School Counselor

Teresa Harris picture
Teresa Harris, M.Ed., LPC, LPSC

How do we build work ethic in OUR children?

As adults, we can see how our hard work has paid off and realizing that having a strong work ethic gets a person farther in life.  We want our children to be successful, and we seek to understand how to nurture their success. According to several research studies, the best way to develop a strong work ethic in children is through chores (Lythcott-Haims, 2015).  

In Valliant’s famous longitudinal Harvard Grant Study, he followed Harvard students from their time as undergraduates through adulthood (Lythcott-Haims, 2015; Sobel, 1981).  Valliant looked at those who made exemplary achievements during adulthood and found that childhood chores were an essential contributor to their success in life (Lythcott-Haims, 2015; Sobel, 1981).   The earlier these participants started doing chores, the more successful they were (Lythcott-Haims, 2015).

Through chores children learn:

  • The responsibility of contributing to the work of the household or a team
  • Autonomy in performing tasks
  • Accountability to meet a deadline and deliver quality work
  • The determination to do a job well
  • Perseverance when challenges are met
  • The value in taking initiate instead of waiting to be asked

Without chores, children miss out on learning how to pitch in and how hard work at tasks may not always be pleasant (Lythcott-Haims, 2015).  

As parent’s, we sometimes struggle to determine the age appropriateness of certain chores.  To help, below is a list of age-appropriate chores from Kathleen Bechelmann, MD, American Academy of Pediatrics spokesperson and pediatrician at St. Louis Children's Hospital (Bullen, 2014).

Children ages 2-3

  • Put toys away
  • Put dirty clothes into a hamper
  • Wipe up small spills with a cloth or paper towel
  • Dust low furniture
  • Hang up clothes
  • Fold napkins in half and put at each plate before dinner
  • Stack books and magazines
  • Put shoes away (in the closet or mud room)
  • Carry his or her plate to the sink after meals

Children ages 4-5

  • Make own bed (pull up the blanket and arrange pillows)
  • Water plants using child-sized watering can
  • Bring mail inside
  • Fill a bowl with cereal and milk for breakfast
  • Take utensils out of the dishwasher and put in a drawer
  • Wash plastic cups, dishes, and utensils
  • Use hand-held vacuum in small areas
  • Fill the pet's food bowl (with supervision)
  • Match socks in the clean laundry
  • Hang up towels in the bathroom
  • Help carry light groceries from the car
  • Help sort own dirty laundry to be washed (whites, colors)
  • Brush the dog or cat with a parent's assistance

Children ages 6–8

  • Load the dishwasher
  • Set the table for meals
  • Put away clean and folded laundry
  • Sweep the floor
  • Help unpack groceries
  • Pull weeds
  • Rake leaves
  • Empty indoor trash cans/wastebaskets
  • Replace toilet paper roll
  • Feed the pet (and give it water!)
  • Practice simple tricks with the family pet (sit, shake hands, fetch)

Children ages 9 -10

  • Walk the dog
  • Fix snacks
  • Hunt down easy-to-find items in the grocery store with you
  • Help wash the family cars
  • Vacuum
  • Brush dog or cat without assistance
  • Clean pet cages (dog crate, cat litter box, rabbit or small animal cage)
  • Take trash to the curb for pickup
  • Sweep floors/porches
  • Set the table

Children ages 11-12

  • Wash, dry, fold and put away clothes
  • Clean the bathroom
  • Unload the dishwasher and put away dishes
  • Change their bed sheets
  • Prepare easy meals (toast, sandwich, scrambled eggs)
  • Bathe the pet
  • Pick up dog droppings in the yard
  • Empty and change the vacuum bag
  • Mow the lawn (with supervision)
  • Mop floors
  • Vacuum interior of the car

Additional Resources:

Ted Talk: How to raise successful kids
Love and Logic:  How to get kids to do their chores
How to Raise an Adult

Coffee with the Counselor

Dear Harman and Smith Parents:

We would like to invite you again this year to have “Coffee with the Counselor.” This opportunity will allow us to share with you about our school counseling program, build partnerships and work together to best support our students in and outside of the classroom. We want to hear from families and community members, seeking input regarding student needs, issues and how to unite in our efforts to help kids overcome current and future challenges.

Coffee with the Counselor will occur 3-4 times this year. Please join us so we may better serve students and families to grow amazing kids that will undoubtedly make a positive difference in our community and our world.

Sincerely, Teresa Harris & Traci Hummer Oakwood Elementary School Counselors

Meeting Schedule

Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018 5:30 p.m. @ SMITH ElementaryWhat is a School Counselor Anyway? What is Oakwood’s Character Education Program?

Friday, November 16, 2018 - 11:40am @Harman School - Helping Our Students (and Ourselves) find Balance

Friday, February 1, 2019 - 8:30 a.m. @ Oakwood Starbucks - Encouraging our Kids (and Ourselves) to Seek Joy, Practice Gratitude, and Be Vulnerable


What is a School Counselor?

School Counselors (previously referred to as Guidance Counselors) support all students in grades PreK-12 with academic achievement, social and emotional development and career planning. Ohio School Counselors are licensed and have completed an approved master’s program and an extensive internship. They develop and implement comprehensive school counseling programs that promote and enhance student success by collaborating with families, teachers and administrators.

Resource retrieved from the Ohio Department of Education (8/25/17). For more information on this topic please visit

Character Education

Timber is our character education program designed to help all learners develop the skills necessary for success in today's world.

To learn more about this program, go to our Timber page. 

Counseling Services

Character Education

Our character education program designed to help all learners develop the skills necessary for success in today's world.

To learn more about this program, click here.


Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports

  • Be Respectful
  • Be Responsible
  • Build Relationships

At the elementary schools we practice the 3R's. This language provides common behavioral expectations for all students throughout the buildings. This system is the foundation for the 5R behavioral system in place at OJHS and OHS.

504 Case Manager

The 504 Plan is a plan developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives accommodations that will ensure their academic success and access to the learning environment, when needed.

Classroom Lessons

Class lessons are available on a variety of topics and are customized to meet our current needs.

  • Social Skills / Friendship
  • Bullying/Bystanders
  • Growth Mindset
  • Career Education
  • Self-Esteem / Body Image
  • Self–Awareness
  • Other

Group Counseling

Harman offers a variety of group counseling opportunities based on student needs. These groups include new student transitions, divorce, friendship, and a variety of social and emotion skills.

Individual Counseling

Individual students are seen in one-on-one counseling sessions for a variety of reasons based on social, emotional, and academic needs. Topics discussed in individual sessions include, but are not limited to, social skills, anxiety, depression, divorce, grief, self-control, and self-esteem.

Parent Consultation

Parent consultations are provided for a variety of reasons, based on the needs of the student or the family, in order to develop plans that best meet the student needs to ensure their social, emotional or academic success.

Mentor Program

OJHS & OHS students come to the elementary schools during lunch / recess and work with assigned students on their social and emotional development.

Tutoring Programs

Talented Tutor:

5th and 6th grade students tutor for 20 minutes, one time per week, during lunch, with the guidance of the student’s teacher.

OHS National Honor Society Tutors:

High school tutors work with elementary students after school or during lunch. These arrangements are typically made and overseen by the parents. The list of tutors is available upon request and is updated each fall.

Professional Tutors:

The district provides a list of qualified professional tutors.

The list of tutors is available upon request and is updated each fall.

Military Kids Club

Military children are a unique group and need support during deployments, moves, and meeting the daily demands of military life. This club is designed to help students stay connected with other military kids. It is intended for students who have an active duty service member in their immediate family (mom, dad, or sibling).

Empowerment Tools

By Trudy Ludwig

1. “STOP!” – ONLY if you feel safe to do so

2. “WHY? WHY? WHY?”

3. GET AWAY / WALK AWAY if you can

4. “SO,” “WHATEVER,” “HUH,” “WHO CARES”      (say in a neutral tone)


6. ACT SILLY OR GOOFY       (use humor in a harmless way)

7. TURN AN INSULT INTO A COMPLEMENT – ONLY if you feel safe & comfortable doing so

8. AGREE – ONLY if you feel safe and comfortable doing so


*NOTE:  If a tool doesn’t work, don’t keep using it.  If you don’t feel safe using a particular tool (Example: Stop, Turn an Insult into a Complement, or Agree tool), don’t use it.  Try another tool instead.  These tools won’t end bullying problems and they won’t stop kids from bullying other kids.  That’s why it’s very important to encourage children to report bullying to grown-ups they trust and who would be their ally in preventing bullying.  Bullying prevention requires adult assistance and support.  Bystander peers can make a powerful positive difference as “upstanders” or “hero bystanders” by being inclusive and supportive

 Ludwig, T. (2015-2017).  Ludwig Creative Inc.