of behavior management strategies during a parent workshop this fall.  The workshop content will be based on the book/video 1-2-3 Magic ( The date of the workshop will be Thursday, October 27, 2011 from 6:30-7:30. Grandparents and other relatives are welcome to attend.  Please RSVP to and include the number expected to attend from your family (adults only).   (Flyer will go home in a couple weeks)

Help is on the way!

Many times services are initiated when a teacher or parent contacts me.  This year ('11-'12), I launched a new simple form for students to access school counseling services based on their own perceived need for assistance.  I targeted Grades 2-5 by introducing the form to each class and discussed with students in their some of the reasons kids might want to seek help.  Already, I receiving daily requests and some students who seemingly might not have sought help (when needed) have stepped forward with difficulties they're facing.  One student stated she liked the form telling me, "this was a really good idea".  I think so too.

The "Please Help" form gives students a quick way to say they  need to chat.

Students may place completed forms in a locked box.

Helping Children Cope with Divorce

We all know how prevalent divorce is these days.   As an elementary counselor, I've seen how difficult it can be for young children to adjust to the change in the family.  While children are resilient, they frequently hold misconceptions about why the divorce happened (sometimes feeling they were to blame) and what will happen to them.  This feeling of insecurity during major family change can manifest itself in internalizing (depression/anxiety) or externalizing (acting out) behaviors.  Parents and caregivers can help children stay more healthy during divorce by knowing what to say to the children.  Purdue University published a document I like called, "Helping Children Cope with Divorce".  Also, the local agency Kids in the Middle has good resources for how to help children through this change.

Monday, September 19, 2011

SSD Offers Wealth of Resources for All

Special School District (SSD) is a partner to provide special education services within the Hazelwood School District.  While many people know this, many more do not know the opportunities SSD offers to ALL of our parents.  Two notable resources offered are a lending library (located at the SSD central office in Town and Country) and the many parent workshops.  A few years ago I attended one of the workshops on "Brain Gym" at SSD and sat with parents as they learned special exercises to help their children (especially useful with for children with ADHD).  This and other free workshops are offered again this Fall and the updated listings are in the newsletter just published, "SSD Parent Connection".  For ongoing listings of parent workshops offered and to register, visit or call 314-989-7807.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

H.E.R.O.E.S. in Action visits McNair

Mr. Ray Amanat visited McNair recently to present his HEROES in Action. Students learned ways to stand up for themselves and others and scripts of what to say.

For the whole story on the assembly visit this link.....
H.E.R.O.E.S. in Action anti-bullying program visits McNair Elementary School:

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What is PBIS?

PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports) is a system for creating safer and more effective schools. The process focuses on improving the school’s ability to teach and support positive behavior for all students. PBIS includes implementing school-wide procedures and processes for all students and staff in all settings. It is an approach to create a safe and productive learning environment where teachers can better instruct and all students can learn.

See the full McNair PBIS Brochure for more details!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Children's Mental Health Services Very Accessible (in St. Louis County)

Though the "St. Louis County Children's Service Fund" ( began collecting revenue in 2008, I was not aware until recently on just how extensive the services made available would be.  A presentation by Lutheran Children and Family Services representative, plus a handout with detailed descriptions during the same session opened my eyes to the plethora of previously costly services now made free or very low cost to the average family.  One great example is the organization Kids in the Middle, which helps kids and families navigate the changes that come with divorce.  Previously, parents often reported back that services were too costly.  Now, the services are supplemented by the service fund.