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CFIS School Counseling Mission:
Working collaboratively with parents, teachers, administrators, and the community, the Chagrin Falls Intermediate School Counseling Department is committed to advocating for, and meeting, the academic, social, and career needs of every student. We continually strive to deliver a comprehensive school counseling program that identifies barriers to student growth, provides interventions based on the unique needs of each individual, encourages self-actualization, and instills, within every student, a passion for lifelong learning.
We believe every student:
1. can achieve success and reach their goals
2. needs to feel valued in order to maximize their potential
3. should be treated with dignity and respect
4. should recognize the importance mistake-making in the learning process and celebrate their trials and errors along their life’s journey
5.  is an individual and has the right to actively participate in his/her educational experience in a way that celebrates their diversity and individuality
6.  may learn differently from peers and that each student should have access to resources that will maximize his/her learning potential
7.  should have access to a licensed school counselor with, at minimum, a Master’s-level education who will serve as an advocate for each student while supporting the school’s mission towards academic achievement
8.  is more than the sum of his/her academic scores and thrives in an environment that addresses the needs of the “whole person”
9.  should have access to a comprehensive school counseling program that addresses the academic, social /emotional, and career needs of each student in a developmentally appropriate manner


Ever wonder what we talk about in Guidance Class?  
Check out the lessons topics below!
8/21 - 8/23:  As a building, we are implementing our new PBIS program, "PAX".  As we build the foundation of this program, all students and teachers are collaborating to create our "PAX Visions".  These are the things that we all want to "See More/Less, Hear More/Less, Do More/Less, and Feel More/Less" of.  In Guidance this week, we created PAX Visions for Lunch and Recess!  Next week:  We begin building relationships!
8/24 - 9/30:  We have been having some fun getting to know a little about each other by doing this Getting to Know You Face Drawing activity!!  We have enjoyed seeing some REALLY silly artwork while learning some cool things about our classmates!  We also completed a short Recess Surveyso that I may gauge how students feel and experience recess.  We want to make sure we are doing what we can to make recess a fun and relaxing time for all of our students.  Next couple of weeks:  We will discuss safety precautions while walking/biking around town...just in time for our Walk and Bike to School Day!  We will also talk about my role as School Counselor and all students will be taking the Student Needs Assessment .  The information collected in this assessment will help me identify individual needs of students as well as help to inform my Guidance Class curriculum. 
Parents are encouraged to participate in this assessment as well, and may do so by clicking on this link: Parent-Student Needs Assessment
10/01 - 10/16: October is National Bullying Prevention Month!  We spent the first Guidance class of this month learning about what "bullying" is.  Sometimes we classify ANY unkind or hurtful behavior as "bullying", but according to "", true bullying is defined as: "Unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time." 
"In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:  
An Imbalance of PowerKids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people. 
RepetitionBullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once."

We also looked at some of the results of our recent Beginning of the Year Student Needs Assessment.  We noticed that between 10% and 30% of students (depending on the grade level) indicated that they have seen a lot of bullying in this school.  Then we noticed that 0% of CFIS students indicated that they "often choose bullying behavior".  We discussed that, according to these numbers, there was bullying going on...but no one was doing it!  We talked about where this discrepancy might be coming from....perhaps students were afraid that they would get into trouble if they admit that they choose bullying behaviors...perhaps they were embarassed...or maybe we just don't recognize when we are choosing bullying behaviors!  Maybe we don't know that what we are doing is being percieved as bullying from others.

To help us determine what behaviors may be "bullying", we read the book "I Didn't Know I was a Bully" by Melissa Richards.  We were able to see that some things we may do to get what we want or need in a situation, may actually be bullying behavior.

10/17 - 10/19:  Verbal Bullying is the most commonly used form of bullying that we see.  We used this PRESENTATION to learn about what verbal bullying is, how "joking" may hurt others, and about how to be "intentionally kind" to others.  We also did an activity in which we "verbally bully" an apple to see that, just because we look OK on the outside, doesn't mean that we aren't being bruised and damaged on the inside.

10/25 - 10/29:  Perception plays a key role in bullying behavior and how we feel in social situations.  We used THESE ILLUSIONS to demonstrate how each of us has our own way of seeing the world (perception) and that we see things differently from one another.  We may think that what we are doing or saying is OK, but our words and actions may be percieved by others as bullying behavior.

 11/2 - 11/7: We discussed multiple "tools" or strategies that we can use if we find ourselves in a possible bullying situation, such as:  talking it out, telling a trusted adult, ignoring, meeting with the counselor, standing up for others and ourselves, and "out-witting" ( by using humor, agreeing, compliments, or "weirding them out").  We role-played scenarios and discussed how sometimes conflict is like a tennis match...if we keep "hitting the ball" at each other (insulting or hurting each other), the conflict can escalate.  We learned that if one of the participants "catches the ball", the game cannot continue.  We learned how to give come-backs that were not hurtful or insulting in order to stop the conflict from continuing.  We also discussed the difference between defending ourselves versus acting aggressively toward someone out of anger or frustration.

11/8 - 1/17:  "S+R=O" This equation stands for Situation + Response = Outcome and has been the basis of our conversations for a few classes.  In a nutshell, this simply means that in any given situation, how we respond determines what happens.  We have talked about how we may not always have control over our situations, but we largely have control over how we respond to them...and those chosen responses have consequences.  Consequences ("outcomes") can be good, bad, intended, or unintended...but are often a direct result of our chosen response.  As an illustration of this process, we learned how to play Chess.  We talked about the 'strengths and weaknesses' of the various pieces and how we all have to make the best choices we can with what we are given.  Not only do we have to consider our own 'S+R=O', but we must consider OTHER'S S+R=O as well!!  Chess shows us that our actions have consequences for us, and our opponent as well.  We then need to PREDICT what our opponent will do as a result of the situation we place them into!  

Within this topic, we discussed powerful influcences on our decision-making process, such as our self-image, social expecations, and social conformity.  We also discussed that, since humans are social creatures,  our brains are "wired" to look for, and strive to meet, social expecations in our various environments.  The discomfort we feel when we are in unfamiliar territory, is our natural response to needing to know what is expected of us.  This discomfort to conform is known as "peer pressure", and it is a natural, daily occurrence that is designed to allows us to live peacefully in our social environments....MOST of the time!  We discussed that just because the crowd is doing something to which we feel driven to conform, doesn't mean that the crowd is right!!  Though we may not be able to avoid the discomfort of going against the crowd, we are not "held captive" to what the crowd may be doing.  We are able to think through to possible consequences of our behaviors and make the healthiest choices for ourselves!  

We used this Google Slide to guide our discussion about how self image influences our response to situations:   SELF IMAGE

We used this video to illustrate the power of social conformity:  BRAIN GAMES - SOCIAL CONFORMITY







**The May/June gifted testing sessions have begun!  I have decided to start testing a couple weeks early so students will not have to miss any of the fun activities planned for the last couple weeks of school.  Further, we will not have access to the Learning Village units after May 31st.  It is my goal that no one will need to come in during those first few days of Summer Break to complete gifted testing :)   If your child has been referred for gifted testing prior to the May 14th deadline, he/she will be called down to test whenever I have available time.  Unfortunately, I may not be able to give prior notice.  Your child should be prepared to test anytime between now and May 31st.  Thank you!!**

Mrs. Karen Appell, M.Ed; LPSC 
77 E. Washington St
Chagrin Falls, OH  44022
(440) 247-5500  ext: 4221 
Information about Ohio's Crisis Text Line can be found HERE 
(Availble to all students) 
Personal/Social Services
Crisis Intervention
Individual Counseling
Group Counseling
Classroom Guidance
Community resources
Social skills
Academic Services
Study skills
Testing skills
Test anxiety
Gifted Testing
504 Coordination
Career Services 
Career exploration
Interests /skills development
Soft Skills needed for College and Career success


 "Homework Helpers"
Homework Helpers is an after-school group for students who would like a little extra support with getting schoolwork done.  Group will meet Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 3:30 - 4:30.  This group will be supervised by Mrs Appell and Mrs Guggenheim who are availble to help students with homework, organization, and studying.  If you are interested, please fill out this form:
Gifted testing occurs 4 times per year during the following windows:
August 15th - September 15th
November 15th - December 15th
February 15th - March 15th
May 15th - June 15th 
**Depending on the number of referrals per window, testing may occur on assigned Saturdays to limit the amount of interruptions to academic instruction** 
Referrals should be filled out and returned to Karen Appell no later than the day prior to the first day of the testing window.  Testing that occurs up until June 15th, 2019 will be used to inform placement for the 2019-20 school year. 
Information of Interest to Students Entering Grades 7-8 in the 2019-20 School Year 
CFMS Course Overide Process Overview
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