Welcome to School Counseling

  • Our role

    School counselors are an important part of the educational leadership team and provide valuable assistance to students. Our counselor serves as part of a team, including parents, teachers, administrators, community, and students, to promote, and improve student success within the school. Today's school counselors are vital members of the education team. They help all students in the areas of academic achievement, personal/social development and career development, ensuring today's students become the productive, well-adjusted adults of tomorrow.

    GQES School Counseling Vision Statement:

    Every student who attends Garland R. Quarles Elementary School is prepared to enter the post-secondary stage of life with the confidence and skills necessary to succeed in the ever-changing world.  All students are empowered, thriving members of their communities and exhibit effective communication, the ability to nurture positive relationships and the desire to master challenges with creative solutions.  This diverse group of learners and leaders is kind and compassionate and see themselves as an important part of a larger whole.  They are committed to making innovative systemic changes to better the lives of all members of the community.

    GQES School Counseling Mission Statement:

    The mission of the Garland R. Quarles Elementary School counseling program is for all students to have the knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary to achieve academic and behavioral excellence while engaged in a safe learning environment.  Participation in the data-driven comprehensive school counseling program at GQES ensures that all students have access to multi-tiered levels of support including classroom lessons, opportunities for small groups and individual counseling based on their needs.  Through effective collaboration with all stakeholders and advocating for each individual child’s needs, the school counseling program helps empower all students to embrace rigorous challenges and navigate personalized pathways to maximize their full potential. 

    School Counseling activities at GQES:

    • Developmental Guidance Lessons (within the classroom):  These lessons typically cover topics such as study skills, character education, social skills, and career awareness.
    • Small Group Counseling: Support groups are offered to students who may benefit from additional support dealing with stressors, such as: family changes, grief or loss, anger management, social issues, peer relations.
    • Individual Counseling.  Individual counseling is offered on an “as needed basis”, and tends to focus on problem-solving.  In these brief sessions, counselors work with students in addressing issues which might otherwise interfere with the student’s ability to succeed in school.

      *School counseling is not therapy. However, we can assist you in locating appropriate community services when needed. Please feel free to contact your child’s counselor with questions and/or concerns at 540-662-3575.


Our Counselors

  • Sara Shoemaker

    Sara Shoemaker
    GQES Counselor

    Mrs. Shoemaker went to undergrad at the University of Mary Washington and graduate school at the University of Virginia.  She holds a degree in psychology and a masters in counselor education (school counseling).  She has worked as a school counselor since 2006.

Helping Families...

    • Exploring ways to help your child succeed
    • Supply reference materials
    • Referrals to community resources
    • Access resources and services in our community
    • Adjusting to Family Changes
    • Adjusting to a new school
    • Parenting techniques


Helping Students...

    • Managing feelings (stress, worry, anger, grief, etc.)
    • Learning and creating friendships
    • Setting goals 
    • Collaborative learning
    • Improving self-image
    • Adjusting to a new school
    • Learning how to make good decisions