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Southlake Style

Five Minutes with.....Nicole Stolle

Aug 07, 2017 01:45PM ● By Ashley Pape

If your little Dragons have a few back-to-school jitters, Nicole Stolle has some helpful advice. In her 29-year career in education, the Old Union Elementary counselor has helped students have not only a phenomenal first day of school but also a successful school year. Here’s how Dragons can seize the day on August 28 and beyond. 

MOST REWARDING PART OF MY JOB IS: being able to comfort, problem-solve, support and listen to students when they are experiencing something challenging or new. Most of all, I am able to be students’ cheerleader. Working with children through the hard stuff and being a positive influence on the lives of young learners is what I find most rewarding. 

PARENTS CAN HELP KIDS PREPARE FOR THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL BY: attending Meet the Teacher, visiting the school and playground, and meeting neighborhood friends. If you have a fearful child, give your Dragon a small family token or picture to provide some comfort as he or she enters the new classroom. 

MY BEST ADVICE AT THE START OF THE SCHOOL YEAR IS: to stay positive. Talk about having fun, learning something new and making friends. Describe what the school day will look like and leave an encouraging note for your child to read either in a lunchbox or folder. Having jitters about the first day of school or starting at a new school is common. Listen to your child’s fears and provide encouraging words. I also recommend reading books together about trying new things. 

ON THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, I ENCOURAGE PARENTS TO: set aside time before and after school to make this an important day. It will be an emotional day for you as well! I also encourage you to meet other families and begin building relationships. 

I BEGIN EACH DAY BY: greeting students and parents before school with a smile and a hello. Students will run up to me and give me a hug or a high five. They appreciate walking into a positive, happy school. Then my day will follow with guidance lessons, lunch groups, parent meetings and teacher collaborations. As a counselor, each day is different, and I have to be flexible and willing to talk with students in crisis as the need arises. 

AS THE YEAR PROGRESSES, I ENJOY: watching students evolve into passionate and caring Dragons. At the beginning of the year, I spend time with new students and families. I help kids find friends and transition to a new school or grade level. I always focus on social and emotional connections. During the year, I am able to teach each class about the importance of kindness and positive character, as well as teamwork, problem-solving and safety. As a counselor, I am able to help students with strategies to persevere through the different challenges that occur. 

MORE THAN ANYTHING, I LIKE TO EMPHASIZE: kindness. I read “How Full is Your Bucket?” by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer. The book is about filling other people’s imaginary buckets with kindness, helpfulness and integrity. If kids can think about themselves and others with compassion and sincerity, their year will be a success in so many ways. 

PARENTS CAN GET INSIGHT INTO THEIR KIDS’ SCHOOL DAY BY: asking some conversation-sparking questions. What was the best thing about today? Describe how you were a good friend. How can you help your teacher or friends? Tell me the high and low for the day. 

MY FAVORITE DRAGON MOMENT: was ringing the Dragon Bell after I was hired at Carroll. All new employees get the opportunity to ring the bell and become a member of the Dragon family. Dragon traditions are what I love best. The small-school environment creates a family feeling, and I love that comfort.