Washington Middle School’s Counseling Department is part of the school’s Support Team, which also includes the Administration Team, Nurse and Wellness Center, and Security. Our department has 7 counselors, the equivalent of five full-time staff. Three of us, Rob Bright (8th Grade and Head Counselor), Michael Matsumoto (6th Grade Counselor), Karen Byeman (7th Grade Counselor), work for Seattle Public Schools and are assigned groups of approximately 350 students each. We “loop” with our students, meaning that we stay with them all three years they are at WMS. Marilynn Moritz works under the Middle School Support Grant (MSSG), and focuses on long-term work with about 35 students in all grades. Christine Milton works as a Drug and Alcohol Intervention Resource Specialist, teaching in Health classes and running groups and individual counseling. Julie Seltzer and Gretchen Davis work for the Group Health Wellness Center at Washington, and together see approximately 40 students. To contact Ms. Seltzer or Ms. Davis, please call the Wellness Center at 206-568-3327.
Our services vary depending on our role. The 3 grade-level counselors handle almost any school-related issue you could think of, including academics, lost locker combinations, peer social issues and mediation, teacher and parent problems, scheduling and grade questions, parent and teacher consults, crisis management, grief and loss, family issues, etc. We also work with groups of students and do in-class education. Our work can be short-term (one visit) or last 3 years. The nature of our job, however, does not allow for regularly scheduled, long meetings with students. For students who could benefit from such meetings we turn to our Wellness Center and MSSG counselors, or to outside resources.