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Meeting social and emotional needs is important for this hometown elementary school
This subscriber spotlight is based on an interview with Rebecca Railsback, school counselor with Tomoka Elementary School in Florida.
A hometown school in central Florida builds rapport to create a safe place for kids
Just 10 miles north of Daytona Beach, Florida—and only an hour’s drive from the bustle of Walt Disney World—Ormond Beach remains a small beach town where most of the families have lived for generations and the kids in school have known each other almost since birth. The connection to the Florida peninsula is so strong in Ormond that the elementary school is named Tomoka after one of the chiefs of the Timucua Indians who lived among the many freshwater rivers in the area as far back as 700 years ago.
Tomoka Elementary School Counselor Rebecca Railsback is living one of those local multi-generational stories. She worked as a counselor for eight years at the high school in Ormond Beach before joining Tomoka three years ago, where her mother had been the art teacher for many years. Rebecca loves her role as counselor in this school of 760 students and is using Resource for Educators’ Home & School Connection newsletter to help build a rapport with parents in order to create a safe place for the kids.
“The promotion for Home & School Connection came at the exact time I needed it. I showed the brochure to our Principal to see if she agreed we should subscribe, and she said, ‘Absolutely! Do it!’”
Rebecca signed up her school for the newsletter for the first time this school year and is already finding the content invaluable. She sends printed newsletters home and also posts them on the school’s website. Most of the students at Tomoka walk to school, so Rebecca makes sure the newsletters are in their backpacks for delivery home. Excited about her latest effort coordinating a Bully Prevention Week for the school this fall, she is using Kindness and Compassion, one of the special bonus publications received with her subscription, as a tool for discussion.
“The publications from RFE are hitting all the points we talk about as educators. They cover the specific questions that parents can ask their kids to see what is happening at school and in their lives. On the topic of bullying prevention, the publication offers guidance for what a parent should do if they think their child is being bullied, and even what to do if they suspect their child is the one doing the bullying.”
According to Rebecca, the role of counselors in elementary schools has evolved since her time as a student. Providing a safe place for her students to discuss whatever is causing them concern is of primary importance. In addition to bullying, students at Tomoka also ask for her help dealing with divorce in the home, grieving over lost loved ones, and learning how to be a good friend, among other important topics. Her master’s degree in school counseling comes into play every day on the job as she looks for ways to build positive relationships with parents—and Home & School Connection provides a springboard in her work to help make that happen.
“The Home & School Connection newsletter is worth every single penny. When I got the quote I couldn’t believe the low price! My teacher colleagues tell me they love the newsletter and I share with them that It is a spot-on tool that is convenient and is the best thing ever for the work we are doing at Tomoka Elementary. On top of that the customer service experience was super responsive and very friendly.”
Being a school counselor is a personal as well as professional commitment for Rebecca. As a mother of three, with her oldest preparing to enter Tomoka Elementary next fall, it is especially important for her to continue to make Ormond Beach a safe place to raise a family. She is happy to have resources like Home & School Connection as a partner in her efforts.
To find out more about what’s going on at Rebecca’s school, visit:
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We’d love to find out more about what you are doing at your school and how our publications help you fulfill your mission. Contact our Subscription Services Supervisor Carol Ann Fox to arrange for a time to chat. Email email@example.com, or call her directly at 540-636-4612. She’ll make sure we see you and your school in a future Subscriber Spotlight!
Tomoka Elementary School
Ormond Beach, FL