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.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Forced Apologies?

Being around a lot of kids every day means seeing lots of lessons learned for them and me.  Over the years, I've tried many approaches to helping students resolve conflict.  One of them I've found that doesn't seem to work all that well is "Now, say your sorry!".  What good does it do if it's not genuine?  Probably none at all, except making ME feel like I had some closure on the situation.  I'm not saying that we shouldn't teach our kids the value of apologies, but a little patience with closing the deal might make for a more genuine and unexpected outcome.  I thought this article captured the essence of the problem...  Why forcing your kids to apologize is a bad idea. - By Emily Bazelon - Slate Magazine:

Protecting Our Children

When parents think of protecting their children, I believe they most often think of "stranger danger".  While children need to know how to handle the threat of strangers, what they might lack is an awareness of the potential threat of people they may already be familiar with.  Jewish Family & Children's Services (JF&CS) is an agency that takes aim at training children and adults on preventing sexual abuse through it's Child Abuse Prevention Program (CAPP).  Four years ago, one of our parents told me about the CAPP program.  After a quick phone call, Jennifer Bernstein, the coordinator of the program came to show us what it was about.  What a relief it was to know that such a service existed and the program was offered free. The truth is that as a school counselor of young children, the idea that so many children may be victims of sexual abuse, and many never tell, weighs heavy (Statistics).  So again this year, our students will have the opportunity to hear the age appropriate presentations and learn a language that will make them more confident if they are are every confronted with a potentially frightening situation.  Parents are invited to preview the program Monday, October 10, 2011 at 7pm in McNair's library.  I would love if we had a big crowd, because I believe this information is something that every parent would benefit from hearing.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

You Have to Accentuate the Positive

This is the 4th year McNair has been an active PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports) school.  You may hear your child talking about the “Wildcat Ways to Be”.  This refers to the 5 school-wide expectations; Responsible, Respectful, Cooperative, Kind, & Safe.  Every Monday morning this school year, Dr. Roper reads a message to encourage positive thinking and behavior which culminates with “make it a great day, or not, the choice is yours”.  Immediately following the announcement, teachers deliver a half hour lesson/activity that correlates with the message.  Every Friday morning, each classroom holds a class meeting.  This gives students and teachers a chance to communicate intentionally on issues that are important to the success of the classroom and sometimes includes team building activities.  A group of staff meet monthly to look at trends in behavior data and our efforts to create an ideal climate for learning.   Based on our school effort last school-year in the area of school-wide behavior supports, McNair earned an Award of Excellence from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  McNair received a banner signifying the achievement which now hangs in the cafeteria.  Thank you parents for your continued hard work and support for the school.  Together, all of these efforts really seem to be making a difference!