Student Life

Counselors' Corner

Welcome to the Counselors' Corner. Please check back every month to learn more as Ms. Evelyn, Ms. Aiello, and Ms. Kaslow address and explore topics that are currently top-of-mind. This month, you can read about ways to make new friends and how to reconnect with old friends and acquaintances. 

List of 15 news stories.

  • Ways to Make New Friends and to Reconnect with Old Friends

    Dear York Prep Community,
     
    After two years of uncertainty with the pandemic in our midst, we returned to school last Thursday.  We entered the building with hope for a more stable year. We know how the pandemic has affected our students' learning, but what about their friendships and connections to others? The pandemic has created challenges for friendships and other relationships. Many relationships have been sidelined, often due to not being physically present with friends and loved ones. Friendship and connection are beneficial for our mental and physical health. As we move back into our lives fully, we may look at friendships through a new lens. What can we do to reconnect with existing friendships? How do we make new friends? And are there friendships we need to reevaluate?  Below are some tips to help you reconnect with old friends and make new ones.
     
    Reconnecting with old friends: 
     
    Your closest friends are likely at the top of your list, but what about friends you saw regularly but weren’t close enough to stay in touch? Below are tips to get you started:
     
    • Don’t be passive, reach out:  Oftentimes we think friendships happen organically.  Meeting a person can happen organically, but friendships require effort. Be a part of your friends’ life. Be proactive, let them know you’ve thought about them, or share a memory. ”Remember when we did ______?” Ask how they are doing.
     
       
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    • Tips for Staying Both Motivated and Healthy As We Approach the End of the School Year

      Dear York Prep Community,                                                       
       
      It’s only natural to notice a decline in motivation as the school year draws to a close. As the nice weather arrives and summer break is within sight, it’s easy to feel the urge to slack off and coast through the spring quarter. However, the school year is not yet over and there is a lot to accomplish. Staying motivated is a challenge, but it is essential to your current and future successes. Whether you're a sixth grader trying to get through your first year of middle school at a new school or a senior battling a case of “senioritis” it’s important to stay on track these next few months.  Maintaining a disciplined work ethic is no easy task, but with enough effort and planning, you can thrive and finish the school year strong. Here are some tips to help you through the springtime slump.

      Get Organized
      Fourth quarter is often associated with upcoming change. For example, if you're a senior, you're getting ready to graduate and start a new chapter of life. If you're entering another year of middle school or high school, summer provides the opportunity to find internships, work, volunteer, travel, attend camp, and more. In trying to balance your academics with your upcoming plans, it can be hard to maintain your focus and motivation. For that reason, you'll need to come up with an organizational method for keeping yourself on track. Whether it's a daily planner, spreadsheet, a calendar, or some other strategy, staying current with your work will make for a much less stressful fourth quarter. 

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    • Talking to Your Children About the Crisis in Ukraine

      Dear York Prep Community,                                                                                      
       
      As we returned back to school from winter break, most of our students have heard about the Russian invasion in Ukraine. As a result they are having a lot of feelings. Due to social media and online outlets, our children have access to news sources 24 hours a day. Unfortunately, images of the unrest, wounded civilians, destroyed buildings, and families standing in lines to leave their country for safety are plastered across television screens, newspapers and the internet. Some children, regardless of age, are more vulnerable to anxiety than others. This  news may heighten their anxiety. They may have questions about the history of the two countries and how this current situation may affect the rest of the world. Some students have asked if this is World War III­–another asked if New York City would be bombed. These questions are amongst many that our children are thinking about. Many parents, teachers and caregivers are wondering how to answer questions and provide support for children. Below are a few tips to help you navigate this difficult time. 
       
      Tips for communicating/supporting students:
       
      • If a child is interested in what is happening, validate their feelings and don’t dismiss fears and questions. You want to keep information simple, brief, and direct. Children look to adults for calm, reassurance, and perspective.
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    • Techniques and Recommendations For Building a Healthy Relationship With and Promoting Overall Well-being For Your Children

      Dear York Prep Community,                                                                          
       
      As Parents, it’s important to ensure that our children feel supported throughout all stages of development. This will look differently depending on their age, but building a foundation of skills and consistency, can support healthy outcomes. Below are techniques and recommendations to foster your child’s overall well-being, and build a healthy relationship with them.
       
      1) Keep communication open and honest: 
       
      It’s important that your child knows they can come to you with any issue, and critical that they are received with love and support. Simply letting them know, regularly, that you are there to listen to them without judgment, will increase their likelihood they’ll come to you when they have a problem. 
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    • Wellness Tools to Add to Your Routine This Month

      Dear York Prep Community,                                                                          
       
      As Parents, it’s important to ensure that our children feel supported throughout all stages of development. This will look differently depending on their age, but building a foundation of skills and consistency, can support healthy outcomes. Below are techniques and recommendations to foster your child’s overall well-being, and build a healthy relationship with them.
       
      1) Keep communication open and honest: 
       
      It’s important that your child knows they can come to you with any issue, and critical that they are received with love and support. Simply letting them know, regularly, that you are there to listen to them without judgment, will increase their likelihood they’ll come to you when they have a problem. 
      Read More
    • Setting Goals for the New Year

      Dear York Community,                                                                       
       
      This week our students are working hard, taking their midterm exams, and beginning the winter break! The holidays can be a joyous time. It can also be a very busy time with family and friends, thinking of things we are grateful for, and thinking ahead to the New Year. Making New Year’s resolutions have become part of the holiday season as we think ahead to a New Year. We all know the success rates for New Year’s resolutions aren’t always great. We start off the New Year with such hope, and often just days later, we’re back to our old habits. Goal setting is hard enough for adults, so you can imagine the challenges it holds for teens.
       
      Below are five things you can do to help your teen set, and achieve goals:
       
      • Encourage passion: It’s important for teens to choose goals that matter to them.  Ask them what they’re looking forward to this year, and what they have been thinking about.

      • Start small: Start with small achievable goals to build confidence. Once that goal has been achieved, encourage them to choose another achievable goal.

      • Get it in writing: Recording goals can be clarifying and motivating.  Help your teen formulate SMART goals which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. See chart below. Encourage teens to post their goal sheet in a place where they can see it everyday.  This will help them share it with a friend or family members.  Recording goals and sharing them with others can increase the likelihood of achieving them.
       
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    • Safeguarding your Mental Health Over the Holidays

      Dear York Prep Community,
       
      Society often evokes a lot of messages around the holidays being “the most wonderful time of the year,” and although it may be full of joy, it can also bring up a lot of difficult feelings. There is a lot of time and emphasis placed on socialization, family time, food, alcohol, and traditions, which can be challenging to navigate. This can highlight family conflict and values, issues related to food and substance misuse, grief and loss, financial strain, and loneliness. It may also disrupt routine and structure, which can impact our student population. With that, it is important to set aside time to protect your mental health so that you can truly enjoy the holidays and focus on the people you love. Here are some tips and strategies for a healthier you over the holidays season.
       
      Strategies for Safeguarding your Mental Health Over the Holidays
       
      Set Realistic Expectations- Setting realistic expectations for the holidays can be beneficial in reducing stress. We often create stress to achieve unrealistic holiday goals, which can lead to disappointment. Remember, these are just days, so try not to attach excessive emotional connotations to them. Events have the meaning we ascribe to them, and a few days each year cannot rectify the past or determine the future.
       
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    • National Bullying Prevention Month: Tips on How to Deal With Bulllying

      Dear York Prep Community,

      As we move right along into another school year, we’d like to highlight that October is National Bullying Prevention Month. National Bullying Prevention Month was founded in 2006 by PACER’s National Bully Prevention Centers. Throughout the month of October, communities nationwide unite together to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention. 

      The first step in addressing any problem is awareness. Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among students that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.  Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.  Bullying can also take place through technology, known as cyberbullying.  Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.

      At York Prep we have a zero tolerance policy for bullying. We encourage an inclusive community in which students support and motivate one another. However, if a student has experienced some of these unwanted actions towards them, we highly encourage them to speak up. The school counselors and deans work closely to address and find solutions to any instances of bullying. If you or someone you know may be a victim of bullying, please consider the following: 

      • Bullying directly affects students’ ability to learn. According to the Center for Disease Control, students who are bullied are more likely to experience low self-esteem and isolation, perform poorly in school, have few friends in school, have a negative view of school, experience physical symptoms, and experience mental health issues.
      Read More
    • Transitioning Back to Full-time, In-person School

      Dear York Prep Community,
       
      We hope you all had a wonderful summer! We are so excited to return to school wide in-person learning. Please join us in welcoming Ms. Alison Kaslow to the Wellness team!
       
      We are aware the transition back to full-time school may be challenging for some. Heading back to school is always a big event. This fall, in addition to students returning to school, some parents are going back to offices, making big changes for some families. For our students, it will mean returning  to school-related activities and expectations suspended during remote learning. 
      Although most students will be excited to return, especially those who remained remote since the beginning of the pandemic, some may experience challenges. The full impact of the pandemic on children’s mental health will take time to understand. They may experience anxiety, complain of feeling stressed, describe feeling nervous or having difficulty concentrating.  It is important for us to continue to monitor their emotional well-being. We recommend that you check in regularly with your child about their thoughts and feelings related to school. These are normal reactions to a traumatic year.
       
      Parents can help teens cope with stress in the following ways:
       
      • Be aware of your child’s stress and monitor if it’s affecting their behavior, thoughts, or feelings.
      • Listen carefully to your child and watch for “emotional overloading” (ie. feeling overwhelmed, panicked, expressing fear)
      • Learn and encourage stress management techniques
      • Encourage involvement in exercise, sports and other social activities.
       
      Read More
    • Taking Time for Self-Care This Summer

      Dear York Prep Students & Families,                                                                            
       
      Congratulations on making it through another school year! When faced with adversity, you demonstrated resilience and stayed the course. We are so proud of the hard work and commitment you displayed this year. Now that finals are behind us and summer is upon us, it’s time for some much needed self care. It’s vital to your well being that you take this time to rest, recharge and be intentional about taking care of yourself. The practices we cultivate in the summer months prepare us for the year ahead and can also be called upon when the deadlines and stressors of school resurface. Unsure of where or how to get started? Here is a list of suggestions you can try. We encourage you to incorporate at least one if not all of these practices into your daily routine.

      1. Transfer treatment to accommodate your summer schedule
      If you are in therapy or some type or treatment at school, it’s important to think about what you will do over the summer. Talk with your therapist or other provider about what they think is best for you. There are different options available when it comes to transferring treatment such as: video or phone sessions with current provider, find a therapist where you are going if you’re traveling or doing a summer program or take a break from therapy for the summer months

      Read More
    • Mental Health Awareness Month

      Dear York Prep Community,
       
      May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Unfortunately, every year millions of Americans face the reality of living with mental illness. During the month of May NAMI (National Alliance On Mental Health) raises awareness about mental health. Their organization helps fight the stigma of mental illness, provides support, educates the public, and advocates for policies that support people with mental illness and their families.
       
      Please see the below slideshow to learn more about mental health awareness and how to support the young people in your life.
       
       
      Best,
      Ms. Evelyn Rowe-Cosentino and Ms. Lizzy Aiello
       
    • Four Ways to Help Your Children Build Resilience Through Understanding Their Emotions

       Dear York Prep Community,                                                                      

      We have surpassed the one year anniversary since the pandemic began. With the passing of time, children have been tested on how to manage an array of challenging emotions. Many students report feeling lonelier than usual and losing connection with their peers, academics, co-curriculars, and hobbies. As caregivers and educators, our first instinct is to reassure our children and sweep away their worries. However, there is another route that may serve them better in the long run. We can take this moment to help our children embrace duality; emotions can be both good and bad. A child who understands their emotions will be better prepared to deal with challenging situations in the future. In fact, our children may find that if they can withstand emotional discomfort, they will come out of this pandemic with more freedom then they had  before.  Here are some tips we can use to help our children make room for uncomfortable emotions.
       
      Practice Tolerating Uncomfortable Emotions: Uncomfortable emotions serve a purpose. If you encountered a bear in the wilderness, anxiety and fear would be a normal emotional response alerting us there is danger. We can teach our children that just because they feel fear or nervousness, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing. If we avoid the discomfort, we may be exacerbating the problem. If we face the fear (when it’s safe to do so), we can show our children how capable they are and in turn boost their confidence. Teach your child how to use uncomfortable situations as opportunities for growth.
       
      Read More
    • What Is SEL and Why Is It Important?

      Dear York Prep Community,                                                                                           
       
      Over the past few years we’ve been hearing terms such as the whole child, social emotional learning (SEL) and character education. What is social emotional learning and why is it important? Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is a methodology that helps students of all ages to better understand their emotions, to feel those emotions fully, and demonstrate empathy for others. These learned behaviors are then used to help students make positive, responsible decisions; create frameworks to achieve their goals, and build positive relationships with others and students in their communities. Here at York, when students are in grades 6-8 they attend community classes. One of those sections is Mentoring, where the focus is on Social Emotional Learning. As a community, we value character and believe reinforcing these skills will help our students beyond their academic life to make good choices as adults. Below are the five core competencies of SEL:
       
      Self Awareness: The ability to recognize and understand how your emotions, thoughts, and values impact your behavior.
       
      Self Management: The ability to regulate your emotions, thoughts, and behavior in varying situations as well as motivate yourself to cope with stress. 
       
      Social awareness: The ability to understand other points of view, show empathy, respect diversity, and understand social norms. This skill enables relationships/friendships to thrive.
       
      Relationship skills: The ability to build and maintain healthy and fulfilling relationships with others. While we are wired for relationships, connection, and community, these skills need to be developed. The focus is on listening to and being able to communicate with others, peacefully resolving conflict, and knowing when to ask for or offer help.
       
      Making responsible decisions: The ability to think about how what you do impacts yourself and others. Learning how to make constructive choices about how to act or respond to a situation based on learned behaviors such as ethics, safety , weighing consequences and well-being of others, as well as yourself.
      Read More
    • Encouraging a Positive Back-To-School Transition

      Dear York Prep Community,
       
      The pandemic has caused major disruptions to daily life, and children are feeling these changes deeply. While the return to school will be not only welcome and exciting for many students, others may be feeling anxious or frightened. Levels of anxiety and stress may be high, and caregivers play an influential role in helping their children cope. Encouraging a positive back-to-school transition can help reduce a child’s anxiety and worries. Here are tips to help navigate some of the complicated emotions students may be facing about going back to school.
       
      Keep lines of communication open. Students may feel nervous or reluctant to return to school especially if they have been learning at home for months. Be honest in conversations with them. For example, talking through some of the changes they can expect at school.

      Create a pros & cons list. What is working for you with remote or in person learning? What is not? What are circumstances that are specific to you and your family? Write these down.
       
      Reinforce the positives. Students may feel excited about seeing friends and teachers (if they are physically returning to the classroom), enjoy time away from home and switching up the routine.

      Empower them to make healthy decisions. Taking precautions (such as face masks, frequent hand washing, physical distancing, etc.) at school will help to keep them and their families safe, and instill a sense of control during these uncertain times.

      Support a flexible mindset.
      Letting your kids know ahead of time that schools may need to close again will help them to be prepared for the period of adjustment ahead.

      Respect others’ decisions but know what is right for you. We all handle the news differently. You may know someone stocking up on masks and paper goods; others may be continuing to see many of their friends. Let them go about their business, and think about what you need to do for you, your family and your own physical and emotional well-being.

      Be patient with yourself.  The pandemic has been a marathon of adjustments and now that we’ve all gotten comfortable with staying home and living our lives online, it can be challenging to return to school IRL. Show yourself some grace as we transition away from being at home and re-adjust to being in the physical presence of teachers & peers.
      Read More
    • Helping Your Child To Navigate Remote Learning

      Dear Parents,
       
      As we respond to the increasing COVID-19 positivity rates in New York City, we continue to think of our students and want to share some resources on how best to support them with remote learning.


      Establish a schedule
      Help your child establish a schedule for remote learning. This provides students with a sense of predictability of what to expect each day. It also promotes healthy sleep schedules, nutrition, and physical health.
       
      Establish a dedicated space for school
      If space permits, it is recommended that students have a designated space for remote school. It is important to keep this space organized so students have access to what they need throughout the school day. Headphones can be helpful to reduce distractions.
       
      Incorporate “transitions”
      In our pre-covid lives, we had many transitions throughout our day such as the commute to and from school, the ring of the school bell between classes, a lunch break, etc. to delineate a change in events and shifted mindset. Encourage your children to incorporate transitions into their day when possible. For example, at the end of the school day, go for a walk to help shift the energy from classes onto evening routines, hobbies and play.
       
      Validate their experiences
      Providing validation about your child’s experiences can make them feel supported. Provide opportunities for your child to share their thoughts and feelings with you about remote learning.
       
      Read More
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    Quick Tips for Everyday Wellness
    Send kind wishes to five people. "Smell the chocolate fountain" on Coronation Day. Try Buddy breathing. These are just three mindfulness activities to try with your children. Click below and learn about all 23 mindfulness activities that you can do right now!
    When anxiety hits, we don’t always have a lot of time to deal with it. We may have to run off to our next meeting, pick up the kids, or get dinner on the table.  These quick, simple exercises will help get your anxiety back under control in minutes.

    Counselors' Corner

    Meet the York Prep Counseling and Wellness Team
    Evelyn Rowe-Cosentino

    Evelyn Rowe-Cosentino is a psychotherapist licensed as a Creative Arts Therapist and certified as a group psychotherapist and mother-daughter coach. She has a private practice in the heart of New York City where she also serves as a clinical consultant to the Alvin Ailey dance company and facilitates workshops on adolescent development.
     
    Ms. Rowe-Cosentino received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from St. Joseph’s College and her Master’s degree from New York University. She is trained in Psychoanalysis, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Trauma focused therapy which includes treatment with first responders and children and families following our country’s tragedy on 9-11.
     
    Ms. Rowe-Cosentino has over 30 years of clinical experience working with children, adolescents, young adults and families. Her areas of expertise are depression, anxiety, ADHD, childhood trauma, substance abuse, and family systems work, with extensive experience working on both inpatient and outpatient psychiatric units with severely mentally ill patients.
     
    Ms. Rowe-Cosentino is a seasoned clinician who provides her students with a warm, welcoming and safe place to thrive. She is a working mother who cherishes her time with her family.  She also practices yoga and Pilates in her downtime and enjoys the outdoors.   
    Elizabeth Aiello

    Elizabeth Aiello is native to the New York City area. She is a passionate educator in the field of mental health and student support services. Ms. Aiello received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Hispanic Studies at Connecticut College and her Master's Degree in Clinical Social Work at Columbia University. Since 2013, Ms. Aiello has been a social worker and school counselor, mindfully leading students, faculty, and parents through personal and school-based challenges. Throughout her career, Ms. Aiello has expanded her expertise in managing school crises, teaching restorative practices, establishing parent partnerships, and developing academic and behavioral interventions that meet the individual needs of the student. Ms. Aiello views counseling youth as her life's work, and believes education can be the avenue through which empathy, healing, and justice are promoted. Ms. Aiello threads her mission for human rights through her counseling, mentorship, and volunteer endeavors. Ms. Aiello spends her spare time with her new baby & husband taking many walks and enjoying all that New York has to offer.
    Alison Kaslow

    Alison Kaslow is a licensed psychotherapist in the state of New York, whom received her Master’s degree in clinical social work at Fordham University, and bachelor’s degree in communications from UMASS Amherst. She then completed a two-year post graduate training program at The Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy, to become a certified family and couples therapist.

    Throughout her career, Alison has been working with adolescents and youth in school settings all across New York City’s boroughs, including higher education. She also spent time working at a weight loss and wellness retreat in upstate New York, encouraging and supporting the intersection of physical and mental health. Alison has always had a passion for working and advocating for youth in the school environment, and sees it as a daily opportunity to support students in the moment.

    Alison has an immense amount of gratitude for the individuals and families she works alongside, and looks forward to getting to know the York community! In her free time, she enjoys cooking, traveling, strolling the local farmers market, and spending time with her loved ones.