Thursday, November 14, 2013

Give Back this November: Support the Mission Scholarship

If you have the financial means, please consider donating to the Mission Scholarship, sponsored by The Counseling Geek, to send a newer school counselor or graduate student to ASCA 2014.

I have been in the field for 6 years and I have not had the opportunity to attend a national school counseling conference. 2014 is the year for me to finally experience an ASCA Conference and I am happy to be able to help support two additional school counselors in making the trip to Florida.

Click here to go directly to the donation page, give what you can. As little as $1 or $10 will help secure a strong base for the honorees.

Thank you for offering this opportunity Jeff, I look forward to meeting you in person and the honorees!

Have questions about the scholarship or want to read about last year's winner? Please contact Jeff or visit his blog for updates:

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Career Development Month: Advocate for your Program Month

Six years ago I began my career at a small school (350 students) in southwestern Illinois. One of the first things that stood out to me was almost none of the seniors, or other students, had any direction or plan for their future. As a result I created a comprehensive career development program with all of the free resources I could find to assist the seniors in discovering their calling and creating a solid career plan and developed an annual College & Career Day event. The purpose of the event is for CHS students to devote time to exploring their interests, assessing their strengths, and planning for their futures.

The following year I launched electronic student portfolios, but made them optional. Today those free electronic student portfolios are mandatory for all students and the foundation of my school counseling curriculum, as they support all 3 ASCA domains and provide parents with the opportunity to monitor their students academic growth, personal/social development and career development.

Today, College & Career Day is a staple at CHS, we host a keynote speaker and colleges, our career center & local employers set up information tables & share information, our students also work on their career portfolios and do testing. Currently, almost 100% of my seniors go into their senior year with a clear direction for their future, I do still have some that have a tough time deciding, or listen to the negativity from faculty members that don't believe in my vision-yes there are major obstacles.

A lot has changed for the better as a result of our comprehensive school counseling program and systematic career development program, the results don't lie. Almost 100% of our students graduate with college credit and almost 90% go on to college, trade school or enlist with the armed forces.

When the new IL School Report Cards were released recently I was disappointed that my school chose not to highlight our great and ever improving program. Here is how I chose to advocate for more exposure and support:

An email to my administration (including my superintendent)

"This article is exactly why I always highlight our Career Development program. We have been above the curve for 6 years & running and we didn't buy our program. I created it based on current job market trends and the needs of our students, and customize and update it each year with free, electronic resources from the state  and other sources.

I implemented electronic student portfolios 6 years ago for struggling seniors and made them mainstream 5 years ago. Last year they became mandatory for all students and are now the foundation of our school counseling curriculum.

Through the career development process students can better see the connection between the classroom and a career and begin to appreciate education more. The possibilities are endless.

We need to highlight our program on our school report card and continue to strengthen it with more teacher buy-in, participation from the grade school in career development efforts and create a systematic job shadowing program within our own community.

I am committed to growing & strengthening the program. How can you all help to make sure we stay above this curve and ensure success for all of our students?"


November is National Career Development Month, read the article above and create an opportunity to dialogue with your administration about the unique contribution school counselors bring to schools and why we must be given the opportunity to do what we do best for the sake of our schools, students, communities and the future of our nation.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

What Victory for humanity are you Striving for?

As I reflect on my life and my career journey, one moment, repeated over and over again, sticks out to me.

Each day that I had class on the far end of the SIUC campus, I would walk through the Education building and see this quote by Horace Mann engraved on the wall, "Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity."

Each time I saw it I would reflect on what it meant.

Most people who know me well, know that I am a goal setter. I thrive on setting and working towards accomplishing goals.

This quote is always ingrained in the fabric of every goal I set because I firmly believe we have to do something for others to truly preserve our legacy as human beings and improve our species for the sake of those that come after us.

Being a school counselor aligns with this moral obligation, and in hindsight, maybe that quote led me to where I am today in terms of a career and current job.

Every once in a while I feel like I have chipped a little piece away as I work towards winning a victory for humanity. I recently learned that another colleague of mine decided to go back to college to pursue a degree in school counseling as a result of our interactions, she is the third person, that I know of, that I have influenced in this way in 6 years.

I know they will all do justice for our career and for those they serve.

My work is not done, but this small victory makes me proud.

What quotes inspire you? What victories have you won for humanity? Please share your thoughts and stories to inspire others as we push through the end of another productive semester as school counselors.