My name is Natalie Kinsella and I am excited to serve as the school counselor for grades 3-8 at both Heritage Elementary School and Stockbridge Junior High School. As a counselor for both schools, my time is divided between the two. I am at the junior high school in the morning (8:30 am-12:15 pm) and Heritage elementary in the afternoon (12:15pm-3:30pm). However, I also go where I am needed, so my schedule is flexible and changes as needed. When you are in need of help, this is a great place to start! I am a certified school counselor and certified teacher. My previous counseling experience was as a middle school counselor in Dearborn Heights, MI working with students and families from a diverse array of cultural backgrounds.
My role as counselor is to help students learn coping skills, help their social-emotional development, provide support for students, families, and staff to help students succeed academically and socially. I am committed to providing students with assistance and guidance with their academic success, future planning and career aspirations, and their personal/ social health and well-being. I am committed to helping students and families, no matter their background, family, religion, income, ability, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc.
One limitation of school counseling is that it does not provide sufficient time for intensive or long-term mental health counseling. This means that if your child requires mental health services for any number of serious or ongoing issues such as anxiety, depression, grief and loss, trauma, etc. you will need to seek outside counseling and I would be happy to help connect you with those resources.
I am guided by the Ethical Standards of the American School Counselor Association as well as MI state laws. My work and time with students, families, and school staff will be kept strictly confidential with the following exceptions: a) the counselee is being harmed by self or others or is the unreported victim of abuse, b) there is suspected harm to another person, c) the counselee and I agree that some information needs to be shared with another person or persons. There are no fees associated with counseling services provided in school.
If you would like to get in contact with me, please feel free to call or email. You can also contact me to arrange a time to meet if you have additional concerns you would like to discuss in person.
As this is my first year at Stockbridge Community Schools, I am always working towards improvements in the counseling program and trying to create counseling services specific to the needs of our school and our students. If you have any questions, concerns, suggestions, or feedback regarding counseling services I would love to hear from you.
Junior/Senior High School FAQs
What should a PARENT or GUARDIAN expect from middle school?
Your child will have more homework.
Each class and each teacher will be different and could have different classroom policies and expectations regarding late work, assignments, behavior, etc.
Your child will have teachers and students they like and those they do not like. This is a good time to work on strategies for what they can do in situations where they have to work or share a space with people they really like and with those they don’t.
Your child will struggle with organization and time management and will need help to learn how to improve those skills.
Your child will fail an assignment and that’s OK. Sometimes failure teaches better than success and it’s OK to let them fail, it doesn’t make you a bad parent or guardian.
PowerSchool is a wonderful resource for checking your child’s grades, but middle school assignments are more challenging and that also means it may take a little more time for teachers to enter assignments after students turn them in.
Your child will be expected to communicate with their teachers about any upcoming absences from school so they can get their work ahead of time.
Ideally your child will be expected to talk with teachers about classwork before a parent or guardian contacts a teacher. This is a skill they are developing during middle school, we do not expect them to have mastered it, but it’s a good one for you to encourage.
Your child may gain and/or lose friends. As your child grows and changes, so will their friends.
Social media will be a huge part of their life and will be very hard to regulate. SnapChat and Instagram are two of the biggest. This is where most bullying occurs and rumors spread. Please keep this in mind.
The teachers, principal, school counselor, and other staff are very willing to help and want to create a safe environment for every child.
What should my CHILD expect from middle school?
More homework and more independence.
They will need to work on their time management and organization skills.
They can expect each teacher and class to be different from each other.
More responsibility: Getting to class on time, keeping track of assignments, talking with teachers about any issues, etc.
How should my child address an issue in the classroom with a teacher?
When a student has an issue with how a teacher addressed a situation, I always advise students to…
- Do as the teacher asks at the time (sit down, move seats, stop talking, etc.), even if the student disagrees or felt they weren’t doing anything wrong. This will prevent the situation from escalating and from a student getting in trouble for not following directions or for insubordination and allows the teacher to manage the classroom.
- Ask to speak with the teacher when the teacher is free (if they are busy the whole hour ask when a good time to speak with them would be) - after class, during passing time, after school, etc. This gives students and teachers both a chance to process and calm down.
- Talk with the teacher. Avoid using statements like, “You did this…” or “You let so and so…” Try to use “I feel” statements like, “I felt like...when this happened.” This way the teacher can listen without distraction or interruption to how the student felt and perceived the situation.
How can I help my child with homework and organization?
Please make sure you are signed up for PowerSchool and check it regularly for your child’s grades and assignments. This is a great resource to stay on top of your child's grades and homework completion. Please keep in mind that it does take time for teachers to enter grades into PowerSchool. We also have Learning Lab after school from 2:30-3:30 everyday in the Media Center. Lastly, don't hesitate to contact your child's teacher if you have questions or concerns.
At the beginning of the year, buy your child a planner so they can write down assignments for each class everyday. Check their planner at home, daily at first, then less and less as your child gets used to the routine. This is extremely helpful, especially for 6-8th grade students who have more assignments and are learning how to become more independent and organized. You can also have them use Google Calendar instead of a physical planner. The goal is to find what works for them, so long as your child as some system in place where they record upcoming assignments and due dates.
The first week of school, help your child get a binder or folder for each class to help them stay organized. Every few weeks, go through your child’s backpack with them (you can set a calendar reminder in your phone). Separate and keep old assignments until the end of the quarter just in case a grade is entered wrong or your child needs it for review.
What can I do to help my 6th grader (going into 7th) get ready for the junior high school?
At the beginning of 6th grade, have your child start using a planner (it can be electronic like Google Calendar or an actual planner) to record their assignments for each class. Check it daily, then less and less as the year goes on. This will give them practice in how to keep track of homework, projects, tests, and assignments on their own. This will help tremendously with the transition to junior high as the amount of homework will increase and it can sometimes feel overwhelming and hard to keep track of for middle school students. You can also go through their backpack or locker with them every few weeks to make sure they are able to keep up with the organization (try setting a reminder in your phone).
Walk through the junior high with your child to familiarize them with their locker, their classrooms, and how to get to the cafeteria, library, and the gym. Practice running through their daily schedule and find the nearest bathroom locations to their classrooms so they know where they are. Have them practice it on their own or until they feel comfortable.
Find ways for your child to get involved at school - clubs and sporting opportunities are available throughout the year as well as joining band or choir. Students can also talk to Ms. Kunzelman about starting new clubs if they are interested and can find a faculty member to act as an advisor.
If you know of any academic struggles or needs your child has, feel free to contact their teachers at the start of the year to let them know so they can better support your child.
What should I do if my middle school student has a low score on an assignment or lower than average grade in a class?
First, check PowerSchool with you child and ask them about specific assignments and why things are missing/late or received a low score.
Second, ask your child to speak with their teacher at the beginning or end of class or before or after school, about their missing/late or low scoring assignments and check with the teacher to confirm that your child spoke with them. I would always recommend meeting with a teacher in person, unless email is more appropriate for the situation.
Third, have your child complete any missing, late, or incomplete assignments and turn them in ASAP. Please recognize that there may be assignments teachers can no longer accept and unlike elementary school, each classroom teacher may have different policies regarding late assignments.
I always always always recommend having a student contact the teacher first, as most issues with grades will be solved more quickly and easily this way. It also gives them practice for real life situations they may face at a job - in those cases they would also need to start by talking with their immediate supervisor before proceeding to talk with anyone else.
Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program
The Trevor Project
MSU LGBTQ Resource
The Listenting Ear
The Trevor Project
Abuse and Assault
Child Abuse Hotline/Helpline
End Violent Encounters (EVE)
Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
Sparrow Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)
Stockbridge Police Department
Drugs and Alcohol
Hope Network Insight Recovery Center
Mental Health Services
Adolescent Depression Support Group
Community Mental Health
Lifeways Community Mental Health
S.P.A.1\1. Support for Parent of Adolescents in Need
The Listening Ear
General Assistance for All Topics
The Listening Ear