Counselor's Corner 


I am excited to connect with you through PTO this year. Each week I will provide updates on ways the counseling team is supporting children and families. Then, I will provide resources that will help all of you navigate school, parenting, and COVID. 


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me (


Counselor’s Corner 9.16.22

9/19/2022 9:06 am

Hello families! Lots of updates this week!

Classroom Guidance 

We have had a great September so far. K/1’s are learning all about feelings and how there are no “bad” feelings, just uncomfortable/comfortable ones. Be on the lookout for a colored heart worksheet where your children colored the feelings that are in their own hearts. In 2/3 classrooms we are discussing “size of the problem,” comparing problem sizes to weather intensity! In 4th/5th classes we are discussing coping skills for various feelings: sadness, worry, angry, etc. I will always send home a parent letter on days that I am in your child’s classroom outlining what we did. 

Start With Hello Week

One way we are celebrating our District commitment to student and staff well-being is by celebrating Start with Hello during the week of September 19-23, 2022. Start with Hello is a week dedicated to making new social connections by engaging in conversation with one another to create a sense of belonging among young people. Start with Hello gives us an opportunity to practice engaging in conversation with one another and celebrating the importance of inclusive connections.

In our school community, you may notice or hear your student talking about wearing name tags, saying hello to others, writing welcome messages on the blacktop and glass, or learning about being inclusive in morning meetings, all of which provides an opportunity to connect compassionately and show an appreciation for new and future friends.

Counselor’s Corner 9.10.22

9/12/2022 11:15 am

Classroom Guidance

I will be in classrooms again in September. K/1 classrooms will be receiving two lessons: a lesson on feelings and a social skills lesson that we are still creating based on each classroom’s needs. 2/3 classrooms will be receiving a lesson on “size of the problem.” This lesson aims to teach children how to problem solve and respond appropriately to issues that arise. 4/5  classrooms will be receiving a lesson on feelings vocabulary and coping skills. Whenever I am in your child’s classroom, I will be sending them home with a “parent letter,” describing in more detail what we did and how you can reinforce this new learning at home!


Upcoming Fall Counseling Groups


Breathe For Change Movement, B4CM:

Target start date 9/23:

You are invited to help change the world, beginning with ourselves!  

All K-5th grade students are welcome to join the 2022-2023 Breathe For Change Movement or B4CM for short.  Breathe For Change Movement is a *new* student-run club whose aim is to explore social-emotional learning and embody wellness practices to focus one's mind, connect with one's body, express creativity, form meaningful connections, and experience a deep sense of calm and relaxation.  Breathe For Change is not just a club but an initiative or Movement using movement and breath to make changes in ourselves and ripple out positive changes for our families, community, and the world. 

Here is the form to sign up:


Grief Group:

Target start date: TBD, ~ end of September/early October

This group is run by me and OhioHealth Bereavement Services. This is a team of social workers who specialize in grief counseling and offer their support and services to schools. This group is for children who have experienced the loss of a loved one. If your student was a part of this group in the spring of 2022, they are welcome to sign up again. 


Here is the permission slip:


Please email permission slips to me at or print and deliver to homeroom teachers. Once we get an idea of interest, we can begin to plan dates and times. 


TOAD Talks:

Target start date: TBD, ~ end of September/early October

TOAD: Talking to Others About Diversity. This group is an opportunity for students to learn about diverse cultures through books, crafts, and other engaging activities. This group is run by a team of high school students from Upper Arlington. So awesome! Due to scheduling conflicts, this group will be meeting after school once a month as opposed to the lunch hour last year. 


Look for details and sign-up information soon.. 

Counselor's Corner 9.5.22

9/6/2022 9:13 am

Happy holiday weekend, families! 

What a wonderful three weeks it has been. I have been able to visit every classroom to do a “meet the school counselor lesson” in the past two weeks, except for Mrs. Kernen’s K/1 class (next week!!). It has been a joy to get to know your children and hear their vision for their school and community.  


Classroom Guidance 

I will be in classrooms again in September. K/1 classrooms will be receiving two lessons: a lesson on feelings and a social skills lesson that we are still creating based on each classroom’s needs. 2/3 classrooms will be receiving a lesson on “size of the problem.” This lesson aims to teach children how to problem solve and respond appropriately to issues that arise. 4/5  classrooms will be receiving a lesson on feelings vocabulary and coping skills. Whenever I am in your child’s classroom, I will be sending them home with a “parent letter,” describing in more detail what we did and how you can reinforce this new learning at home!

Counselor's Corner 8.29.22

8/29/2022 8:56 am

Hello, families! 

Please see my video here greeting you and introducing myself. 

We had a great first week at Wickliffe. I was able to meet many of your children out on the playground and in their classrooms. There was much joy to be found! My focus this past week has been assisting with Guided Recess - a routine we are implementing to help students learn how to have safe and kind bodies on the playground. 

This upcoming week, I am starting classroom lessons! The first lesson will be introducing myself and the role of a school counselor, to include important information like how to find me in the building and all the ways I can support the students. 

We will start formulating a plan for student lunch groups in September based on what needs are arising from kids. 

I had some families unsure about how to reach me. My email is I’m looking forward to hearing from you! 

All the best,

Renee Shaffer

Counselor's Corner 5.31.2022

5/31/2022 4:05 pm

Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth said it the best when they sang “For Good” in the Broadway production of Wicked. So as I write my last PTO Newsletter, please accept these lyrics as a thank you for the last incredible 19 years. Because I knew each of you and your amazing children, I have been changed for good.

I've heard it said

That people come into our lives for a reason

Bringing something we must learn

And we are led

To those who help us most to grow

If we let them

And we help them in return….


So let me say before we part

So much of me

Is made of what I learned from you...

You'll be with me

Like a handprint on my heart

And now whatever way our stories end

I know you have re-written mine

By being my friend

Because I knew you

Because I knew you

I have been changed for good


With love,


Counselor's Corner - 5.24.2022

5/17/2022 8:32 am

In just a matter of days, the kids will be on summer break! Have a great break and try some of these ideas for fun!

1. Have screen-free summer days 

There are so many things to do in Columbus over the summer! Take a break from your devices and go explore! Things to do and places to visit:

  • Franklin Park Conservatory – The conservatory has classes and programs throughout the summer.

  • The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium – Visit the zoo to see all of the new animals born over the winter!

  • COSI - The Center of Science and Industry always has different events and exhibits - sign up for their e-newsletter to get all the info!

  • Festivals and events: Columbus Asian Festival (May 28-29, virtual), Columbus Arts Festival (June 10-12), Red, White, and BOOM (July 1), and The Ohio State Fair (July 27-August 7) are just a few of our favorites! For more, visit

  • Play outside! Summer is a great time to spend time outdoors and get some exercise. Kids can play in their neighborhoods, a local park, or one of the beautiful free metro parks! Check out the natural play area at Highbanks Metro Park, or find one close to you at

  • Too hot to play outside? Visit COSI, the Columbus Museum of Art, or take a free trip to the Statehouse.

  • Stratford Ecological Center – The ecological center runs all kinds of programs all summer long from beekeeping to book talks. Find out more about the center and their programs at

  • Technology tip – When kids do use their devices, it’s important to consider age restrictions on social media. This article (from 2014) explains why social media age restrictions matter.

  • The Upper Arlington, Columbus Metropolitan and other libraries around town offer free, fun and educational programming.

2. Be safe

Summer is a great time to play outside or in the pool! Have fun while staying safe!

  • There should always be an adult watching when kids are in or around water. 

  • Wear a properly fitted life jacket if you go boating.

  • Beat the heat: Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. On hot days, schedule outdoor activities during morning and evening hours.

  • Prevent sunburns: Cover up your skin and use sunscreen every time you go outside.

  • Use bug spray and check for ticks when spending time outdoors.

3. Learn a new skill

Do you have a lot of free time during the day that you would normally spend at school? Why not learn a new skill! Learning new skills is fun! Some can even help you relax once the school year begins again.

  • Learn to cook: Ask family members to teach you their favorite recipes, or look one up together!

  • Get artistic. Summer gives us beautiful scenes to draw or paint! Look outdoors for inspiration, and draw or paint what you see. Or use a device or camera to take pictures!

  • Music: Do you have an instrument in your house? Ask your grownups for permission to look up lessons on YouTube and start creating music!

  • Help your family around the house. As kids get older, they can handle more responsibility around the house. Summer could be a great time to learn how to help! Learn the dog walking route or how to help clean the kitchen.

  • Learn a new language. Did you know that kids are better at learning new languages than adults? Now is the perfect time to learn! Ask someone who speaks another language to teach you, or use an app with your grownups’ permission. Here are some app suggestions:

  • Get crafty. There are so many crafts you could make in the summer! Check out these flowers you can make out of toilet paper rolls:

4. Have fun!

We hope you have a fun and relaxing summer! Taking time for fun and play is important for your health and wellbeing. It will also help you start next school year as your best self. We can’t wait to hear about everything you do and learn over the summer!

Please do not hesitate to contact the members of the Wickliffe counseling team if you have any questions or concerns!

Felice R. Kassoy

Counselors' Corner 5.10.2022

5/3/2022 11:05 am

Food for Thought

Creating a welcoming place for all students and families is an ongoing goal at Wickliffe. One of the many ways to broaden our understanding of each other is to engage in conversations with our children about different cultures. This video is a great introduction to teach young children this concept.

Another way to teach children about diversity is by learning about the different *heritage* months designated by our government. May 1 was the first day of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. Here's a great  article that explains why it's more important than ever to teach kids about AAPI culture and history, plus it includes fun activities for celebrating together. In addition, this care package from the Smithsonian provides additional resources for us as adults to grow in our understanding of AAPI heritage.

Jewish Heritage Month is also celebrated in May. This article provides links to exhibits, collections, and videos geared toward adults. And on the ADL website there is a list of K-12 educational and family resources to bring Jewish American Heritage Month to schools, communities, and homes.

Thank you for having these important conversations with your children. They are our hope for the future.

Felice (and the rest of the counseling team)

Counselors' Corner 4.26.2022

4/26/2022 10:32 am

Mental wellbeing is always important, but especially as we continue to find our way through this [hopefully almost over] pandemic and its repercussions. The toll it has taken on our kids' social and mental health is real, but the good news is there are many resources to help. 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and the Counseling Team is here, now and always, to help everyone in our Wickliffe family take care of themselves and their loved ones. It is a good time to assess our kids' mental health, our own, and check in with those close to us... with empathy.  
Some resources:
  • Syntero - provides compassionate, professional, expert counseling and community-based services
  • On Our Sleeves - the movement for children's mental health
  • The Wickliffe Counseling Team - focused on kindergarten through fifth grade mental wellbeing with the bonus of knowing the Wickliffe kids

Let us know how we can collaborate!

Felice (and the rest of the counseling team)

Counselors' Corner 4.19.2022

4/18/2022 5:52 pm

Counseling team updates:

As the school year is coming to a close and we are starting to think about the transition to a new counseling team, your feedback about aspects of our current program would be greatly appreciated. 

Collaborating with colleagues and families as co-educators to meet children’s needs is a Foundational Principle that guides us. So, please be on the lookout for a Google survey to share your thoughts that will help shape the future of our Comprehensive School Counseling Program (CSCP). 

Food for Thought:

It is that time of year, again…Earth Day!

This article explains the  history of Earth Day which began in 1970, when a United States senator from Wisconsin organized a national demonstration to raise awareness about environmental issues. Since then, every April 22, people from around the world have been engaging in educational opportunities and activities to protect our planet.

As we continue to emerge from COVID and find ways to move kids off their screens and back outdoors, I would like to share some helpful information that I found through National Geographic for Kids to help celebrate Earth Day.

Here are some kid-friendly tips to save the earth. And here is an article on kids vs plastic that has fun ways to get the entire family involved.

So as the signs of spring are *blooming* around us, let’s use this as an opportunity to teach our kiddos about taking care of our planet.


Felice, Megan, Julia, and Three Sarahs (Moyer, Perry, and Lemery)

Counseling team update 4.12.2022

3/22/2022 7:34 am

Dear Families,

Words truly seem inadequate to express my gratitude for receiving The Golden Apple Award. It has been both an honor and a privilege to be part of the Wickliffe community for almost 20 years. Having a career in education for the last four and a half decades has given me unending joy and a deep sense of purpose.

Thank you for the outpouring of love that I have received. It is just one more example of how we #LoveOutLoud!