Piccowaxen Middle School's
Counseling Department Webpage


Welcome to the 2020-21 school year. Please, if you have not already,

We invite you to view all of our Student Service's introductory videos:


Distance Learning Resources for Parents/Guardians
Distance Learning Resources for Students                      
CCPS Suicide Prevention Webpage CCPS Suicide Prevention Webpage
Piccowaxen Supply List for 2020-21 School Year (Virtual and In-Person)
Piccowaxen Supply List for 2020-21 School Year (Virtual and In-Person)
Stress and Coping from the CDC
Virtual Relaxation Room - From Matthew Henson MS
How to Scan Your Documents Using an IPhone, IPad, or IPod
Stress and How to Manage It
Supporting Families with PBIS at Home
Optimism During a Pandemic
Creating an Attitude of Gratitude
Positivity - The Sunny Side of Life
Stress - Two Quick Relaxation Techniques



Our school counselors advise students on course scheduling and assist students in making appropriate choices to achieve their future goals. We offer brief, solution-focused counseling services to students who are experiencing problems in any area that affects their academic performance. You will notice that our counselor caseloads are divided by alphabet. Our counselors have split all three grade levels. Ms. Truesdell is the counselor for students whose last name begins with A through K. and Mr. Marchione is the counselor for students whose last name begins with L through Z. Other department personnel include Ms. Shaw, Guidance Secretary and Data Entry Technician. We strongly encourage parents and guardians to contact their child's counselor with any questions or concerns that may affect their child's academic, personal/social, or career development. 



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Shirley Truesdell, Last names A-K
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Google Voice Number (240) 233-4082
Bill Marchione, Last names L-Z, Department Chair
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Google Voice Number (804) 742-2113
Bio: Shirley Truesdell has been in education for 20 years. She received her undergraduate from Malone College. Shirley was a mathematics major who earned her Secondary Education Certification. Her first years of teaching were spent at Milton Somers. She also coached volleyball and basketball at La Plata High School.  During those years, she also spent time earning her School Counseling Certification from Trinity University. Shortly after that Shirley got married and had her first child, AnnMarie. During that time, she moved to Pennsylvania and taught at a preschool. After having her second child, Mason, she started teaching for Big Spring Middle School and coaching their high school and middle school volleyball teams. When life took and unexpected turn, she moved back to Maryland and started teaching at Piccowaxen Middle School. Shirley then pursued getting her Administration Certification from McDaniel University. She has enjoyed her time in the classroom but is excited for the opportunity to be a school counselor and advocate for our students.   
Bio: Mr. Marchione came to Piccowaxen as a School Counselor from Long Island, NY in 2007. After eight wonderful years, Mr. Marchione decided to get some experience at the high school level. He was offered a position at McDonough High School. Mr. Marchione enjoyed his time at McDonough High School as he helped his students navigate the twists and turns of high school life while also figuring out what they wanted to do post-graduation. Though Mr. Marchione enjoyed high school, there was something about middle school he missed. After three years at McDonough, a position became available back at Piccowaxen. Armed with high school experience, Mr. Marchione accepted a position back at Piccowaxen where he is today. Mr. Marchione is excited to be going into his thirteenth year as a school counselor in Charles County Public Schools.  






What is a School Counselor?    
First and foremost the school counselor is a Student Advocate. It falls to the school counselor to be a voice for student needs and an agent for change as well as creator of services to meet these needs. The role of the counselor as a change agent includes conducting student needs assessments, collaborating with on site-based improvement teams, monitoring changing demographics, transience concerns, community issues, addressing parental concerns, meeting school system goals for student achievement and safe and orderly school environments, and coordinating the development of a school counseling program plan.

School counselors offer consultation to students, parents/guardians, teachers, administrators, and service providers.

They identify students' academic, personal, developmental, and social-emotional concerns. Counselors work with all those listed above to address these concerns.  

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Services Provided by the School Counselor:   
Individual Counseling - a one-to-one personal interaction between a counselor and a student to resolve problems, undertake new tasks, or explore concerns. In school settings, this counseling interaction is typically based upon a brief, action-oriented counseling model. although, some student concerns may require multiple counseling sessions. The counseling relationship is founded upon trust and rapport which result from the unconditional positive regard the counselor demonstrates to the student.

Developmental Classroom Guidance - Operates on an instructional approach and involves all students at respective grade levels. These sessions are based upon developmental tasks, assessed needs, and emerging situational concerns. A variety of teaching strategies are employed including the creative use of cooperative learning methods, multimodal learning approaches, using mixed media, and designing well-constructed activities. Subjects covered during Guidance Lessons Include Bullying, Conflcit Resolution, Study Skills, Career Education, Suicide Prevention, School Safety, and Time Management.  

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Counseling Programs:   
  • Individual and Group Counseling
  • High School Course of Study, College, and Career Counseling
  • Social and Emotional Counseling
  • Instruction on Conflict Resolution, and Peer Mediation
  • Student Support Team (A team of specialists who meet weekly to help those students who need more specific supports)
  • Peer Tutoring - (Students helping other studnets with academic concerns. Meetings held during lunch)
  • Student Groups such as Teens Influencing Every Student (TIES), Social Skills Groups, Anger Management Groups, or other various groupd depending on the need 

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How to Register Your Child at Piccowaxen or Other Schools in Charles County   
  • The reistration process is now entirely online. For detailed information on how to register your child in Charles County, click here. 
  • Parents new to CCPS must first create a ParentVUE account to register online using a valid email address.
  • Please call Piccowaxen at 301-934-1977 with questions or to schedule an appointment for registration. 


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Student Transfers and Withdrawls   

When moving inside or outside the Piccowaxen School zone, you must provide 2 new proofs of domocile; one proof from catergory 1; and 1 proof from catergory 2. Click on the following link for more information about verification of domocile:


When moving out of the Piccowaxen School zone you must do the following: 

You must notify the Counseling Secretary 48 hours in advance of the student being withdrawn so that the proper documentation can be completed. Failure to give required advance notification will result in a delay when processing the required withdrawal paperwork. 


Checklist for Withdrawal of Students:   
  • Parent signature on withdrawal form
  • Student needs to be cleared by the media specialist. (no overdue books or fines)
  • Check with cafeteria about any money still on student's account.
  • All textbooks turned into teacher. If books are not returned, you will receive a bill for the book.
  • All grades are given to student.
  • Student is responsible for clearing out his/her locker.
  • Student must get lock from gym locker.

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Tips for Students   

General Tips 
  • Be in school every day.
  • When you miss school, you miss lectures, notes, class discussions, homework explanations, assignments, quizzes and tests.
  • Set yourself realistic short and long term goals.
  • Short term goals are goals that you can achieve within days or weeks; long term goals are goals that may take weeks, months or possibly years. Making an "A" on your next Science test could be a short term goal, whereas majoring in Biology when you go to college might be one of your long term goals..
  • Get involved in school activities.
  • There are many clubs and after school activities at Piccowaxen that a student may enjoy being a part of. These activities will allow you to spend more time with your friends and meet new people, try something new, relieve stress, further develop your skills and talents, and to just have more fun.
  • Doing your best to get along with your parents will make life in middle school much more enjoyable.
Tips for Students, By Students: 
  • "Try to be nice to everyone. If you do this, then you will have a ton of friends."
  • "Take your grades seriously, but don't let your life revolve around an A."
  • "Focus on your schoolwork, and if you don't understand something, ask for help."
  • "Don't follow the crowd - people will like you better if you are not afraid to be you."
  • "Get involved in activities, even if you don't think you're that good. You don't have to be good at something to have fun."
  • "Be organized. You'll save lots of time, and you won't always be stressed out because you forgot something."
  • "Don't worry about how 'popular' someone is. If you like them, then hang out with them."
  • "Don't be too hard on yourself. Everyone does stupid things in middle school - just forget about it and move on."
  • "Concentrate on doing well in your classes, and don't get caught up in the school drama."
  • "Have fun - middle school goes really fast."
How to Reduce Conflict with Parents or Guardians: 
  • Talk to your parents or guardians about what's happening in school and about what you and your friends are doing. If you let them in on what's going on in your life, they are less likely to feel like you're hiding things from them. Telling them the simplest thing like, "today I got a B on my Social Studies quiz", could make all the difference in the world.
  • Know that your parents or guardians care about you and that sometimes when you're out with your friends, they worry about you.
  • If you've done something wrong, don't lie about it. Admit what you have done and accept the consequences. Your parents will be more understanding if you tell them the truth. If you lie, you may start to lose their trust.
  • Always tell your parents or guardians where you are going and when you will be home. Check in with them often. It is a dangerous world at times and your parents or guardians worry; checking in will help them feel more at ease.
  • Never be disrespectful to your parents or guardians.
  • Communication is the key to having a good relationship with your parents or guardians. If there is something you need or want, or if you have a problem of any kind, tell your parents. They are not mind readers; you have to help them understand what you need from them.

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If one of our students is being bullied, we strongly suggest that a Bullying, Harrassment, and Intimidation Reporting Form be completed. CCPS now has an online reporting form avaialble which is sent directly to your child's school administration. This form can be completed by the parent/guardian of the student being bullied, a friend of the person being bullied, a teacher, or the student who is being bullied.
** You can click here to view the online Bullying, Harassment and Intimidation Reporting Form. ** 

Some Important Definitions: 

  • Bullying – A pattern or behavior when a person repeatedly uses power in an intentional manner, including verbal, physical, or written conduct or intentional electronic communication against one or more students.
  • Cyberbullying – The use of electronic communication to harm or harass others in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner.
  • Harassment – Includes actual or perceived negative actions that offend, ridicule, or demean another individual with regard to race, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ancestry, physical attributes, socioeconomic status, familial status, physical or mental ability, or disability.
  • Intimidation – subjecting an individual to intentional action that seriously threatens and induces a sense of fear and/or inferiority.


Impact of Bullying:

Bullying is one of the most serious challenges facing our schools. Surveys indicate that students view bullying as the worst experience of childhood, other than losing a loved one. Being taunted verbally or attacked physically can be a painful ordeal that can leave lasting psychological scars. In some cases it can have life-long consequences. Victims of bullying may experience anxiety, low self-esteem, depression and in some cases, even suicidal thoughts. They may come to view school, where most incidents of bulling occur, as an unsafe place. In fact, many bullying victims refuse to go to school to avoid facing the possibility of bullying. Bullying also affects students who are not victims but who witness these incidents. Bullying can create a climate of fear and anxiety in a school.


Why do students Bully? How Does Bullying Make Us Feel?
  • to gain power
  • to get attention or become popular
  • to get material things
  • to act out problems at home
  • to copy another person they admire
  • to fit in or to belong
  • How does being bullied make us feel
  • hurt
  • lonely
  • confused
  • sad
  • angry
  • anxious
  • singled out


Useful Resources Regarding Bullying Prevention for Students and Adults: 

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Suicide Prevention  

Our counselors educate students about suicide prevention each year through classroom lessons. In 7th and 8th grade, our counselors talk candidly with students about the warning signs to look out for when their peers may be depressed or thinking about suicide. Counselors talk to students about what to do and where to go for help when they themselves are showing signs of depression or having thoughts of suicide or they are concerned about a peer due to the warning signs displayed. In 6th grade, the focus of the classroom lesson is on stress and how stress affects our bodys. Depression is discussed, but the main focus of the 6th grade lesson is on stress and how we cope with it.

What to Do When a Peer or Family Member is Depressed or Having Thoughts of Suicide:

•Treat the problem seriously
•Express your concern and support
•Don't judge the person
•Don't argue with the person
•Never promise to keep the disclosure a secret. (If you are tricked into promising, BREAK THE PROMISE!)
•Listen well until you can get assistance. If you think the threat is immediate, don't leave the person alone.


Some Common Warning Signs:

•Mood Swings
•Giving away possessions
•Withdrawal from people, especially close friends, family and favorite activities
•Change in eating or sleeping patterns
•Chronic pain
•Restlessness - inability to concentrate
•Lower academic achievement
•Talking about or threatening suicide
•Previous suicide attempt


Where to go for Help:

•School Counselors
•A Friend
•School Psychologist
•Pupil Personnel Worker
•Help Hotlines ◦Maryland Youth Crisis Hotline - (800) 422-0009 or
◦Covenant House - (800) 999-9999 or  

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