Counseling Department

School Counseling

Aloha families! I am Keri Powers, the School Counselor at Kaʻōhao. I was born in North Carolina, raised in Georgia, and moved to O’ahu in 2012. I enjoy spending time at the beach with my 2 boys and 2 bulldogs, hiking, and gardening. I love working with students in small groups to build relationships and practice skills like worry management, conflict resolution, and more!

The Counseling Department at Kaʻōhao School aims to support the social/emotional, mental, and academic wellbeing and growth of all students! By using a multi-tiered system of support, I deliver instruction in the classroom on topics such as emotions, coping skills, problem-solving strategies, conflict resolution, executive functioning, stress management, and more. I also provide small group instruction during our TEAM Time to meet the needs of students in a variety of areas that support academic success.

The multi-tiered systems of support for counseling and behavior looks like this:

Tier 1:

  • School Counseling Core Curriculum: Preventative and proactive counseling lessons delivered in the classroom to all students
  • Individual Student Planning: Individualized goal-setting and progress monitoring

Tier 2:

  • Responsive Services: Individual and small group counseling, crisis response
  • Consultation and Collaboration: Working together with teachers, parents, and community providers to meet the needs of students

Tier 3:

  • Responsive and intensive service referrals: Referrals to in-school specialists (i.e. Behavioral Health Specialist) and community agencies/providers


Please reach out to me any time if you have concerns about your child’s social/emotional, mental, or academic growth and development!

Keri Powers, M.A. EdHD, M.Ed., NCC


About the Curriculum


In Kindergarten counseling time, we focus on the basics of self awareness and introductory social skills. Learners explore a variety of feelings, discuss what body sensations are associated with these feelings, and practice self regulation strategies to recognize and manage their feelings. Students learn that all feelings are okay and that we have positive strategies to help us explore and regulate those feelings. Counseling curriculum also supports basic and school success social skills such as following directions, making successful transitions, sharing, taking turns, and stating needs. In terms of interacting successfully with others in the community, counseling curriculum addresses basic problem solving and conflict resolution strategies and helps learners evaluate the size of a problem to choose an appropriate response. The curriculum culminates by integrating all of these topics with a, “calm, think, choose” strategy to help learners evaluate their feelings, calm their bodies and minds, think of positive strategies, and choose appropriate problem solving strategies in a given situation.

First Grade

In first grade counseling time, learners move beyond the focus on the self and expand their understanding of social skills to more advanced interactions with others. Learners explore conversational skills such as types of communication, voice level and tone, active listening, and reflecting. Through direct instruction and play, students practice expressing feelings, accepting others, and celebrating differences to promote empathy and inclusion. These skills are applied to basic conflict resolution strategies.

Second Grade

In second grade counseling time, learners move use prior knowledge of feelings, coping strategies, and basic social skills to explore principles of resilience. Students identify problems or adversity they may experience, learn about cognitive strategies they can employ, practice advocacy skills, and apply multidimensional problem solving strategies. Students explore more in depth conflict resolution strategies that can be applied to everyday problems to promote independent problem solving. Learners also explore what it means to be a responsible student as they prepare for more independence in future grade levels.

Third Grade

In third grade counseling time, there is a heavy focus on positive community building through empathy. Students explore what it means to truly be empathetic and actionable steps they can take to demonstrate empathy in relationships, the school community, and larger community. Students apply this learning to real life situations at school and explore ways of using empathy to improve the community through STEM. Learners also explore different interpersonal problems and learn to evaluate the size of the problem and select appropriate reactions. Students also explore facets of self esteem as they continue to explore their independence and unique identity.

Fourth Grade

In 4th grade counseling time, students begin to engage in higher level self evaluation by considering their personal strengths and areas of growth as they relate to character values and principles such as communication, attitude, integrity, responsibility, and time management. Students also explore important social skills such as social inclusion, respecting differences, self advocacy, communication styles, and perspective taking. Learners evaluate choices and consequences and ethical decision making as they are gaining in independence. 

Fifth Grade

In 5th grade counseling time, students dive into the wide world of executive functions! These skills support learning, home life, and the world of work. Students practice skills such as goal setting, time management, planning, prioritization, organization, task initiation, and sustained attention. These skills are applied to academic learning and extracurricular involvement. Students also consider leadership roles, how they want to contribute to the school community, and positive ways to use their skills for the good of themselves, their peers, and the school community.

Sixth Grade

In 6th grade counseling time, students apply prior knowledge learned to support the self and peers to the larger community. Students explore community building by evaluating the impact of behaviors such as labeling/stereotyping. Students explore principles of mental health, such as balanced approaches to supporting all aspects of health, anxiety, depression, and strategies for mental health support. Students apply principles of self advocacy to community advocacy in areas that are personally meaningful. Students engage in self reflection and self evaluation to support future growth.