Windemere Ranch Middle School Home
Burrows, Helen
Counseling Tech
Fraser, Alyssa
Hersch, Monica
Watkin, Julie

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Dougherty Valley High School Math and Science Course Advancement

SRVUSD recognizes that some students want to challenge themselves academically beyond the classroom.  Course advancement is one opportunity available for our students.  Students may enroll in an approved math or science course of study outside of SRVUSD that may lead to course advancement.  We also recognize that advancement is not for all students.  Families must determine if their student(s) can manage the fast pace curriculum delivery. 

Students planning on advancing, need to go to the Dougherty Valley High School Counseling page of their website and click the advancement link to sign up.


Counseling Department

Bond While Setting Goals

By: Alyssa Fraser

As our children embark on a new school year, many parents think about the hopes and aspirations we have for our children for the upcoming school year, as well as their distant ...more

Finals are Coming!

Finals are Coming!

How to Study

By: Alyssa Fraser


The first semester is quickly coming to a close. The last day of the semester is January 22. Many classes will be taking final exams in the final weeks of the semester. It is important that students study for their final exams.

            Students often tell me that they feel like they know the material before a test, but when they actually take a test, they  “blank.” Testing pressure and anxiety may be to blame for this, but it is also possible that while studying students fool themselves into thinking they really know the material, when in fact, they have only partially memorized it. When I say partially memorized, I mean that the information has not been effectively consolidated into their long-term memory. In order for anyone to recall information on demand at a later date in time, it must be stored in long-term memory.

If you have ever spoken with me, you probably have gathered that I love the brain. To me, learning about the brain, it’s development, and how it (adolescent brains, in particular) learns is just fascinating. To this end, I like to read books about the brain and brain research. Currently, I am reading Memory Power 101 by W.R. Klemm.  Below, I have listed some tips for effective studying taken from Memory Power 101 that I find relevant to middle school students. All of these tips are supported by research.


  1. Skim a book’s chapter before reading the chapter.

Read and look at the headings, graphs, pictures, and captions. This “priming” of information will lead to greater recall of information once you read the entire chapter. It clues your brain in on where to focus during reading and allows it to make connections. (Brains love making connections.)


  1. Do not “multi task”

The brain is only able to perform one task at a time. When we try to do more than one thing at a time, the brain shifts back and forth between activities. This rapid shifting does not allow the brain to attend to one task long enough to encode and learn the information. Block out distractions and actively concentrate on what you are doing. In short, PAY ATTENTION!


  1. Think about what you are learning, don’t just memorize material.

Long -term memories are stored in an area of the brain called the hippocampus.We rely on our hippocampus when we are trying to recall information we have previously learned (like during a test). The hippocampus works closely with the prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain where complex thought occurs. When the prefrontal cortex is more engaged in thinking about, rather than memorizing by rote, what you are learning, the hippocampus is better able to recall that information in the long term.


  1. Test yourself.

By testing yourself, you are requiring your brain to retrieve information that you have not completely learned. Requiring your brain to retrieve and rehearse this information helps the brain to consolidate the learning into longer term storage. This is why the use of flashcards can be more helpful when studying than rereading chapters of textbooks or notes. When we reread information, our brains are fooled into thinking that we know the material. This is because the text is providing us with the information that we need and since we have previously interacted with this material, it is familiar. This gives us the false impression that we “know” the material. The use of flashcards however, forces your brain to actually recall the information it has stored. This serves two purposes; one, it is obvious when you don’t know the information, and two, the act of needing to recall the information and “work” with the information helps the brain to fully learn and remember the information. (FYI- Studies show that continuing to study all the flashcards even once they have been learned leads to more effective recall of the information than if the “learned” cards are taken out of the pile as you study. Repeated testing of information helps in longer term memory storage.)


  1. Begin studying far enough in advance that you can break learning up into smaller chunks and rehearse it often.

Repeating information helps consolidate that information in your brain for retrieval at a later time.Studies show that memory performance suffers when study sessions are too long. In Memory 101, Klemm “…suggests memory consolidation would be optimized if learning occurred in repeated short sessions with intervening naps and on different days with regular nighttime sleep.” “Repeating long study periods in the same day on the same task can be counterproductive.” DO NOT CRAM


  1. Get enough sleep.

Staying up late to fit in more study time does not lead to better scores. It is better to get more sleep, so that the brain can work optimally during the test, than it is to try and learn more material. This is why it is so important to begin studying ahead of time. Students should study a little bit every day in the days/weeks leading up to an exam, not the night before.

Information about the counseling department

What does a School Counselor do?
• Helps create a safe school environment where children can learn.
• Promotes positive attitudes among students toward self, family, peers and community.
• Assists students in learning how school performance relates to future opportunities, options and choices.
• Supports students by teaching skills for achieving success.
• Provides counseling with students individually and in groups.
• Works with students to ensure optimal attendance and minimal tardiness.
• Coordinates referrals to outside agencies.
• Helps design interventions to enhance student success in all areas of life.
• Helps students learn about anger management, conflict resolution and mediation skills.
• Helps parents, teachers, and administrators learn how to meet the needs of all students.

A School Counselor is not a doctor or a psychologist. School Counselors meet with you, the student, to help you sort through problems that might be happening in your day-to-day life. Let's face it; we are all faced with problems in our lives! Sometimes there are problems that need even more attention than a school counselor can offer. School Counselors work with other people in the field of psychology to assist students and parents in working through some difficult personal or family concerns.

How do I see the Counselor?
Ask your teacher for a pass, ask the counselor to send you a pass, request by the counselor, principal or assistant principal request, parent request, teacher request and friend request. Please contact Mrs. Dee Charbonnet to schedule an appointment.

When can I see the Counselor?
Mrs. Fraser is on campus from 7:45-2:45 pm.

Where is the Counselor's office?
Our office is in the back of the Administration Building.

How and why do parents contact the school counselor?
Concerns over student achievement, family health problems, new school registration and orientation, test interpretation, discussing special needs of their student, discussion of potential crisis, family difficulties or concerns, scheduling, 504 plans, student success team meetings, and parent Education.

Am I in trouble if I see the School Counselor?
When you receive a slip with your Counselor's name on it, it does not mean you have been called in because you are in trouble or "bad". In fact, a counselor is an adult who acts as your advocate! An advocate is someone who wants to listen to what you have to say and help you come up with reasonable solutions to making your situation better. It does not mean that your counselor can solve the problem for you; it does mean that you have a safe place that you can go to when you are not sure what to do.

Anti-Bullying Resources

<a target="_blank" href="http://www

Anti-Bullying Network
Bully Advice for Kids
Get Your ANGRIES Out
No Bully 4 Kids

Preventing Bullying And Harassment (a learning resource for teachers and students)


Student Incident Report

If you would like to submit a student incident report, please click on the link.  All incidences will be investigated by the administrators and/or counselors.

Click here to submit a report

General Resources/ Articles


Tips on Study Skills/Time Management/Test Preparation (PDF)

It's My Life: A Guide for Middle-Schoolers

American School Counselor Association (ASCA)
Articles and useful information for parents.

Hope Hospice
If yo
u are looking for a support service for students who have a parent who is ill or recently deceased, you may want to check out Hope Hospice which runs wonderful groups for students and teens who may need support yet want the "normalcy" of a school day and may not actually want to be in a grief/loss group at school. Please note that this response may be different for students who have experienced loss of a parent a while ago, as they have different issues that arise as time goes by. The bottom line is that Hope Hospice is a great resource for any sort of bereavement issues For your information, please visit their website or call them at 925-829-8770.

Twelve Secrets for Successful Step-parenting
Parenting and step-parenting is probably the most challenging job you can tackle, yet there are no job requirements (other than having kids). It doesn't require getting a child care license, serving an apprenticeship, passing an exam, or getting a degree. Worst of all, no instruction manual comes with the kids. You certainly wouldn't buy a refrigerator or computer that came with so little back-up information.

Self-injury Concern
Symptoms include refusal to wear shorts or short sleeve shirts, frequent "accidents" leaving bruises or scratches, increased secrecy, isolation and withdrawal. If you see any indication that your child may be involved, or tempted to be involved, in this type of activity please contact your pediatrician or medical insurance immediately. For families without medical coverage, or wanting a local counseling clinic,

Discovery Counseling Center (downtown Danville) has counseling services available at 837-0505.
This web site is for general information only so do not substitute these informational sources for immediate professional help.