Thursday, March 21, 2019

Revolutionize Your Role with Roadmaps & Ready-to-Use Best Practices



I hope you're planning to attend the ISCA Annual Conference in Bloomington this year! I will be presenting with my colleague, Erinn Murphy! We would love to have you join us for an important and timely topic that will help you as you begin to prepare for next year.

Ready to change the ideology of faculty, enhance your program & student outcomes? Join us for an information packed session on how we execute our program through collaborative & systematic efforts to advocate for our role & help our students achieve their highest potential. Walk away with collaboratively developed program Roadmaps, department schedules, info on how we deliver services, use data & ideas for advocacy efforts.

As a result of this session, you will:
  • Know how to deliver systematic school counseling services
  • Know how to collaborate w/ stakeholders to promote student success
  • Know how to align school counseling services with IL PaCE
A copy of our presentation is available here, our Resource Guide is here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

IACAC’s 3rd Counselor Camp-Career Pathways

I am excited to have the opportunity to attend the IACAC Counselor Camp on March 1, and looking forward to sharing one of my favorite activities to do with incoming freshman. Check it out!

Resources
  1. Career Cluster Interest Survey
  2. Career Clusters QuickList
  3. 16 Career Clusters and their Career Pathways w/ access to Sample Plan of Study
  4. Career Conversation Starters
  5. ASCA U Career Development Specialist (This is an awesome PD Resource)
How I use it the Career Cluster Interest Survey


  • Audience: Incoming Freshman (8th graders) 
  • Method: This could vary depending on how you access your 8th graders. The goal is to have them take the assessment, self score it and record their top 3 Career Clusters of Interest for you to use as you help them devise a freshman year schedule. This early attention to tying courses to career clusters of interest does not lock them into a career, so it is a little less overwhelming. It simply opens up opportunities for career conversations.
    • Idea #1: Correspond with 8th grade English Teachers, ask them to assign the survey for homework and return the results to you to compile. 
    • Idea #2: Correspond with 8th grade English Teachers, ask them to assign the survey for homework. Visit the classroom to review the results with students and do a short lesson on career clusters/education planning and how this all aligns with community service opportunities, extra-curriculars and P/S career goals-- and of course how they can use their top cluster to help them select courses for freshman year. Draft a 4-year plan. 
    • Idea #3: Distribute the survey to 8th graders with their forecasting materials and ask that they indicate their Career Cluster on their Course Forecasting Sheet. Provide a resource with ideas on which freshman courses align with each career cluster. Assist them in selecting courses that align with their Career Cluster of interest

Alignment with Illinois PaCE: Postsecondary and Career Expectations

This process is a beginning step to helping your students think long term and eventually prepare to build an individualized learning plan (4-year plan).

By the end of 8th grade

  • Students should be supported to:
    • Complete a career cluster survey
    • Attend a career exploration day
    • Complete a unit on education planning
    • Be exposed to a finance literacy unit in a course or workshop

  • A student should know:
    • The concept of Career Clusters for further exploration
    • Possible career clusters of interest
    • Relationship between community service/extracurricular activities and post-secondary (PS) career goals

Check out the PACE Checklist here.

    Thursday, April 6, 2017

    BIG or small: College Signing Day is for All


    I am so excited to present this topic with two of my colleagues at this year's Illinois School Counselor Association conference in Bloomington, IL.


    We decided last year, after each of our events, that sharing the unique ways we each make this event work at our respective schools, would maybe help others gain the confidence to plan and execute their own college signing day.



    Our session aims to help attendees:


    • Know & understand the purpose for implementing a College Signing Day program
    • Know how to design and implement an action plan that includes a College Signing Day program which aligns with school and school counseling program goals, despite budget constraints, counseling team size or school size
    • Know how to collaborate with students, parents, teachers, administrators, community leaders & other stakeholders to promote and encourage student success
    • Know who to connect with to make your College Signing Day event a success
    Check out our full presentation here.

    Tips from us

    1. Register your event with Reach Higher and Better Make Room
      1. Download the Toolkit and Event Guide to help you plan
    2. Use Canva to make signs https://www.canva.com/
    3. Make different certificates for college and military
    4. Make the event match your school needs and culture. Follow your formula.
    5. Remember your intent. Celebration and valuable data collection!
    6. Data points to track and share:
      1. College Application Completion & Enrollment
      2. Graduation Rate
      3. FAFSA Filing Percentage
      4. School-wide Academic Performance
        1. freshman on track, achievement gap
      5. College Persistence Rate
      6. College Graduation Rate
    You can also view my previous posts on this topic:

    1. Recap of the Evidence Based School Counseling Conference
    2. College Signing Day...Take 1

    Thursday, January 5, 2017

    Flipped Course Registration Intro

    Second semester usually brings two things for certain for high school counselors: schedule changes and course registration.

    Over the last few years I would dare to say I have found ways, thanks to technology & saavy programming, to make both of these often stressful experiences less stressful.

    Let's talk course registration. Usually we have to explain how to register to all of the students when the process begins, which can be very time consuming and difficult to manage with all of the other duties we are responsible for 2nd semester, right?! Well, for the last few years I have been "flipping" the registration info process and let me tell you, the migration to this method has been nothing short of life changing (yes I am passionate about this). :)

    Over the years my flips have gotten progressively better in terms of quality, and there's still lots of room for improvement, but last year I identified a few methods that saved me hours this year that I have to share!

    First, learn how I do my flips and what tools I use here.

    Now for a few tips:

    1. Keep the voiceover for most of your slides general so you don't have to redo them all each year. For example, instead of saying, "the due date for your forms is January 13." Just say, "please write the due dates from this slide down so you remember them later."

    2. Upload your screencast to YouTube so it's easy to share just the simple how-to with parents and students. They may not need to watch the whole Prezi more than once.

    3. Utilize all dissemination means possible. The teachers got the Prezi the day before the students got to view it so they could review it first. I set up the Prezi to be sent to all students and parents 5 minutes before it would be broadcast throughout the school; they got it via email and through our student portal. I also automated our online student registration so it opened on its own at the specified time.

    4. Pre-schedule your face to face follow up time with students & publicize it when you release your presentation, this way they will know when they can get answers to their questions.

    5. Remember the most important components of this process should be at the core of your work: ISP, ILP's, Appraisal and Advisement. Read more about these components here.

    Are you flipping? Share your experiences in the comments!

    Want to SEE my flip from this year? Check it out here.

    Saturday, September 10, 2016

    Senior ISP Quick Tips

    I'm meeting with all of my seniors for ISP starting on Monday so I thought I'd share a few quick tips.

    It may seem a little late to be starting these meetings, but I have found over the years that it's best to meet with them after state articulation and after we've been in school for a few weeks. I've been able to meet with the students in the classroom and address some of the beginning of the year social/emotional concerns--and a few crises. And I literally enrolled two new students last week and changed one senior's schedule. Hopefully by now we're in a good spot to take care of the seniors, right?!

    So, now on to the tips...

    1. Print off your schedule and highlight the kids that have free/reduced lunch. This will help you remember who needs an application fee waiver and who you can really push to dream big considering the financial supports that have a good chance of receiving.

    2. Make enough copies of application fee waivers (with your basic info completed) so all you have to do is write in the students' personal info & you're ready to go.

    3. Streamline what you say and how many times you say it by "flipping" the basics. I mean think about it, how many times do you explain how to request a transcript?! Create a video for students and parents to watch prior to the meeting.

    4. Create an online SMORE flyer with all of the important details, links and documents you want to share with your students so they always have a one stop shop. Link it to your school webpage, discuss it on your video and share it with your students often.

    5. Create a Remind text messaging group for your senior class (and their families) so you can send announcements to them quickly.

    6. Keep it quick & informative. These meetings should be 10 minutes tops. The students need to be back in class. Give them what they need to get the ball rolling and put the burden back on them-remember, THEY are going to college, not YOU. If they need further assistance urge them to make a follow up appointment (teach them responsibility). Of course if they don't make that appointment, chase them down and get them back in the office before it's too late. :) 

    7. Use Calendly to make it easy for them (and you) to schedule follow up appointments.

    Have more tips to share? Please share them with us in the comments.

    Previous posts about working with seniors that may interest you: