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Primary School


Counseling Services

Counseling Services at Waterville Primary

School Counselors provide both preventative and responsive services to help all students achieve success, in and out of the classroom!  Throughout the year, School Counselors collaborate with families, staff members, and community organizations to maintain and continuously enhance a safe and caring school climate, supporting all students.  School Counseling services are provided to students using 3 main formats: individual counseling, small group counseling, and classroom counseling lessons.  Additionally, School Counselors support and promote any school-wide initiatives to best serve students and families.  Common areas of focus for School Counseling services include:  

  • emotional awareness and self regulation,

  • social skills and appropriate conflict resolution strategies,

  • use of healthy coping skills to manage stress,

  • academic and/or behavioral support,

  • support for family stressors/transitions, and

  • career awareness and exploration.

About Mrs. Cowell

Jillian Cowell is the school counselor at Waterville Primary School. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Masters of Education Degree in School Counseling from Bowling Green State University. Before becoming a school counselor, Mrs. Cowell worked as a preschool teacher where she found her passion in promoting a positive foundation for early education. 
School Counselors are in a unique position to collaborate with families, teachers, administrators and community resources and Mrs. Cowell loves being able to work directly with people in all of these different roles to brainstorm and implement strategies that will best support each of our students!

We encourage you to contact Mrs. Cowell with any questions or concerns throughout the school year.  

Anthony Wayne Local Schools Community Resource Guide

awls community resource guideThe Anthony Wayne Local Schools counselors have curated a list of local services, organizations, programs and individuals who can provide support to our students and their families in various ways. The guide is offered only as a reference, the District does not endorse or recommend any specific provider on this list.If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to your school counselor.

Download the AWLS Community Resource Guide

School-Wide Initiatives

The Responsive Classroom Approach to Teaching

The staff at Waterville Primary has implemented the Responsive Classroom Approach to teaching and classroom management throughout the building. This evidence-based universal approach is focused on creating safe, joyful and engaging environments for students to grow academically and socially.

We are in the implementation phase of this approach, and we have chosen to focus on two specific teaching practices during the 2022-23 school year.  Ask your child each day about:

Morning Meeting

This is a consistent time each day where students have the opportunity to practice social skills, build a sense of community as a class, and blend social and emotional learning with academic learning.  The format of Morning Meeting includes 4 main components, which are completed in order: 

  1. Greeting: each student and staff member is greeted by name,

  2. Sharingstudents have the opportunity to share information with their peers/teachers and to respond in a supportive way to their classmates,

  3. Group Activitythe class participates in a brief activity together to reinforce their learning and to boost their sense of community, and

  4. Morning Message: students are presented with a daily message from their teacher designed to get them ready for a positive day of learning and to provide a smooth transition to work time.

Taking the time to participate daily in Morning Meeting promotes overall student success by allowing each of our students the time and space to feel significant and important. It helps to build and maintain a sense of belonging in the classroom environment and encourages students to have fun together!

Closing Circle

As suggested by the name, Closing Circle takes place during the last 5-10 minutes of the school day and is designed to end the day on a peaceful and positive note.  During this time, students participate in an activity which helps them to reflect on their day, to celebrate accomplishments, and/or to set personal goals for the following school day.  As in all Responsive Classroom practices, Closing Circle promotes and reinforces a sense of belonging for each student and an overall positive class community!

We look forward to continuing to expand and grow in our implementation of Responsive Classroom practices.  We have seen an incredible impact already on our students, staff, and families and we believe this approach will continue to have positive and lasting effects - both in and out of the classroom!  For more information, visit the Responsive Classroom Website!

Bucket Filling Program

We LOVE being a Bucket Filling school! The basic concept of Bucket Filling is that everyone carries an invisible bucket that holds all of their good thoughts and feelings about themselves. When our buckets are full, we feel happy. When our buckets are empty, we feel lonely and sad.  

This visual concept makes it easy for our young children to understand that they can fill buckets by being kind, caring and respectful to others. Additionally, it helps them to understand that disrespectful and unkind words and behavior will dip out of other people’s buckets, or remove their good feelings about themselves. Our students love coming up with new and creative ways to be “Bucket Fillers."

The Bucket Filling Program encourages respectful, responsible and safe behavior. Students are able to earn “Bucket Filling Slips” throughout the year for displaying any of these characteristics. These Bucket Filling Slips can then be used to “buy” tangible items or to enter into raffles each quarter at our school store!

Buddy Bench

Schools all around the world have implemented their own Buddy Bench programs in order to support safe, comfortable, and positive playground spaces! The Buddy Bench is a tool which encourages students to practice friendship skills and inclusion at recess time. It is a safe space for students to go when/if they feel overwhelmed or intimidated by finding friends to play with during this less structured time of the school day.  When other students see one of their students sitting on the Buddy Bench, they can help by inviting this child to play!  To ensure that the Buddy Bench remains a helpful tool, our students are encouraged to:

  • Invite any student sitting on the Buddy Bench to play!

  • Be open and accepting of any classmate’s invitation to play!

  • Only sit on the Buddy Bench when looking for friends to play with (rather than using it as a place to rest).

  • IF no one notices a student sitting on the Buddy Bench, that student can use their time to look for a group of friends to join (rather than staying alone on the Buddy Bench for the entire recess time)!  Our students are also encouraged to be inclusive of others in any space on the playground and throughout our school, so no one should ever feel limited to the Buddy Bench.  It is only one strategy to find friends!

The overall goals of the Buddy Bench are to help our students practice necessary skills to maintain successful friendships and to help them grow into compassionate young adults. Please encourage your child to use this tool, when needed, and to also watch out for any of their classmates who may use it!  

Bullying Prevention

Our students receive education specific to bullying prevention in the beginning of the school year during classroom counseling lessons.  This is then revisited throughout the year by classroom teachers and other school staff members to keep the information current and to empower our students to respond appropriately when/if they witness bullying behavior.

The first important concept related to bullying prevention is understanding what “bullying” actually means.  It can be difficult for our young students to understand the difference between rude or thoughtless comments/actions and an actual bullying situation. To empower each student to respond appropriately to bullying, they need to first be able to recognize and distinguish bullying from other (age-appropriate) poor decision-making.  Bullying is defined as unwanted and aggressive behavior that is:

  • done intentionally,

  • repeated over time, and

  • occurs with a real or perceived imbalance of power.

While an occasional thoughtless comment can simply be ignored, it is never appropriate to ignore bullying behavior.  If a bullying situation is ignored, it will absolutely continue and, in many cases, may escalate.  Another important concept related to bullying prevention is understanding how to appropriately respond to bullying behavior.  It is incredibly important for these situations to be reported to a safe adult, as quickly as possible.  Students are strongly encouraged to report any bullying behavior to a school staff member immediately.  However, we understand that some students feel more comfortable reporting these sensitive issues to family members.  If your child reports concerns to you at home, please contact any of our staff members as soon as possible, so we can appropriately respond here at school.

We appreciate you working with us to help reinforce the messages of Respect, Responsibility and Safety!

Counseling Services

Classroom Counseling Lessons

Throughout the school year, Mrs. Cowell visits each classroom monthly to lead age appropriate lessons with students. These lessons are focused on building and enhancing specific skills in one of the following areas:

  • Social and Emotional Learning Skills (ex: Self Awareness, Self Management, Relationship Skills, Decision Making, etc.)

  • Executive Functioning (ex: Personal Responsibility, Organizational Skills, Intrinsic Motivation, etc.)

  • College and Career Awareness/Exploration

These classroom lessons are offered as a universal support to all of our students, which helps to promote a cohesive, comfortable and predictable school environment. Specific information about recent classroom counseling lessons will be shared in the building newsletter, along with tips for supporting and reinforcing learning at home.

Small Group Counseling

This service is provided to Kindergarten - 4th Grade students and provides additional support in a structured setting.  Group sizes generally range from 3-8 members. Throughout their time in small groups, students participate in structured activities and projects designed to build specific social and emotional learning skills. 

Groups begin in the fall, winter and spring. As each season begins, the counselor will send out information about the topics to be covered. Please register your child if you feel they could benefit from the experience. Common group topics include:
  • Self Esteem
  • Coping Skills
  • Friendship
  • Self Regulation
Specific group topics are always chosen based on the current needs of the students. If your child is included in a small group, I will always communicate with you before this begins and after the last group meeting, so you will be able to discuss this experience with your child and reinforce learning skills at home!

Individual Counseling

There are times when students may benefit from more individualized support here at school. Individual counseling is a service available to all students (Kindergarten - 4th Grade).  This service provides children with added encouragement, which may help them to more successfully navigate through obstacles related to their own learning, friendships, and/or other life challenges. Common areas of support addressed in individual counseling are:

  • Anxiety/Stress

  • Coping Skills

  • Grief

  • Family Changes

  • Impulse Control

  • Self Esteem

  • Problem Solving

  • Academic Challenges  

This school counseling service is offered as an added support for our students, and is different from more in-depth and extensive counseling that can be provided by a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. Our counselor is happy to work with you throughout the year to determine which service is most appropriate for your child. If needed, Mrs. Cowell provide you information about local counseling agencies, where more extensive support is available. 


Waterville Primary
457 Sycamore Lane
Waterville, OH 43566

Jillian Cowell

Rebekah Hrcka
School Social Worker

Meet Teila

teilaTeila is our school therapy dog and an important part of our school community. She is a Golden Retriever and Labrador mix who assists with classroom counseling, participates in behavior and academic rewards, provides support for individual students and promotes an overall positive school environment.
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