What do safety, respect, and inclusion have to do with pizza? School Counselor Jess Kwerel explains this year's Elementary Charter process and how to create the perfect community pizza.
Aidan's Student Support team is here to counsel, tutor, and create strategies to handle challenges for our students and their families.
The team has two components:
The Counseling Office
The Counseling program at Aidan Montessori is designed to teach and promote school-wide emotional intelligence and to provide support towards the social/emotional growth and needs of students and families.
The Counselor at Aidan helps students and families to gain insight and develop strategies around conflict resolution, managing friendship dynamics, and understanding feelings. The tools we use to achieve this include short term counseling to students, running parent education workshops and programs, and providing classroom observations.
In addition to supplementing the Grace and Courtesy lessons students receive from classroom teachers, the school counseling program utilizes social/emotional tools and programs such as RULER, Connected and Respected, and MindUp to help facilitate the work of the school counselor.
The Learning Support Office
The Learning Support program at Aidan Montessori is designed to teach and promote one-on-one and small group differentiated learning when appropriate. The program also communicates to the student various ways to understand education.
The Learning Support Specialist helps students and families to gain insight and develop strategies concerning learning difficulties and to provide enrichment for accelerated learners. We use an array of approaches and tools to identify student needs and to generate and implement effective plans for student learning and well-being.
The Learning Support Specialist works with faculty and families to understand each student’s needs, to identify community resources (and make referrals if necessary), to read and translate test results, and to suggest strategies for student success.
Andy joined Aidan in this new position for the 2017-18 School Year. He works with teachers and parents to identify children who have learning challenges that can be helped with resources. Andrew observes in classrooms, meets with teachers and parents, and helps parents connect with resources for their children. Andrew also continues the school Tutor's work of providing direct support to children by way of tutoring, but his scope is more far reaching.
Prior to coming to Aidan, Andy served in a similar capacity at schools in Atlanta and Seattle. This year is his fifth working as a special education teacher and learning specialist. He has worked in many different kinds of special education teaching formats - including resource, inclusion, co-teacher, and autism/behavior self-contained - including one Montessori-inspired resource room as a student teacher. He also served as an Americorps member for two years in Washington state.
Andy has enjoyed time volunteering with therapy dogs at animal shelters. He's also having fun enjoying the greater DC area, taking classes through REI, traveling (he wants to go to Iceland and Chile soon!), paddle boarding, people watching, petting dogs, and contemplating getting a dalmatian (complete with frequent pro/con lists).
Jessica has served as School Counselor at Aidan since 2009, supporting the social and emotional needs of students and their families. In addition to her education and counseling certifications, she has a background in ropes course facilitation, team building, and outdoor experiential education working with children, adolescents, and adults. As a member of the WAISC (Washington Area Independent School Counselor) group, Jessica participates in monthly meetings with other area independent school counselors to collaborate and share in current school counseling trends and topics relevant to the Aidan school community. Jessica holds professional memberships with the American School Counseling Association, the American Counseling Association, and the DC Mental Health Association. She has served as a volunteer counselor with Whitman-Walker clinic and the Wendt Center for Loss and Healing, and has volunteered with Capital Caring Hospice. Jessica is also passionate about animal-assisted therapy.
Jessica's mother, Linda Feldman, was Aidan’s librarian for 13 years. Jessica is an avid outdoor enthusiast and enjoys hiking and biking with her husband. They love going on adventures with their three beloved rescue dogs, Buford, Sam, and Tilly, as well as spending time with their toddler nieces.