Practicum Students

Thank you for considering Plymouth Middle School for your Practicum Site!


This letter will provide you some of the information you will want to consider as you make your placement decisions.


How to apply:

Students should contact our department in the spring for placement consideration the following school year. Please send your cover letter and resume to or Potential students should expect to arrange a day to shadow one of our counselors for a school day (March or April) as a part of the mutual consideration.


Counselors (2012-2013):

Grade 7: Guidance Counselors: Deb Dragseth 763-504-7122

Grade 8: Guidance Counselors: Shelly Hughes 763-504-7123

Grade 6: Guidance Counselors: Mary Ann Fest 763-504-7121


As members of the educational team, we support students, teachers, and families to enhance academic success. We work with students individually and in groups on a wide variety of issues, including academic planning, goal-setting, and problem-solving. Counselors are also responsible for grade reviews to identify students who need more assistance, student registration, program placement, and coordination of standardized testing. Counselors also work closely with the grade level teams to begin interventions for RTI and special education.

Plymouth Middle School is a truly diverse academic environment. We have approximately 1200 students in 6th, 7th and 8thgrades. Within the Robbinsdale school district, we pull from communities including: Brooklyn Park, Golden Valley, Robbinsdale, Crystal, New Hope and Plymouth. We also have a large population of students from the “Choice is Yours” program, which allows qualifying students from North Minneapolis to attend our school.


Over 40% of our students qualify for free or reduced lunch. A similar proportion of our students are non-white. We offer accelerated placements programming for highly motivated students along with alternative programming for students who need extra assistance.


Our Guidance Department includes three Counselors, a Social Worker, a Psychologist and a Chemical Health/Prevention Specialist. Counselors stay with a grade level the entire time they are in the building. This allows the counselors to build strong relationships with students as they move through the grades.


The 8th grade Counselor is responsible for transition activities, from 8th grade to high school and from 5th grade to 6thgrade the following year. The bulk of these activities begin in the first weeks of January.


A Practicum student can expect to be involved in the following activities: Assisting students with registration Assisting with course placement decisions

Recruiting students into special programs at the high schools and assisting those students in completing the necessary applications (including work-experience, advanced placement and at-risk programming)

Assisting with student tours

Assisting with student orientation

Assisting in the coordination and administration of standardized testing

Meeting with students to discuss personal concerns

Academic goal setting and trouble-shooting

Conflict Mediation


Responsibilities and Expectations:

Be on Time

You will arrange your start and end times with your supervisor, and they may change during your experience. Be sure to discuss any special circumstances in advance whenever possible. It is also important that you arrive on time to expected meetings, supervisions and activities.


Keep your focus on PMS during school hours

There will always be times where a student or parent is unable to make it to a meeting. You will have projects or activities to work on during that “downtime.”


Orientation Phase

During your orientation, you will understand how PMS functions and get to know many of the staff members you will interact with during your experience. You can shorten this phase of your training by familiarizing yourself with PMS structures and policies before you begin your internship. Reviewing this handbook, along with the school and staff handbooks will help you feel more informed as you begin your time with us.

You will learn to use our student data management system (Infinite Campus) to access student information and review records. Being comfortable with this system is essential for you to function as a part of the department. Infinite Campus is also used by many school districts and could be an advantage as you apply for positions in districts that use it.


You will also complete file reviews to understand what student information is kept in hard copy files and what information is available electronically. The orientation phase will also provide you opportunities to observe your supervisor working with students and families.


Working Phase

As you become more comfortable at PMS, you will have opportunities to meet with students individually to address a wide variety of student concerns. You will experience group and classroom guidance activities and gain experience consulting with parents.


Take Responsibility for your Learning

Ultimately, it is your responsibility to advocate for what you need and to communicate with your supervisor about any additional responsibilities you might be interested in assuming.


Essential competencies

Although you will not be able to experience every situation you will encounter in your school counseling career, it is my goal to expose you to many of the “typical” situations and assist you in gaining essential competencies. The list below provides an overview of the situations you should experience during your time here. As you work through your experience, gaining skills and confidence, we will refer back to this list for feedback and evaluation.


Individual Student Support: You will have a “caseload” providing opportunities to intervene in a variety of student situations, including academic, peer conflicts, mental health concerns, etc.


Small Group Support: Work with groups of students on specific, targeted concerns

Demonstrate comfort working with large groups of students: This may include managing classrooms, or larger and more unstructured setting likes lunchrooms, hallways and fieldtrips


Organize an “event”: Organize an outside presentation, registration meeting, group, tour, standardized testing sessions, etc. Understand logistics related to school and student needs.


Communicate effectively with parents: Parent consultation plays a significant role in Middle School Guidance and counseling. You will experience meeting with parents in person, over the phone and via email.

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