Recognizing National School Counseling Week

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This week, Feb. 6-10, 2023, recognizes the National School Counseling Week focusing public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors within U.S. school systems. 

Corpus Christi Catholic School (Holland, MI) is one of many places in our diocese where students go to learn coping strategies. It is a safe and welcoming environment for students that helps build a healthier community.

From their winter newsletter, “Here at Corpus Christi Catholic School, we recognize that academics and students are more  than a grade. The well being of the entire student is of great importance, meaning we care for their growth and development in academics, spirituality, and mental health. Through the contributions of our new Academic Dean, Katie Lookhart, and new Behavior Specialist, Katie Christoffersen, we have been able to provide many supports to our students to help them continue to grow in their knowledge, faith, and character.

This year, we have introduced common language across all grade levels to help students identify feelings, the reason behind them, and strategies to get back on track to learn. The teachers at Corpus Christi Catholic School have also done an amazing job at utilizing this common language, called the Zones of Regulation. Students are able to identify how they are feeling, choose strategies to help them in that moment, and work through how to return to a calmer mental state to be more focused and ready to learn. 

We help students to learn these techniques through Social Emotional Learning (SEL) lessons. Mrs. Christofferson has joined each class at Corpus Christi Catholic School to practice mindfulness, self-control, and identifying strategies for each Zone of Regulation. Additionally, individual time is provided to students in need of extra support. Students may need them at the moment or on a regular basis. These breaks, overseen by Mrs. Lookhart and Mrs. Christoffersen, help students use self control with their body, while also bringing themselves to
a state where they are ready to learn.

One of the ways students help regain their focus is taking a break in our sensory room throughout the day. The Sensory Room is a safe, welcoming environment for students to practice restorative skills and build a healthier community. Some students use this room for a movement break, getting out the energy that is distracting them from focusing in the classroom.
Other students may require a sensory break. This will include calming activities to refocus their mind and body. All feelings are welcomed and natural; however, we continue to empower the students of Corpus Christi Catholic School with the tools for better mental health so students can focus on their talents.

We are so grateful to be able to offer these resources to our students, and we would not be able to offer this without the generous support of our Knights of Columbus. The Sensory Room was completely funded through money raised from the most recent golf outings and Tootsie Roll drives. We are so thankful for our partnership with the Knights of Columbus so we can continue to meet the needs of all students and help them to grow into who God intended them to be!”

Katie Lookhart
Mrs. Lookhart begins her career with Corpus Christi as the Academic Dean. She has over 15 years of experience in education. During that time, she has been a science teacher, curriculum designer, assessment writer, and assistant principal both in public, virtual, and charter schools. She holds master’s degrees in Educational Leadership and Environmental Management. Her passion in these subjects inspired her to move her family to West Michigan where they are often found exploring outdoors. To her, it is a joy to be a part of the Catholic community, supporting students’ growth in academics and faith.

Katie Christoffersen
Mrs. Christoffersen joined the Corpus Christi family as Behavioral Specialist. She graduated from Grand Valley State University with a degree in Special Education, majoring in psychology, minoring in elementary education, and having endorsements in cognitive and emotional impairments. She worked previously in both the Rockford and West Ottawa Public School Districts. Katie and her husband moved to Holland to be closer to trails, the beach, and family.
Katie is passionate about building relationships with her students and loves to implement strategies and tools to help all learners be successful. She is grateful to be a part of her faith community in this way!