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Michael O'Roark

Dover Middle School


Guidance Counselor




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The counselors at Dover Middle School consist of guidance counselors, a school psychologist and social workers that work as a team with students, parents and teachers. The primary function of this team is to counsel with students on any matter that they feel is important. Many students expect a counselor to solve problems. This is not always possible. What a counselor can do is help students [and their families] select a possible solution to a problem and continue to help select possible solutions until things improve.

Students are referred to the counselors through self-referrals, teachers/staff, other students, parents, administrators and the nurse. All issues discussed with a student and/or parents are kept in strict confidence. Some of the subjects that have been discussed with counselors include peer relationships, divorce, loss of a loved one, peer pressure, self-esteem, personal difficulties, choices, drugs and their dangers, personal/family difficulties, expressing and managing feelings [anger, sadness, jealousy, etc.], effective communication, homework, grades, student/parent relationships, student/teacher relationships, courses required for graduation, career exploration, job descriptions, setting goals and other concerns.

In addition to the services mentioned above, counselors work with students in group settings, such as group counseling and mediation, to effectively reach those with common concerns and issues. Group counseling provides a safe haven for students to share feelings and receive support when facing certain issues such as divorce, etc. Mediation between peers, teachers, etc. is sometimes necessary as a solution for an issue or concern.

Counselors provide information and resources to parents, teachers, and community members on a variety of issues and assist in facilitating referrals to outside agencies including but not limited to outside therapists/psychiatrists, hospital programs, out of district school programs, and the PINS process. Placement reviews and planning occurs with information gathering that includes teachers, administration, parents, psychologists and guidance counselors.

Additional Guidance Services

  • Facilitation of parent/teacher conferences. Requests by either teachers or parents for team meetings are scheduled through the guidance secretary and usually take place during a team-meeting period [when a team of teachers share the same free period], or at 12:30.
  • Academic planning occurs in January for scheduling eighth graders into the ninth grade. An important part of this process is the involvement of the parents/guardians. The middle school counselors work in conjunction with the high school counselors to make this process a smooth one.
  • Orientation for incoming sixth graders helps ease the tensions for both students and parents.
  • Schedule changes are done only on an as needed basis.

Psychological & Social Worker Services

In addition the Psychologist and Social Workers offer the following services:

  • Identifying students in need of special education and 504 Accommodation Plans and facilitating the implementation of these services.
  • Assessment of student's levels and abilities in academic, cognitive and social/emotional realms. The information gathered by the psychologist helps to identify if the student is in need of services in school and at what level these services should take place.
  • Referring eligible students to the Committee on Special Education [CSE]. The CSE will meet and determine if the student is qualified to obtain services provided through the school and will work to develop an Individual Education Plan [IEP] for the student.
  • Developing Functional Behavioral Assessment [FBA] and a Behavior Intervention Plan [BIP]. These plans help in understanding what function the student's behavior serves and in turn helps the teachers with strategies aimed at addressing student needs and thus helps the student achieve his/her goals.
  • Provide counseling services akin to the guidance staff and often times counsel students on a more frequent or long-term basis.

How to Meet with the Counselor

Guidance Counselors

Students should make an effort to meet and get to know his/her guidance counselor. To meet with a counselor, students are encouraged to make an appointment with the guidance secretary who will make every effort to schedule appointments for them on that day. The best times to see a counselor are during lunch, homeroom, or after school. If an emergency arises, students are required to get a pass from a teacher to see the counselor.


   Family Involvement in Education
This web site provides an annotated list of publications of interest to parents about the topic of family involvement in education. Click on the title and view additional information about the publication. Titles include: "Be Family Friendly, It's Good Business"; "Building Business and Community Partnerships for Learning"; and "Get Involved! How Parents and Families Can Help Their Children Do Better in School". This site is also listed on the AEA 6 Early Childhood Teacher/Parent Partnership web page.

  National Center for Family Literacy
The National Center for Family Literacy is a non-profit organization supporting family literacy services for families across the United States through programming, training, research, advocacy and dissemination.

  National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education
The National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education (NCPIE) is dedicated to developing effective family/school partnerships in schools throughout America. Click on resources to find publications from member organizations that are useful in developing family/school partnerships. Also at this website is a link providing guidelines for schools and school districts in involving parents. This site is also listed on the AEA 6 Early Childhood Teacher/Parent Partnership web page.

© Dover UFSD, Updated 2005 by Mr. Spence DMS Webmaster.

Dover Middle School   2368 Route 22   Dover Plains, NY 12522   Phone: (845) 877-5740   Fax: (845) 877-5749

The Dover Union Free School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age in its programs and activities.  
The following people have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies:

Donna Basting, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Staff Development, and Technology
2368 Route 22, Dover Plains, NY  12522
845-877-5700 x1233 

Genie Angelis, High School Principal
2368 Route 22, Dover Plains, NY  12522
845-877-5700 x1143

For further information on notice of non-discrimination, visit for the address and phone number of the office that serves your area, or call 1-800-421-3481.

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