School Counselor

Welcome to the MTMS Counselor's Corner

It is my absolute pleasure to serve as your child's school counselor at Mendham Township Middle School. The MTMS comprehensive school counseling program focuses on serving ALL students and concentrating on strengths to create a positive environment for our students to thrive.

Please utilize this site as a resource for yourself and your children. This site will be updated to provide helpful information and news about the counseling program and upcoming events and/or deadlines.

Always feel free to call, stop in, or email me at any time. I am always a resource for your children, but even more importantly, I am a resource for you! I look forward to a spectacular 2017-2018 school year ahead!


Best of Wishes,

Allie Perrotta, M.Ed
School Counselor
Anti-Bullying Specialist
973-543-2505 Ext. 225
aperrotta@mendhamtwp.org

My Philosophy and Approach

As a professional school counselor, I have a firm belief that all children have unlimited potential. It is my duty to help students discover their passions and thrive in all aspects of their lives. Being trained under a Strengths-Based School Counseling framework, I believe that my primary role is to promote and advocate for positive youth development for ALL students and to assist in creating and sustaining environments for students to flourish. I focus on encouraging and promoting students' strengths rather than concentrating on their deficits.

I will utilize the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model to help create and implement a comprehensive school counseling program that will address all students' academic, career, and personal/social needs. Every school is special and unique and I will utilize data systems to assess what interventions are needed to address my specific school's needs and what my specific students and staff's needs are.

Every child is unique. Therefore, I use a variety of counseling theories and techniques specific to the circumstances. I believe it is extremely important to stay up to date on current research and to always evaluate your programming for efficiency. I use a variety of technology to collect and analyze data to inform my practice.

Finally, collaboration is of utmost importance to me. It is my mission to team up with teachers, administrators, families, and community members to create an environment for students to thrive.

Private High School Application

If your child plans on applying to a private/alternative high school, please send transcript release forms as soon as possible. In addition, students should ask their selected staff to write their letters of recommendation as soon as possible to allow for ample time to complete and submit them. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me any time.

Peer Leader Information


Thank you for your interest in the Peer Leader program! The Peer Leaders serve as positive role models at MTMS and help lead a variety of programs in the Mendham Township district. The Peer Leader application process occurs in a variety of steps. Students must first review the application rubric with their parents and return a signed permission form. They must then fill out a short answer application. Students will be assigned random numbers on each application in place of names to ensure fairness while scoring. In addition, teachers will be filling out recommendation forms for each student that will yield points. Using this criteria, finalists will be chosen by the selection committee for an interview. The interview will consist of three questions asked by a panel of staff members. Their interview score, combined with their application and teacher recommendation score, will determine the peer leaders for the next academic year. Please note that each year we receive a very high number of applicants and that due to classroom space only 20 students can be chosen to serve as Peer Leaders. It is extremely important to understand not making the Peer Leader program is NOT a reflection of the student's ability to be a leader now or in the future. All students have a lot to offer to the Peer Leader program and every single student should be commended for going through the process. During the application process, students will utilize this webpage to receive updates. Students must remember their randomly assigned numbers as they will be used to post finalists for interviews and to post the final peer leader list. Selection decisions will not be discussed on the phone, however, it is encouraged that if students want to seek feedback that they themselves schedule a time with Ms. Perrotta.


ROUND ONE: INTERVIEWS --->
See below to find the following list for the finalists chosen for interviews. The finalists were chosen by who had the highest overall score which was your combined application (10 points) and teacher recommendation (30 points) score. Please remember that points were also deducted for any documented disciplinary incidents and excessive tardiness. Please see your rubric for the point breakdowns.

The panel was overwhelmed by the amount of fantastic applicants this year!! We wish we could take every single candidate but the class capacity simply will not allow. We cannot thank you enough for your efforts and determination in this process. If your number is listed below, please go to the main office ASAP to receive your interview slot as interviews will take place all morning this Wednesday (6/8). Please note that if you miss your interview slot, you will not be able to continue in the process so it of utmost importance you pick up your interview pass tomorrow.

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FINAL PEER LEADER LIST ------>
The panel cannot thank each and every candidate enough for applying to be a peer leader. This year was extremely competitive with nearly 90 students starting off in the process. You all should be very proud of yourselves for making it to the interview round!!! Every single one of you possess unique and wonderful qualities that make you into the fantastic students and human beings that you are. Please see the list below for the final peer leader list.

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Thank you again to all candidates and REMEMBER this is not a direct reflection of who you are as a person or your character. We believe everyone has the potential to be a leader and it is a very important skill to continue to practice. Please know that we will offer the "SAILS: Students Advancing in Leadership and Service" club after school next year for all who would like to enhance their leadership skills and participate in various service opportunities.

Parent Resources/Social Media Safety

In this day and age of advancing technology and social media, students are online and connected to their cellphones more than ever before. It is a parent/guardian's main goal to keep their child safe which becomes even more difficult when our world is changing around us. Please see below for a variety of resources that are helpful in keeping your children safe online and on their cell phones:

1) Create a Family Online Safety Contract: First and foremost, start with a family contract agreeing to rules for online safety. This sets the expectations and ground rules for internet and social media use. Click the link below for an example of a Family Contract for Online Safety or have a family meeting to create one of your own.

2) Set Parental Controls: One way to ensure online safety under your own roof is by setting parental controls. This will restrict their ability to access unsafe or inappropriate material they could potentially be exposed to. See below for instructions on how to set parental controls on popular online/media outlets:

Understanding Parental Controls


3) Be Social Media Savvy: Be aware of the evolving social media apps and websites. Specifically, be sure to monitor your child's Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Ask.fm, Kik, etc. The list of apps is endless and this is the outlet many children use to cyber bully and/or participate in dangerous online activity. See below for helpful articles and resources regarding these social media sites:

A Parents' Guide to Instagram

A Parents' Guide to Snapchat

A Parents' Guide to Cybersecurity

In addition, if you were unable to attend Officer Joe's informational HIB/Violence Awareness assemblies this week, you can access his presentations below:


If you have any questions or concerns regarding online safety, feel free to contact me any time (aperrotta@mendhamtwp.org) and I will be happy to help.

Parent Resources/Suicide Awareness and Prevention

This year for Violence Awareness Week we will be concentrating on suicide awareness and prevention as another measure to keep our kids safe. Suicide is the THIRD leading cause of death for ages 10-24. This is an alarming statistic considering that 4 out of 5 teens who attempt suicide have shown clear warning signs. Please use the resources below to be fully informed of the statistics, warning signs, and information of what you can do as a parent if you suspect your teen is exhibiting warning signs of suicide. There will also be a list of parent resources for you to access any time for additional help and support.


Statistics of Teen Suicide

  • More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED.
  • Each day in our nation there are an average of over 5,400 attempts by young people grades 7-12
  • At least 90% of teens who kill themselves have some type of mental health problem, such as depression, anxiety, drug or alcohol abuse, or a behavior problem.
  • There is one death by suicide in the US every 13 minutes.
  • Depression affects 20-25% of Americans ages 18+ in a given year.
  • Suicide takes the lives of over 38,000 Americans every year.
  • Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment.
  • 80% -90% of adolescents that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication.
  • An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors.
  • There is one suicide for every estimated 25 suicide attempts.
  • More than 30% of LGBTQ youth report at least one suicide attempt within the last year.
  • More than 50% of Transgender youth will have had at least one suicide attempt by their 20th birthday.
Warning Signs:
These signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide. Risk is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss or change.
  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun.
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawn or feeling isolated.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

Additional Warning Signs of Suicide

  • Preoccupation with death.
  • Suddenly happier, calmer.
  • Loss of interest in things one cares about.
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye.
  • Making arrangements; setting one's affairs in order.
  • Giving things away, such as prized possessions.
Click here to see a breakdown to know the FACTS about warning signs.

Talking to your Children about Suicide:
  • Timing is everything! Pick a time when you have the best chance of getting your child’s attention. Sometimes a car ride, for example, assures you of a captive, attentive audience. Or a suicide that has received media attention can provide the perfect opportunity to bring up the topic.
  • Think about what you want to say ahead of time and rehearse a script if necessary. It always helps to have a reference point: (”I was reading in the paper that youth suicide has been increasing…” or “I saw that your school is having a program for teachers on suicide prevention.”)
  • Be honest. It this is a hard subject for you to talk about, admit it! (”You know, I never thought this was something I’d be talking with you about, but I think it’s really important”). By acknowledging your discomfort, you give your child permission to acknowledge his/her discomfort too.
  • Ask for your child’s response. Be direct! (”What do you think about suicide?”; “Is it something that any of your friends talk about?”, “Have you ever thought about it? What about your friends?”)
  • Listen to what your child has to say. You’ve asked the questions, so simply consider your child’s answers. If you hear something that worries you, be honest about that too. “What you’re telling me has really gotten my attention and I need to think about it some more. Let’s talk about this again, okay?”
  • Don’t overreact or under react. Overreaction will close off any future communication on the subject. Under reacting, especially in relation to suicide, is often just a way to make ourselves feel better. ANY thoughts or talk of suicide (”I felt that way awhile ago but don’t any more”) should ALWAYS be revisited. Remember that suicide is an attempt to solve a problem that seems impossible to solve in any other way. Ask about the problem that created the suicidal thoughts. This can make it easier to bring up again in the future (”I wanted to ask you again about the situation you were telling me about...”)
For more information about speaking with your children about suicide, click here.

What Should I do if I am Worried about my Child?
If your parent radar is going off, you are usually right. If you are worried about your child but unsure of the next step, please click here to access more information from The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide. It may be a very scary and confusing time but seeking help is of utmost importance.
I am always a resource for you and communication with the school is extremely important. Contact me anytime for a list of local resources. Please know that MTMS has a thorough risk assessment process in place that initiates if there are concerns of a student hurting themselves or others.

Parent Resources:
The resources below offer a wealth of information and are very important to keep on hand.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:
Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide:
Suicide Prevention Resource Center:
National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention:

Community Support Resources

Please click here for our district list of support services in the community. Please know that the Mendham Township School District is not recommending, endorsing, or advertising specific professionals, rather, we have compiled this list of resources to provide useful and relevant information to our families. This list was compiled per reviews of agencies/professionals that families have used and recommended and can be utilized as a starting point. Of course, fit is the most important part of seeking support and you should find a place that suits your child's needs and financial situation best. If you have any questions or concerns, always feel free to reach out.

Coping Skills Resources



Stress and anxiety is at an all time high for our students and children. It is more important than ever to help equip our children with a healthy coping skills toolbox. Below are a few resources that you may find helpful.

The first is a list of 105 healthy stress relief activities to practice when kids are stressed and anxious. This is a resource I have in my office that I often give to students who express the need of building their coping skills toolbox. Click HERE to access.
Next is a resource all about deep breathing strategies and exercises to practice. Deep breathing is extremely effective in helping kids calm their minds and bodies when under stress. They can also be a helpful tool for students who struggle with test or performance anxiety. Click HERE to access.

Below are links to articles suggesting helpful apps to ease stress and anxiety:

While we may not always agree with the excessive amounts of time our children spend using technology, it is also important to meet them on their level and utilizing technology is an effective way to reach them. These are apps that I have used myself and used with students suffering from stress and anxiety. They help students monitor themselves and immediately calm them down. I highly recommend taking a look into these apps as they are helpful for not only our kids, but could be extremely helpful tools for you if you struggle with stress and anxiety.
In addition, here is a video clip that I recently saw during a workshop on anxiety that sheds some light on the level of stress and pressure many of our children are feeling. If you have some time, take a few moments to watch it. Click here to watch ----> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pwKxVQon50

Finally, here is a TED Talk that you may find very helpful as a parent. It is about how Generation X has now become "Generation Stress" and gives very helpful suggestions on ways to break the cycle of stress in your own life and in your family's lives. Click here to watch ----> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jRND5IU3Qg

Most importantly, have an open and honest conversation with your children about their level of stress and anxiety and how they cope with it. Listen to them and discuss if their coping skills are healthy or unhealthy. Please remind them that I am always a resource for them in school and feel free to reach out to me any time if you are concerned about your child.

If you notice your child is suffering and needs professional help, you can click the "Community Support Resources" tab on this website as a starting point. There are many helpful professionals in the community that can help your child manage their anxiety and build their coping skills toolbox. It is OK to not be OK and there are so many people that can help.