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Counseling & Learning Support

IICS School Counselors support our students' development, including emotional needs, learning needs, and social development.  

Secondary
Counseling Program
 
The overall aim of the Secondary School Counseling Program at IICS is to promote and enhance the development of the whole student. The program blends the American School Counselor Association’s (ASCA’s) National Model (which is comprehensive in scope, preventative in design, and developmental in nature) with the International Model for School Counseling, which was developed in 2011.

The school counseling program supports the academic mission of IICS by promoting and enhancing the learning process for all students through the integration of the School Counseling National Standards as defined by ASCA: academic, career, and personal/social development, as well as the International Content Standards (which include a Global Perspective Domain relating to Intercultural Competence, Cross-cultural Identity and Global Transition).

The emphasis is for all students to realize academic, personal, social, and emotional success during their time at IICS. The Guidance Department aims to foster healthy self-esteem and self-awareness, as well as a sense of responsibility to self and others.
The goal is that as a result of education at IICS, students will not only have a firm foundation in knowledge and theory, but they will also have learned the importance of being active, life-long learners and respectful, compassionate citizens of the world.

School Counselors manage and deliver a program for all students. This program includes:
• Delivering classroom lessons in areas such as study skills, time management, self-esteem, goals setting, understanding diversity, sexual and drug education, careers, etc.
• Providing support to parents and families in transition
• Crisis intervention and response
• Facilitating conflict resolution
• Counseling students individually and/or in groups
• Advocating for the academic achievement of all students
• Supporting classroom teachers in classroom management
• Supporting teachers and families in understanding and addressing difficult behavior
• Individual student academic program planning
• Interpreting student records, including cognitive, aptitude and achievement tests
• Counseling students who are frequently tardy or absent
• Counseling students with disciplinary problems for follow-up
• Assisting the school vice-principal and principal with identifying and resolving student issues and needs
• Advocating for students at IEP/student support meetings
• Addressing the needs of all students through prevention and intervention

The preventative component of the program includes the delivery of Guidance Lessons.
A range of topics are covered such as: Self-Esteem, Digital Lives, Peer Pressure & Refusal Skills, Sexual Education, Drugs, Career Planning, the Brain, Resiliency, Keys to Happiness, Bullying, etc.


Brenda St. George, M.Ed. – Support & Guidance Department Head and Secondary Guidance Counselor
Brenda joined the IICS community in the Fall of 2011 after spending 11 years in Dar es Salaam, working as a Middle & High School Counselor at the International School there. She is a ‘third culture adult’ (TCA) who has spent the past 28 years teaching and/or counseling outside of her home country (Canada). Having graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Honors) degree, Bachelor of Education (Junior/Intermediate) degree and Teaching Certificate from Queen’s University in Canada, she began her teaching career with a move to Japan. Over the next two decades, she successfully transitioned across several continents with moves to Hong Kong, Kuwait, Tanzania, and Turkey. Along the way, she continued to upgrade her qualifications and has completed Specialists in Primary Education, Special Education, Counseling, and a Master of Education in Special Education.
She has also completed ESL in the Mainstream training and is a Resourceful Adolescent Program facilitator. Over the past two years, Brenda has gone to several training sessions related to Child Safeguarding and she has attended the CEESA and CIS workshops, as well as completed the NOVA (National Organization of Victim Assistance) Community Crisis Response Training Certification. She has given presentations at conferences in Africa and Europe on a variety of topics related to adolescents, behavior management, school connectedness and transitions.



Cherie M. Mobasheri, Ph.D. – University and Careers Counselor

 

 
Secondary
Learning Support



In keeping with IICS’ stated mission, students whose educational and physical needs can be met will be admitted. Students are expected to be able to function independently in the classroom. IICS offers limited services for students with mild learning difficulties and disabilities. They are supported by the Learning Support Teacher outside of class depending on their needs. 

Admission of secondary students with learning needs  is determined after a review of their documentation on psycho-educational evaluations and externally issued individualized plans in order to assess the degree of accommodation needed. Specific reading, writing, language, and math difficulties will be assessed and provided with support either outside of class or in class, whichever is most beneficial for the student. Students with more complex learning needs will be dealt with by a team approach. Learning support meetings with parents are held to provide detailed feedback on progress and recommendations for student development.

 
Please be advised that the services available locally may not be as extensive as what families are used to in their home countries. The needs of students with severe language, social, emotional, behavioral, spectrum disorders, physical limitations, untreated moderate to severe ADHD or borderline range and lower intellectual capacity are not able to be accommodated.
 
The Learning Support services IICS provides for Secondary include:
– In-Class and/or Pull-out learning support
– Math and writing support
– Assistance with study skills, ATLs, organization and time management




Valerie Richards, BA, M.Ed – Secondary Learning Support Specialist
Originally from California, Valerie has over 20 years teaching experience in the US and in international schools in Asia and Europe. She holds an MA in Special Education and a BA in Music Education and most recently served as the Special Education Coordinator (SENCO)for Tenby International School in Malaysia. Valerie has worked with the IB curriculum at all levels, but mainly with Middle and High School students. She will provide in- class and pull- out support for students needing assistance with study skills and organization, and recommended accommodations. Valerie is also a keen musician and experienced music teacher, and is interested in travel, film, and pilates.
 

 
Primary
Counseling Program
 

 

The PYP counseling program at IICS is based on the International School Counseling Model, which draws from the American School Counseling Model. Throughout every aspect of the counseling program, children are given opportunities that encourage physical, emotional, intellectual, and social growth.
 
At IICS, we are committed to providing students with a caring environment in which they can grow into well-developed adults who understand their own self-worth as well as the value of others. We believe the development and implementation of the PSE (Personal/Social Education) curriculum will assist in this endeavor. 
 
Tier 1:
 
School-wide systems support and collaboration: The counselor regularly collaborates with teachers, administrators, staff members, and parents to make sure student needs are met. Preventative in nature, the counselor focuses on development and facilitation of PSE lessons for all PYP students at both campuses from EY3 to G6. The core of the PSPE curriculum is providing students with experiences that allow them to identify opportunities for personal, social and physical growth. Topics include peacemaking/solving conflicts, understanding/regulating emotions, personal safety, how to make friends, how to be an upstander, etc..  Specifically, the PSE (Personal/Social Education) weekly lessons are related to the development of the individual child, encouraging them to delve into themselves and discover more about who they are and also to the well-being of the entire school community, which allows them to think beyond themselves and consider the greater good of their community at-large. Identity, Interactions, and Active Living are three strands identified by the IB curriculum and utilized throughout IICS PSPE curriculum. These strands are infused within the various units of inquiry. The educators and learning professionals at IICS strive to create learning opportunities that encourage students to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from the results. In turn, this creates a culture in which learning is enjoyable, worthwhile and personally rewarding. The students who complete the PYP at IICS are destined to become lifelong learners. 
 
Additionally, the counselor supports transitioning for students, families, and staff. Transitions are continually taking place for families at IICS. Each year new students arrive and other students are leaving. The coming and going of students can be emotionally difficult at times for all involved. Other parental support is also available through presentations, coffee talks, parenting support, and requests.
 
Tier 2: 
 
The counselor also assists with intervention programs for students needing extended support. Consultation in regards to a specific child’s social, personal or emotional needs can take place between the counselor, parents, teachers, support staff and any other pertinent members.  Additionally, counseling support groups are offered at times children need support outside of the regular classroom setting. Counseling groups typically take place for 30 minutes one time a week for up to 6 weeks in order to help some students develop stronger social, emotional and personal skills. Group lessons may include the following: social skills development, conflict management, anger management, coping skills, divorce support, confidence building skills, adjustment/ transition issues, etc. Similarly, some families may need consultation time with the counselor in order to develop strategies and tools for specific child concerns. This support may also include referrals to community resources if support cannot be met through the school counselor. Some specific family supports may include development of household routines, sleeping concerns, learning coping skills, attachment concerns, etc.
 
Tier 3:
 
Finally the last tier of counseling services is for students who need increased extended support. This can take the form of responsive services, individual counseling, or SEN student support.  There are times when a crisis situation arises (death of a family member, trauma, increased school anxiety, etc.) and a child or family may need counseling support immediately.  Other times, the counselor may need to provide individualized counseling services for students struggling socially and emotionally and whose needs are not met in a group setting. These services are typically provided 30 minutes one time per week for no longer than 6 weeks. If a child needs continued counseling support then the family is encouraged to seek outside community counseling services. The counselor is also a key member of the Student Support Team and works together with the SEN (Special Educational Needs) team at IICS to address any social, emotional or personal goals that a child may be working on as part of their learning support plan. 



Anna Thomas, MS, LPC  – Primary Counselor

Anna joined the IICS community in the Fall of 2017 after spending 2 years in Abu Dhabi, UAE, working as a Primary School Counselor at an International School in the western region. She has been a Licensed Professional Counselor since 2000 after earning a bachelor in Psychology (Honors) and a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling (Honors).
She maintains an American license [currently with the State of Arkansas Board]. Prior to overseas, she had 16 years in the field of counseling/psychotherapy in North America with many of those being as a school based counselor assisting kids with personal/social development, academic achievement/college-career awareness, as well as more serious issues such as trauma recovery and severe behavioral issues. In addition to her work as a school-based counselor, she worked in a variety of settings, including child/adolescent residential centers and private practice, as well as in different capacities, as crisis intervention specialist, state (of Oregon) mental health investigator, detox specialist, and clinical director of two mental health clinics. She was regularly called to testify in court, advocating for the rights (and responsibilities) of emotionally/mentally ill/abused children and adults. She has extensive experience and training with child protection, most recently with CIS, and has led workshops on Child Safeguarding. She started the eco-club, Parent Teacher Student Association, and a healthy eating campaign at her former current school. She is a passionate advocate regarding the rights of children. Additionally, she has spent years in animal rescue. She has two daughters and they enjoy traveling the globe, cycling in nature, camping, being in or around water, or just cuddling up with a good book and their kitties. They are all involved in animal welfare and really love living in Istanbul. 
 
 
Primary
Learning Support

 

The development of self-esteem and the core values of the IB Learner profile including kindness, integrity  and respect begin with our teachers and direct student services. The purpose of the Learning Support Department at IICS is to enrich student learning by reducing barriers so that each child can reach their full potential. Students with specific reading, writing, language, math and executive function difficulties will be provided with support either outside of class or in class in order to best meet their needs. The level of support is monitored and adapted based on student need and the allocation of IICS resources.
 

In keeping with IICS’ stated mission, students whose educational and physical needs can be met will be admitted. Students are expected to be able to function independently in the classroom. IICS offers limited services for students with mild learning difficulties and disabilities.

Specific reading, writing, language, and math difficulties will be assessed and provided with support either outside of class or in class whatever is most beneficial for the student. Students with more complex learning needs will be dealt with by a team approach. Learning support meetings with parents are held to provide detailed feedback on progress and recommendations for student development.

Our Learning Support personnel can recommend additional private services for those in need of speech language, occupational therapy, play therapy, family therapy, psychiatry and tutoring. Please be advised that the services available locally may not be as extensive as what families are used to in their home countries.

The needs of students with severe language, social, emotional, behavioral, spectrum disorders, physical limitations, untreated moderate to severe ADHD or borderline range and lower intellectual capacity are not able to be accommodated.

The services IICS provides for Primary include:
• Transition support
• Remedial reading
• Math and writing support
• Social skills development support
• Counseling
• Reading, math, writing and mild attention disorders are accommodated at IICS.



Monique Sweep – Primary Learning Support and EAL Teacher

Monique joined the IICS community 12 years ago and has worked at both campuses as an Early Childhood, grade 1 and 2 teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Arts, with a major in English literature, and a Bachelor of Primary Education from Monash University, Australia. She has worked with communities of english language learners in both Melbourne and Sydney. Her experience and passion is in teaching children to become readers and further develop their literacy skills. Monique Sweep was awarded the ECIS Peter Ustinov Outreach Grant and the TIEcare International Community Service Award, to provide a Inquiry-based Teacher Training program for 25 teachers from 11 rural schools in Nepal.



Meral Soguksu – Primary EAL / Learning Support / Turkish Teacher
Meral Soguksu holds a Masters in Education in ESOL and has 8 years experience teaching EAL and literacy development to primary school children. She is currently teaching at the IICS Hisar Campus where she is responsible for learning support, EAL needs and Turkish Culture classes.



Jennifer Ribachonek – Primary EAL / Learning Support Teacher
Jennifer Ribachonek is a creative literacy, language and learning specialist with over 13 years experience in 4 countries.  She holds a Masters degree in Peace Education and is a licensed K-12 EAL teacher.  Now in her fourth year at IICS, Jennifer has a deep appreciation for the diverse and unique student body. Through small group, one-to-one, push-in and pull-out support, she strives to empower students to be courageous readers, writers and communicators.  Jennifer has given presentations on various topics including: Word Study, Launching the Writer’s Workshop and Peace Education in International Schools.  Jennifer’s goal is to create a school-wide learning environment that engages and inspires all learners.
 
 

 

 

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