Friday, July 26, 2013

Back to School-Back to Connecting

It's just about time for many of us to head back to school, so...why not have a party to get us all in the spirit! A Blog Linky Party that is!

This is my first attempt at something this sophisticated so let's hope all goes well and we all go home with great gifts (knowledge).

How do you participate?
  1. Create a blog post titled: "Back to School-Back to Connecting" and answer the questions below
  2. Paste the Linky Party logo from above at the beginning of your blog post
  3. Submit your blog post link below (please be sure to link your actual blog post, not your blog homepage)

I am on an extended contract, I work 10 days before the students come back and 10 days after their last day. My first day of work this year will be Monday, July 29. I am heading back a little early this year (our students won't come back until August 16) so I can help out with Freshman Academy and I will have a couple of days off in between to ease into the transition.

This year I plan to finally organize my program Advisory Council. Last year I spent a lot of time learning about the value of this element of a comprehensive school counseling program and soliciting interest from community members, parents and administrators-this is the year I will finally get things moving!

  1. My Assistant- she's not really a "tool" per se, but it would be difficult to accomplish as much as I do without her there to keep me in check!
  2. Technology in general. I use technology in every aspect of my job, without it I would be lost.
  3. FORMS! As a high school counselor forms are essential to helping me deliver a consistent message to all of my students. My "Academic Review Form" has received rave reviews from parents and helps my student to not only see where they are in terms of graduation, but also helps them appreciate how much they have accomplished.

At the beginning of each year I usually visit every English class to introduce my program and hand out my program brochure. Recently the administration has asked that I utilize our homeroom/advisory period to deliver the majority of my curriculum, so this year I will visit each homeroom instead. Since I am the only counselor I will combine homerooms, up to 30 students, and give them a brief overview of my role this year as their school counselor.

Over the last 5 years I have published a newsletter, on and off, and also used our school website. I have found that the combination of these two approaches reaches the majority of our stakeholders. Other methods that have worked for us have included One Call Now, an automated phone system, and publishing everything possible in our daily announcements, which also are posted on our school website.

  1. Build relationships with teachers fast. Let them know what your goals are and ask how you can work together to ease their burden and reach your goals.
  2. Execute a Management Agreement with the administration that recognizes how, when and where your school counseling curriculum will be delivered.
  3. Publish your schedule, share your lesson plans and results
I have been blessed to work with super flexible teachers that will bend over backwards to help me deliver my curriculum. The health teacher and I realized that many of our lessons were similar (I-messages, Decision Making) so we co-teach them now instead of doing double duty and boring the students. Learning Styles assessments are done through our Freshman Academy curriculum and administered by homeroom teachers for grades 10-12. I was also lucky enough to get my own classroom last year, really just a classroom that is never used. I asked for 30 desks and a computer to complete the space and now I have a room that is always available for school counseling purposes.

A collaborative approach is key.

Staying organized is sometimes a huge task for me since I am often on the run or working on a million things at once. But, in my moments of sanity, I use lots of filing bins boxes, and accessories. I also adopted a rolling cart last year that I use when I am working on a specific school counseling lesson over a couple of days. I just leave all of my materials organized on the cart and roll it from room to room.

I also use outlook to keep all of my appointments and classroom visits organized. I set reminders for myself and check the calendar each day before I leave the office so I am prepared for the next day and upcoming weeks.

Now it's your turn to connect with other school counselors! Feel free to use my question images on your blog post. Welcome back to school & welcome to the party!

New Linky Party blog posts will be listed below. You may also email your blog post link to me if you have trouble joining the party.


  1. Can't wait to join! I'll be working on my post and will link it when it's ready! I love the questions you have for us and can't wait to see what everyone has to say!

  2. Looking forward to your post Carol! Welcome to the party & best wishes for a positive & productive school year.

  3. All done! SO excited to read everyone else's!

    1. I enjoyed your post Johnathon. I am loving reading everyone's responses too, I am getting more energized for the year ahead & developing ideas for new ways to approach so many things in my school counseling practice.

  4. This is SO cool! Thank's for kicking me in my bloggin' ars! <3

  5. Glad you found it insightful Elissa. I have picked up so many new ideas & tools from this party. Thanks again for joining in the fun! ---> Catch .*.*.*.*. The ball is in your court now. :)

  6. So thankful that I found this linky. I'm almost finished with my masters in School Counseling [practicum hours in the spring!], and I love that I'm finding so many new blogs to follow for inspiration. At first, I couldn't really find any counseling blogs, but it looks like I hit the jackpot. I'm following all of you now! Thanks again!

    Third Grade in the First State

    1. Meghan, glad you found all of us too! There is so much out there. Are you on Twitter?