School Counseling 

The counseling program at SJS provides services for social, emotional, and academic issues in order to aid students in their personal growth, academic achievement, and school adjustment. Interventions offered include individual and group counseling sessions, health and guidance lessons, classroom observations, parent and teacher consultations, and referrals to community resources. The counselor functions as a resource for students on a day-to-day basis but is not able to provide long-term counseling services.

Students may receive counseling services for a wide variety of reasons (which includes but is not limited to) grief, anxiety, anger management, peer and social concerns, low self-esteem, attention problems, lack of organizational skills, and sadness. The school counselor does NOT function as a disciplinarian – that role is reserved for the classroom teacher and the principal. The school counselor will keep confidential any information entrusted to them so long as no one’s life, health, or safety is at risk. The counseling program is part of the regular school program. As such, parental consent is not necessary for students to visit with the counselor; however, parents will be promptly notified of any concerns.

The Lifelong Guidelines and Lifeskills Character Education Program

St. Joseph’s School follows the Lifelong Guidelines and Lifeskills created by Susan Kovalik, the founder of the Highly Effective Teaching Model ( The guidelines and lifeksills are character-building, providing common boundaries and expectations for one’s behavior and performance.

The Lifelong Guidelines are five basic principles for living:

  • Trustworthiness: To act in a manner that makes one worthy of trust and confidence
  • Truthfulness: To be honest about things and feelings with oneself and others
  • Active Listening: To listen with the intention of understanding what the speaker intends to communicate
  • No Put-Downs: To never use words, actions, and/or body language that degrade, humiliate, or dishonor others
  • Personal Best: To do one’s best given the circumstances and available resources

The Lifeskills define the Lifelong Guideline of Personal Best. Their purpose is to guide students to an understanding of the personal and social behaviors that will enable them to do their personal best, which increases the chance that they will succeed at reaching their goals.

  • Caring: To feel and show concern for others
  • Common Sense: To use good judgment
  • Cooperation: To work together toward a common goal or purpose
  • Courage: To act according to one’s beliefs despite fear or adverse consequences
  • Curiosity: A desire to investigate and seek understanding of one’s world
  • Effort: To do your best
  • Flexibility: To be willing to alter plans when necessary
  • Friendship: To make and keep a friend through mutual trust and caring
  • Initiative: To do something of one’s own free will because it needs to be done
  • Integrity: To act according to a sense of what’s right and wrong
  • Organization: To plan, arrange, and implement in an orderly way; to keep things orderly and ready to use
  • Patience: To wait calmly for someone or something
  • Perseverance: To keep at it
  • Pride: Satisfaction gained from doing one’s personal best
  • Problem Solving: To create solutions to difficult situations and everyday problems
  • Resourcefulness: To respond to challenges and opportunities in innovative and creative ways
  • Responsibility: To respond when appropriate; to be accountable for one’s actions
  • Sense of Humor: To laugh and be playful without harming others

Students are taught about the Lifelong Guidelines and Lifeskills throughout the school year. A Lifelong Guidelines Class of the Week is chosen every Monday. This class receives recognition and praise for how they are displaying the guidelines. Once a month, each teacher chooses a Lifelong Guidelines Student of the Month. These students are recognized during Mass, earning a certificate and positive reinforcement for being a role model of the guidelines and lifeskills.