Tuesday, September 4, 2012

New Students...Now What: School Counselor Introducation

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

School Counseling Introduction - Get the Word Out

To run an effective school counseling program, people need to know the who, what, where, and how of the services we have to offer. It is easy to fall into the trap of assuming that people know about our programs. This is not always the case. Heck, in some situations parents may not even realize that there are counseling services in their child's school.

Given the current financial crunch our schools our facing, it is increasingly more important that our presence is felt in the school environment. Letting parents and teachers know what services we provide and how to access those services is a crucial step in strengthening your counseling program.
Maybe being a school counselor is old hat to you…but don't fall into the trap of thinking that all teachers remember from one year to the next (or several years down the road) what kinds of services your provide.

The truth of the matter is that teachers that have had several of the students on your caseload will be far more familiar with how you can help them and their students than a teacher who has had less students on your caseload. In addition, new teachers or transfers may be "working the kinks out" their first year and may need to have a handy reference to access your help when it is needed.

The problem of being an "unknown" resource is further complicated when you are split between three buildings. It is even a bigger mess when you start mid-year (as I did in 2006). Yikes!

You know the old saying: You don't know what you have, until it's gone? Well, parents and teachers won't have to experience that feeling if you proactively advertise your services.

Informing others of what you do transforms your role into more than just someone who helps students; you become a valuable resource that makes the lives of teachers, administrators, and parents easier.

To help "get the word out" about my counseling program, I created an overview of my program into an easy to read brochure for teachers and parents.

After I printed them out, I delivered them in person to each of my 48 teachers. Hand delivering them is a nice touch as it shows that you are willing to work at helping them and their classroom. (Plus I find that it is really nice to personally know everyone that works in your building!)
If the image below does not show, click "previous page" inside the viewer or click the download link to be taken to the google doc.

I tweaked the brochure to remove my schools' info but I left my schedule and a few other things in case you wanted to check it out a bit. I included the link to the Publisher file so you can just plug in your info & print up a few of these to support your program.
I hope you find the brochure helpful! I would love to hear from you. How do you promote your counseling program?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Response to Intervention: Attendance Support

Michigan law has become more and more stringent in regards to student attendance. Starting with this year's current freshmen, all students are required to attend school until they are 18 years old. In addition, parents are held criminally responsible for truant students.

I developed the following forms to follow the requirements of our state's attendance policy and to document the interventions and supports I utilize to assist the student.

See below for download and contact sheet.

I would say about 75% of the attendance issues I handle are eliminated with a phone call to the parents. I use that first phone call to reach out to the family. They may be dealing with a tragic life event or their child may be experiencing school anxiety (bullying, friendship issues, etc). This first phone call allows me to notify the parents that their child's attendance is being monitored, inform them about state requirements, and identify any roadblocks the child or their families may be experiencing.

I hope you find them helpful!

(The frame isn't showing up completely in the preview but it is a complete in the download.)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Daddy Skills - Parenting Rap

I think the following rap about "Daddy Skills" would be a great conversation starter for teens, especially when addressing all of the "little things" that it takes to care for a child.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

School Counselor Introduction Power Point

I created the following School Counseling Intro Power Point when I first started in my school district. I started in Febuary and had to find a way to quickly introduce myself. I used the following presentation in grades 2nd-5th.

See the full presentation at the bottom of this post.

Scheduling Tip for multiple buildings:

  • Organization is key when you are covering more than one building. To keep on-track I typically schedule the same grade level presentations during the same week (or two). 
  • My K & 1st grade presentations are between 15-30 minutes & 3-5 are 45 minutes. I can typically fit Kindergarten and 1st grade presentations in the same week.
  • I try to have two or three different presentations to cover similar topics. This allows me to rotate my presentations every year (i.e. 4th & 5th grade receive the same presentation)
  • I keep a sign up sheet (with available time frames) on our staff's shared drive. I then send an email out (with instructions on how to reach the drive & sign-up sheet). As the saying goes, early bird gets the worm!
  • After the teachers have signed up, I send out an invite on Microsoft Outlook to confirm the time/date. If a teacher does not sign up or accept the invitation, I send them an email or check with them in person. Email tends to work best, in this situation, as "non-tech teachers" prefer this method and will wait for me to come to them. Meeting with individual teachers in person is important, but it is not the best use of my 1 1/2 days in their building. (I would rather spend that time discussing student concerns!)
Download the following Power Point by selecting to view on Slide Share (upper left hand corner).

I hope you have found these tips helpful. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Anger Management - Anger Gage

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