Counseling and Student Services

Arlington Public Schools’ counselors use a comprehensive developmental guidance and counseling model. The purpose of the school counseling program is to promote the learning process. The goal of the counseling and guidance program is to assist students in acquiring the attitudes, knowledge, and skills that contribute to an effective learning in school and across the life span.

Counselors assist all students in developing and applying skills needed to enhance personal, social, career and academic growth. Professional counselors are assigned to each elementary, middle, high and alternative school. They provide individual and group counseling, conduct classroom guidance activities, disseminate educational and career information, assist in the test-taking process, and serve as consultants to parents, teachers and administrators.

Counseling Lessons and Seesaw

Hey All-Stars!  Below you’ll find some Second Step goodies to explore!  Also, Seesaw activities will be coming through your teachers during our extended break, so stay posted for those!(Special thanks to Kate Sullivan @ Campbell!)

Counseling Lesson Units

Our counseling lessons are based off of the Second Step and Zones of Regulation curricula.  If you would like any additional information on the unit descriptions, please reach out.

Skills for Learning Listening Skills, Attent-o-Scope, Self-Talk

In our Skills for Learning unit, Kindergarten and 1st grade learn about our listening skills.  Ask your student to show you the hand signals for the following listening skills:

  • Looking eyes (point to your eyes)
  • Listening ears (cup your ears)
  • Voices quiet (put a finger up to your closed lips)
  • Body still (give yourself a gentle hug)

We also learn about the super powerful Attent-o-Scope!  Our Attent-o-Scopes are on when we have focused our attention and are using all of our listening skills. There’s an especially neat hand signal for the Attent-o-Scope (you pretend to hold binoculars up to your eyes).


We also learn about using self-talk to remind ourselves to stay on task. When we use self-talk, we are using a whisper or reminding ourselves silently to “focus”, “don’t get distracted”, or “use the Attent-o-Scope”.

Being Assertive

First graders learn about three different forms of communication.  When we speak in a passive or aggressive way, we are not as clear or direct as we need to be.  Instead, it is best to use a calm, respectful and strong voice in order to be assertive.  


In 2nd and 3rd grades, we learn about three important parts of our brains: our amygdala (which helps us react quickly in situations), our hippocampus (which helps us remember things), and our prefrontal cortex (which helps us make strong choices).  We also learn mindfulness practices to help us focus our minds.

Setting Goals and Making Plans

4th and 5th grade students learn about setting short- and long-term goals and making plans to achieve them. Using the Good Plan Checklist, we check our plans to see if:

  1. The plan matches the goal
  2. There is enough time to accomplish the plan
  3. It is not too complicated
  4. It’s achievable


1st Grade

2nd Grade

3rd Grade

Bullying Prevention

In our Bullying Prevention unit, Hoffman-Boston students learn how to Recognize, Report, and Refuse Bullying.  We also learn about being Upstanders.


Bullying hurts someone’s body, feelings or belongings; it happens on purpose; it is unfair or one-sided; it happens more than once; and we are unable to get it to stop.


When we recognize bullying it happening, we must report it to a caring and trusted adult.  When we report bullying, we try to use an assertive voice that is clear, serious, and respectful.  In our Bullying Prevention Unit, all students are asked to identify caring and trusted adults in the community who they could report bullying to.


Both Upstanders and anyone who is experiencing bullying can refuse bullying by telling the bully or bullies to stop using an assertive voice.


2nd Grade

3rd Grade

4th Grade

5th Grade

Child Protection Unit

The Child Protection Unit includes one grade level specific lesson in Kindergarten through 5th grade classrooms.  Students learn ways to help them decide if something is safe or not: specifically, about safe, unsafe, and unwanted touches, and rules about touching private body parts (we define this to students as the area covered by swimsuits). They also learn to say no to unsafe or unwanted touches, and to tell an adult if someone breaks rules about touching private body parts. Students also practice asking an adult for help, telling an adult about an unsafe situation, and being assertive to get out of unsafe situations.


in this unit, students learn about identifying feelings in themselves and in others using physical cues like body language and facial expressions in the younger grades, in addition to tone of voice, behavior, and word choice.  We also learned about similarities and differences, and how being similar and being different are both okay!


In the older grades, students learn about treating others with compassion when we recognize how they’re feeling.  We also discuss how Upstanders use empathy and compassion to make an inclusive and safe community.

HomelinksKindergarten5th Grade Part I

Emotion Management

In this unit, students learn How to Calm Down in three easy-to-remember steps: Stop, Name Your Feeling, and Calm Down. Step 3 (“Calm Down”) looks different for every person; it may mean counting slowly, belly breathing, or using positive self-talk.  Students learn about applying these steps in situations when they are in the Yellow or Red Zones and feeling things like upset, angry, or frustrated. We also learn about the importance of using the steps for calming down before we try to problem solve or communicate with someone else. There are hand signals that go with the How to Calm Down steps– ask your student to share them with you!

Homelinks2nd Grade5th Grade Part I5th Grade Part II

Problem Solving

In this unit, students learned the STEP acronym for Problem Solving: S – Say the problem without blame T – Think of safe and respectful solutions E – Explore consequences; what would happen if you chose each solution? P – Pick the best solution and make a plan In the younger grades, students practice applying STEP to conflicts between characters.  In older grades, students apply STEP to conflicts they are experiencing in real life.

Homelinks1st Grade4th Grade5th Grade


In the counseling unit on Careers, Kindergarteners:

  •         Learn that people have jobs and a variety of jobs exist.
  •         Learn that people dream about getting certain jobs.
  •         Learn about jobs people do at our school.
  •         Learn about jobs people do in our community.

Bullying Prevention and Intervention

What is Bullying?

Student bullying or harassment is the repeated infliction or attempted infliction of injury, discomfort, or humiliation on a student by one or more students. It is a pattern of aggressive, intentional or hostile behavior that occurs repeatedly and over time. Bullying/harassment typically involve an imbalance of power or strength. Bullying/harassment behaviors may include: physical, verbal, or nonverbal behaviors. These behaviors include, but are not limited to, intimidation; assault; extortion; oral or written threats; teasing; name-calling; threatening looks, gestures, or actions; rumor spreading; false accusations; hazing; social isolation; and abusive e-mails, phone calls, or other forms of cyber-bullying.

At Hoffman-Boston, our students learn the 3 R’s of BullyingRecognize – Bullying is unfair and one-sided. It happens when someone keeps hurting, frightening, threatening or leaving someone out on purpose.

Report – Reporting isn’t tattling!  Reporting is telling an adult in order to keep people safe. Any time is a good time to report bullying.

Refuse – If you feel safe,1) Get calm,2) Stand straight and tall,3) Look at the person you are speaking to,4) Say what you mean in a strong, clear, respectful voice. Example: “Stop! We do not act like that here.”

Other resources


  • Encourage your student to let a trusted adult know what is happening:
    • Student’s Teacher
    • School Counselor
    • School Administrator
    • Extended Day Director (if occurring in Extended Day)
  • Follow up

Meet the Counseling Team

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Alexandra Lerner

School Counselor

Hello! I’m Allie Lerner, and I’m so excited to begin my School Counseling career as a Hoffman-Boston All-Star. I am at school Monday through Friday and work primarily with kindergarten, first, fourth, and fifth grades. I received my undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech (GO HOKIES) and then received my master’s in School Counseling from The George Washington University. I am passionate about helping students grow and thrive inside and outside of school. I am looking forward to getting to know them during classroom lessons, in small groups, and individually. When I’m not at school, I love being with my friends and family, exercising, traveling, and watching sports (GO CAPITALS, ORIOLES, AND RAVENS). I grew up in Northern Virginia and am thrilled to join the Arlington Public Schools family!

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Velma Campbell

School Counselor

Bio: 1998:  BA Psychology, Cum Laude, Curry College, Milton MA 2005:  M.Ed. Counseling and Development, George Mason University, Fairfax VA . I have worked as a counselor and social worker (Lic. Social Worker, Boston, MA), primarily with children, since 1998. My roles since 1998 have included school counselor (Boston, MA; London, England; Fairfax County, VA); homeless shelter Children’s Case Manager (Fairfax County); in-home Family Therapist (Washington, DC); and 9-11 Outreach Crisis Counselor for Arlington County/FEMA, following the attack on the Pentagon. In my spare time I like to take long walks, paint and bake.  I am a huge fan of British football (soccer) among other sports.


Social Worker Javier Martinez

My name is Javier Martinez. I am the school social worker at Hoffman-Boston. I love this school because of its sweet, kind, and nurturing community. I love how at Hoffman-Boston the students shine brightly and become helpful and respectful citizens. I grew up in Spain and came to this country in 1987. In my spare time I like spending time with my family and pets. I love nature and water. Please feel free to reach out to me by calling or emailing me: (Mon, Tue, Wed, and Thurs 703-228-8617)

Child Find (Friday 703-228-2628)

For more information regarding Student Services please visit our district’s Student Services site: