It is imperative in any school environment that students are supported beyond their academic development, but in their personal growth, as well.  Phoenix Country Day School is committed to the personal development of the whole student, and provides numerous resources to support students beyond the classroom, including four full-time counselors on staff. 

In the Middle School, two counselors integrate a counseling curriculum, call You and Others (or YO), into the students’ weekly schedules in order to support personal growth, explore individual values and interpersonal skills, engage in group activities, practice conflict management, and address other issues commonly facing middle school students.

Both in the YO classes and beyond, the counselors build strong, supportive and personal relationships with the students, which enable students to feel comfortable visiting the counselor for any one-on-one support regarding psychological, emotional, performance, or developmental issues, as needed. 

Several core themes run throughout the four-year YO program: increased self-esteem, respect for differences, positive leadership, decision-making, coping skills, and an appreciation for group dynamics and interaction.  Because these areas overlap, class presentations often address more than one of these themes. While students are encouraged to participate in activities, the class honors each individual’s right to privacy.  Overall, the goal is to foster respect for one’s self and others within the school, local, and larger communities.

You and Others Topics

5th Grade

  • Introductions/Getting to know you
  • Team building
  • Mindfulness
  • Gratitude log
  • Identity and groups we belong to
  • Personal and family values
  • Understanding and setting boundaries
  • Exploring power dynamics
  • Friendships/Teasing
  • Verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Empathy and multiple perspectives
  • Gender and gender identity
  • Positive self-talk and self compassion
  • Substance awareness
  • Sexuality education

6th Grade

  • Introductions/Getting to know you
  • Class trip preparation
  • Team building and rules of improv
  • Mindfulness
  • Gratitude log
  • Friendship and bullying
  • Communication styles
  • Visible and invisible identities
  • Dialogue skills
  • Inclusive humor
  • Values
  • Nutrition and body image
  • Digital Citizenship/Internet safety
  • Self-awareness and identity exploration
  • Understanding power dynamics
  • Impacts of privilege
  • Positive self-talk and self-compassion
  • Unconscience bias and internalized stereotypes
  • Stress and relaxation 
  • Substance awareness
  • Gender empowerment
  • Gender identity and sexual orientation
  • Sexuality education

7th Grade

  • Introductions/Getting to know you
  • Team building
  • Stress and relaxation
  • Mindfulness
  • Self-awareness/self-expression
  • Boundaries
  • Sexual harassment
  • Values clarification
  • Multiple Intelligence Theory
  • Personality traits/Communication styles
  • Self-esteem
  • Body image
  • Digital citizenship/Internet safety
  • Cyberbullying
  • Substance education
  • Sexuality education
  • Evaluations of class and closing activities

8th Grade

  • Introductions/Getting to know you
  • Social dynamics/peer pressure
  • Effective communication
  • Class trip preparation
  • Team building
  • Social Media/Media Influence
  • Digital citizenship
  • Respecting racial differences
  • Respecting gender differences
  • Respecting sexual orientation differences
  • Respecting disabilities
  • Understanding power and privilege
  • Depression and suicide
  • Substance education
  • Sexuality education
  • Evaluation of class and closing activities