School Counselor

Carla O'Rourke, CounselorMy name is Carla O’Rourke and I am your child’s School Counselor. The Sparta District’s School Counseling Program is prevention-oriented with a primary goal of helping students to reach their fullest potential. Please contact me if there is anything I can do to assist your child this school year. I look forward to working with you and your child. It is going to be a fun and exciting year of learning.

My roles as the school counselor:

  • Working with students in small groups on topics such as social skills, friendship, family changes, self-esteem, school success, etc.  Students are welcome to join groups throughout the year.
  • Meeting with students individually on issues such as peer conflicts, academic concerns, family changes, grief issues, anger management, etc.
  • Teaching developmentally appropriate, skill-based classroom guidance lessons in all K-3 classrooms covering the areas of academic success, social skills, self-management, protective behaviors, careers and transition. This includes the topics of listening, cooperation, friendship, bullying and personal safety.
  • Consulting with teachers, staff, administrators, parents and community resources.
  • Working with parents to help their children reach their social, emotional, and academic potential.

If you would like your child to join a group or be scheduled for individual counseling you may let me know by contacting me by email at or by phone at (608) 366-3467 ext. 3117.

The Sparta Area School District has released a new slogan that supports our various bullying prevention initiatives, “Bullying, not in our school. Stand up for each other. “At the elementary level we focus a great deal on teaching and reinforcing friendship skills throughout the entire school year. Therefore, when approaching the bullying prevention unit in guidance, I greatly emphasized the “Stand up for each other” part of the slogan.

The following Social Skills related topics were explored in March at specific grade levels:

Guidance Lessons

Kindergarteners talked about some basic examples of unkind behavior and how to use assertive but kind words to deal with it. Then they made a “Toolbox” full of “Power Tools”, or smart strategies, such as report, walk away, find a friend, or say stop.

First graders enjoyed the book, The New Kid, by Katie Couric and learned how to stand up for a friend who is being treated unfair. Students discovered how our words have powerful effects on one another and learned what to do when faced with either a compliment or a putdown.

Second graders worked with four scenarios demonstrating that there are different types of bullying. They focused on some of the more subtle forms, the feelings of the people involved during and after the incident, and what to do if your friend is bullying someone. Another focus of the lesson was to distinguish the difference between tattling and reporting a real problem.

Third graders took part in an activity that allowed them to experience how difficult it is to stand up for what you know is right in the face of peer pressure. They learned what a “bystander” is and contemplated under what circumstances they would be willing to go beyond being a ‘bystander” if they witnessed bullying.