Sunday, August 24, 2014

School Counselor Office Tour 2014

2014 Linky Tour logo
 It's that time of year again when we all head back to the office & set up our spaces for the upcoming year. This year I am more excited than ever about my space because I think it is starting to reflect more & more of my I thought I would share some new photos and throw a Linky Party!

Check out my post from last year to see the before photos. You can also read about how my office is laid out and how I utilize my space; this year I am mainly showing photos.

This photo exposes the not so nice part of my office.

Join in the fun & share your space with other school counselors out there!

  1. Just create a blog post titled "School Counselor Office Tour 2014".  
  2. Place the 2014 Linky Tour logo at the top of your post, take pics of your room, and submit your blog post link below-- Be sure to link your blog post and not your homepage.   

Not a blogger, but want to share? Email your photos to me at and I will share them in another post.

Looking forward to seeing all of your spaces!


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

SC|CS 2015 – School Counselor Community Scholarship 2015 Fundraiser

As I shared last year, getting to #ASCA14 was going to be a first for me after 6 years in the field! Even though it was tough for me to raise the funds, I knew I had to donate to this great cause organized by Jeff Ream, also known as The Counseling Geek!

This scholarship has grown so much since 2013, which is just AWESOME!

The goal for 2015 is even bigger and more ambitious, but completely realistic considering how our school counseling community has grown over the years.

This year, The Counseling Geek is teaming up The Middle School Counselor (Carol Miller) to secure community donations and partnerships with sponsors to raise at least 5 full scholarships ($1,750) for the 2015 conference in Phoenix, AZ. Read the full details here.

We can do this!

If everyone of my current Twitter followers donates $1, we will have raised $1,049!

As of today, at the time of this post, $160 have been raised. Let's see if we can get to $500 by August 31. 

Let's all invest in our future by donating to this fantastic cause. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Best Ingredient for your School Counseling Program: An Annual Agreement

Tonight I will be hosting #SCCHAT with Kelly Stiltner (@ElemCounselor1) on the topic of: The Best Ingredient for your School Counseling Program: An Annual Agreement

I am very excited to talk about Annual Agreements with counselors from all over the country and hear how you all use them to reach more students and improve your programs and services.

Check out our SMORE flyer to learn more about the chat and as a bonus, for a month, I will leave an actual copy of the Annual Agreement form for my blog readers to print and use.

To get your own form you will need to buy the ASCA Model (3rd ed.). If you don't already have a copy of the ASCA Model, please buy one from the School Counselor Space store today!


Check out the #SCCHAT transcript here & A great resource shared during the chat here.

Friday, August 1, 2014

School Counselors & the Common Core: Where do we begin?

In 2012 Achieve released this Action Brief to help school Counselors understand their role in implementing the Common Core State Standards. In the brief school Counselors are urged to take an active role in implementing the new standards and specifically to charged with the duty to increase awareness regarding the school counsel it's role in implementing the standards.

As school Counselors we have to look at how the shift will affect the academic, career & personal/social domains of our programs.

I have noticed with the shift that pushing into classrooms, particularly English classrooms has been tougher; teachers just don't have as much time to share in that curriculum area in my school. Because of this I have had to get creative & push more of my curriculum into our Advisory period, which isn't as long.

I imagine the shift will affect all of us that are running ASCA National Model supported school counseling programs so here are a couple of tips & tools to help you continue to grow your program & serve all students.

1. Set goals for your program that are supported by data & share them with all stakeholders. A LiveBinder is a great tool to help you do this efficiently & effectively. 
2. Develop College & Career Ready lesson plans that support the standards & work with teachers to integrate them into their curriculum.
2. Develop a calendar for when lessons will be taught & call in reinforcements (in Illinois this might be your ISACorp representative-they deliver lessons supported by our standards).
3. Make sure electronic 4-year plans are an integral part of your school counseling core curriculum and each student ties his/her plan to a career (and college if necessary) goal.
4. Create an Action Plan for ensuring all students have completed & up-to-date 4-year plans and share the plan with all stakeholders. At the end of the year share the results of your action plan.

So how do you make all of this happen among all of the other duties you are responsible for? 

1. Start by setting general goals. I looked at the percentage of students that wanted to attend college & set a FAFSA completion goal based on that percentage of students. Setting a goal for completion of 4-year plans was easy, 100%. Setting goals can be that easy, if you have data.
2. Creating a calendar is always a tough one for me because things change very last minute, very often at my school and communication is not the best. I try to stick to themes based on monthly observances while working around my other duties. For example, August/September is naturally the month I do my introduction lesson, but I also couple it with a personal/social lesson. See my example here. January is when we begin registration for the next school year so I try to work in 4-year plan & portfolio lessons from December through January. No two school counseling program calendars will look alike & expect yours to change from year to year.
3. Find a platform for your 4-year students 4-year plans (also known as Individualized Student Learning Plans). In Illinois we have a free system called What's Next Illinois, but there are others like My Big Future that have a ton of potential and are very user-friendly.
4. Use your ASCA National Model template to create an Action Plan & meet with your Principal/Supervisor about making it a reality. 

Now is the time for school Counselors to educate stakeholders on why what we do matters & how students are different as a result if what we do. The Common Core Standards are do used on preparing students to be college & career ready; school Counselors have been doing this for decades.

Set a goal, make a plan, execute the plan, share the results and watch the change in your students. 

In my professional experience I haven't met too many students that have solid plans that they are committed to that fail. Likewise, I believe a school counselor with a solid plan is a school counselor that will effectuate positive systemic change.

How have you adjusted your program due to the CCSS? What tools or tips do you have to share. Please comment below to inspire all of us and promote our professional growth.