We recognise that growing up, school and indeed life often isn’t easy. All divisions of the school have dedicated and experienced counselors to support students through any struggles they may have and to help them to develop academic, career, and social/emotional skills to become active and successful global citizens in the future.
For each age group the interventions or approaches required may be different but for any of the divisions they can include small group sessions, one-to-one counseling, parent meetings and support, liaison with the Learning Support Team, and the teaching of the PHSE curriculum.
Recognising the movement of families arriving and leaving postings - a common factor in international schools - and the unsettling feelings that can bring, we also have a counselor dedicated to help manage these transitions for students and families. There is also specific support for Bulgarian families as they manage the change between education cultures.
Counselors work to establish trust and rapport and respect the student's privacy so that they are free to explore issues, feelings and behaviors. All of the counsellors follow the ethical guidelines of the American School Counselor Association.
For this young age group, students are often facing many situations for the first time, such as going to big school, learning English, being in a new country, experiencing a different education system, leaving friends behind or making new friends. With this in mind our Elementary Counselor has a battery of support systems and programs in place and works very closely with the faculty to help the children with these difficulties.
Ms Lindsey Moore is our Elementary Counselor - originally from Alaska, USA, she has worked as a school counselor for over 10 years.
This is the very dynamic and changing time of adolescence. The counselor assists students in exploring a variety of interests, helps to connect learning in the classroom to practical application in life, assists with organization and academic skills, support and provides coping strategies and social skills with peer relationships, as they navigate from childhood to adulthood.
Ms Andie Urquhart is the Middle School Counselor. A Canadian, she has over 20 years of international teaching and counseling experience.
In High School the focus starts to change and looks beyond school to what opportunities lie ahead after graduation. As a college/university preparatory school, AAS places an emphasis on academic excellence through the IB Diploma Program. Therefore, college counseling plays an important role during the final two years of school. As well as fostering academic and personal growth and development, the High School counselor also assumes responsibility for both college counseling and guidance. In conjunction with the principal and IB coordinator, the counselor works with each student in course selection, ensuring that they meet AAS graduation requirements and fulfill the components of the IB Diploma. They also make sure that the courses chosen by each student align with their college plans.
Mr David Stephenson is the High School and College Counsellor. Hailing from the USA, he has vast experience as a teacher and has been the High School Counselor at AAS since 2010.
Working across the school from Pre-K to Grade 12, AAS’ transition counselor helps support students and families cope with the emotional and social impact of saying hello and goodbye as they join our school or leave for a new one. Moves from Elementary School to Middle School, Middle School to High School, and after graduation are also addressed.
The counselor also works with the Bulgarian families that join our school, helping them as they transition between what is often a very different education system and approach.
Ms Laura Giosh-Markov is the Transition Counselor. Originally from the USA, she has lived in Bulgaria for more than 15 years and speaks fluent Bulgarian.