Voices, a Podcast from the Seneca Valley School District

Episode 44 - Back to School 101: Transitioning and Re-engaging Students with Ms. Tammie Limmer

September 09, 2021 Seneca Valley School District Season 2 Episode 44
Voices, a Podcast from the Seneca Valley School District
Episode 44 - Back to School 101: Transitioning and Re-engaging Students with Ms. Tammie Limmer
Show Notes Transcript

Back to School 101: Transitioning and Re-engaging Students with Ms. Tammie Limmer 

Ms. Tammie Limmer, Ryan Gloyer Middle School Counselor 

Tammie Limmer is in her fourteenth year as a school counselor at Ryan Gloyer Middle School, grades 7-8, within the district. She has a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies from Ohio University and a Masters of Education from Duquesne University. She is also licensed as a Professional Counselor in Pennsylvania (LPC) and a National Certified Counselor (NCC).  Currently, she supports the individual growth of each student by working closely with parents, teachers, and community members. Her role as a school counselor is to serve as a front-line support system by addressing the academic, career and social/emotional needs and development of students through individual and group settings and programs.


  • The importance talking with students through regular “check-ins” after school
  • Ideas for being organized at home with homework
  • Suggestions for developing an at-home routine/schedule
  • Encouraging students to advocate for themselves
  • Who to contact should students or parents have questions or concerns


Voices E44 Tammie Limmer

FULL TRANSCRIPT (with timecode)

00:00:02:27 - 00:00:10:06

Introduction: Welcome to Voices, a National award-winning podcast brought to you by the Seneca Valley School District. 


00:00:11:11 - 00:00:34:00

Jeff Krakoff: This is Jeff Krakoff today. I am with Tammie Limmer, who is a school counselor at Ryan Gloyer Middle School. So you deal primarily in grades seven through ,eight, but we want to talk about, you know, we're near the beginning of the school year. Some tips on things parents can be thinking about watching for. 


00:00:34:13 - 00:00:47:20

Jeff Krakoff: So first question just we all know it's important as a parent to check in with your kids. Do you have any tips? How often; when? What should parents be doing? 


00:00:48:10 - 00:01:23:05

Tammie Limmer: Sure. Well, thanks so much for having me. It's so nice to be here. Checking in with our kids, our students as much as we can on a regular basis. I know we all have such busy lives, maybe juggling multiple kids, multiple sports and activities after school that carving out time really whenever you can, whether it's sitting in the car, waiting to go into a piano lesson, waiting for practice to start just keeping in constant communication and reading those lines of communication open to our kids so they know if they need something that we're approachable. 


00:01:23:07 - 00:01:57:18

Tammie Limmer: And no, no time is too busy and no task is too big for us to be able to tackle together. You know, in this new school year, we're starting out with a lot of challenges and we're not really getting that normal. I think that we all hoped for and that we wanted. So there may be some anxiety and some disappointment there for our kids as well as ourselves and drawing attention to making sure we're taking care of ourselves, implementing those self-care practices and giving ourselves permission to ask for what we need and give ourselves what we need. 


00:01:57:28 - 00:02:04:05

Tammie Limmer: And then when our kids see us doing that for ourselves and they have permission to ask for that and do that for themselves. 


00:02:05:10 - 00:02:16:00

Jeff Krakoff: How much of is just listening? I remember as a parent having kids in the backseat, carpooling, it seemed to me I learned more, sometimes just by listening than asking questions or talking. 


00:02:16:10 - 00:03:04:14

Tammie Limmer: Definitely. Oh yeah, it can be an education, right? For sure. In listening and just allowing them free rein to talk wherever their minds want to go from elementary up to high school kids, you never know what you're going to get. But being open to it all, you know, and if we want more information asking those open ended questions, getting those housed those wise, what did that look like for you? How did that make you feel great for some of our kiddos that are a little bit more anxious and we all know those teen years where sometimes you can barely get anything out of them, let alone what they want to eat for dinner, you know? So a fun tip or strategy that my colleagues and I like to use is something we call scaling, which is assigning a number to a feeling. 


00:03:05:05 - 00:03:33:15

Tammie Limmer: And it's a great, mindful mindfulness practice that you can use even in the morning. First thing when you wake up for yourself or for your child from a scale of one to five on a scale of one to five. How am I feeling today? Well, maybe didn't get a lot of sleep, so I'm at like a two out of five. But I walked into school. I saw my best friends. My principal gave me a high five. I got an A on that English assignment. OK, I'm a five out of five today. And sort of using that as a conversation starter or talking point?  


00:03:33:17 - 00:03:50:28

Jeff Krakoff: Great idea. You mentioned this sign that we all know that school seems to go better and students are more confident that the more organized they are. Do you have any tips for parents how to help students become more organized at home and keeping on top of things? 


00:03:51:10 - 00:03:51:25

Tammie Limmer: Sure. 


00:03:52:02 - 00:04:32:13

Tammie Limmer: Well, at the secondary level, kids are really using their school issued devices more often than not for every class. So the SV Portal, which I know parents and students both have access to as well as Microsoft TEAMS, is really your lifeline to what's going on in class and staying organized. So again, I know we're all busy, but if you have time to carve out a few minutes with your child to have them sit down with you and their school issue device and open up Microsoft TEAMS, open up the SV Portal and have them give you a little tutorial of what their school day looks like, where they can find their assignments, where the teacher is keeping their calendar and other resources for class. 


00:04:32:29 - 00:05:04:29

Tammie Limmer: That would be a really good way to start that conversation and kind of key into what they're doing throughout the day. And then when they come home to do their homework, you can have them show you actually on Microsoft TEAMS what they're working on. A nice thing to do, too. And I know even though we're talking about secondary kiddos that a lot of those strategies that we employed in elementary school are still definitely relevant for secondary. So having a quiet space isn't your bed where you want to curl up and hide under your bed into your homework. 


00:05:06:04 - 00:05:14:26

Tammie Limmer: A quiet space with all of the resources that you need at your disposal so you're not distracted. Also still works for secondary kids as well. 


00:05:15:16 - 00:05:23:04

Jeff Krakoff: Okay. How important are schedules and routines in the life of a middle school and other secondary students? 


00:05:24:01 - 00:06:07:24

Tammie Limmer: I would say consistency in routine can help calm the fear of the unknown, especially in times of transition like this. So I know that everyone's got a unique household with a unique schedule, and it's really just finding something that works for you. But keeping it consistent as much as you can, because then it's predictable. You know, a big thing that my colleagues and I talk about, too, is bedtime. Staying on that consistent bedtime routine, even on the weekends, is so important because we all know we don't need research studies to say that when we get good sleep, we are feeling so much more refreshed and happier and productive during the day, just trying to keep up with that as much as possible, even on the weekends. 


00:06:08:02 - 00:06:21:06

Tammie Limmer: It's hard for adults to I'm guilty. I'm a late night Instagram scroller. I'll admit that to the public, you know, but I know a lot of our kids are too, and our adults are too. So it's about keeping ourselves accountable as well. 


00:06:21:15 - 00:06:52:24

Jeff Krakoff: And I think most of us can be better at having a set bedtime and sticking to that as well as adults. So your middle school students that we were talking earlier. They're not they're not little children, they're not adults. They're in this in-between with a lot of things happening physically, emotionally. What are some items to consider just to encourage middle schoolers to know what to do, know when to speak out, know who to speak to as different situations arise in their lives? 


00:06:53:11 - 00:06:53:26

Tammie Limmer: Sure. 


00:06:54:09 - 00:07:31:21

Tammie Limmer: I like to tell kids and parents, Have your top three who are my top three adults in my school building that I can go to if I'm having an issue, whether it's an emergency or just a simple question, who do I feel comfortable approaching during the day knowing who that person is, where they're located in the building and what their name is? I think can relieve a lot of anxiety. So when those questions do come up, they know how to approach that person. Microsoft TEAMS we have a chat feature that's really easy to use, and the kids should know how to use that so they can send that person a chat and ask the question. 


00:07:31:23 - 00:08:03:15

Tammie Limmer: So that might eliminate some maybe potential anxiety-provoking face time. Yeah, but don't don't hesitate to reach out to any adult in the building, and parents please know that each one of your children is assigned a guidance counselor K-to-12. At the middle school specifically were assigned by team, and I know that at the high school, it's assigned by alphabet, by last name, and you can find our contact information on our district website. So don't hesitate to reach out to us if your child is having some difficulty reaching out to a trusted adult. 


00:08:03:23 - 00:08:21:22

Jeff Krakoff: Great tips So again, if you're student, know your top three different people for different situations. But what if you're a parent? What if you have a question or concern and you're not sure? Is this a counselor situation? Is it the administrator or is it a specific teacher? Who should they reach out to and how? 


00:08:22:03 - 00:08:53:09

Tammie Limmer: Sure. So I would say if it's a classroom-related issue or a subject-related issue, I would say reach out to that classroom teacher first and then, of course, for any other inquiries. Feel free to contact your guidance counselor or your school office. We're all here to help. That is one thing I can say about SV is we are one giant team, so no matter who you reach out to, we're going to be able to get your questions answered or direct you to the person that can most help. So please just don't hesitate to reach out at all. 


00:08:53:11 - 00:09:02:12

Tammie Limmer: We're all we're all in it together, and I'm really hopeful that in this new school year, in this time of transition, that we can create a new and maybe better normal for each other. 


00:09:02:19 - 00:09:17:05

Jeff Krakoff: So let's hope so. So thank you so much. This was Tammie Limmer, middle school counselor. Thanks so much for your time. Some great information and have a great rest of the early part of this new school year. 


00:09:17:23 - 00:09:20:10

Tammie Limmer: Thank you so much for having me. Take care, everyone. 


00:09:20:19 - 00:09:21:11

Jeff Krakoff: You take care. 


00:09:21:26 - 00:09:22:08

Tammie Limmer: Thanks.