Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Virtual College Signing Day: A Recipe for Success

Due to COVID-19 we've all had to get a little more creative with how we will celebrate College Signing Day with our seniors. This year, more than ever, it is vital that we celebrate them in any way we can. Here is my College Signing Day Recipe!

I cannot take all of the credit for this years event--my incredibly resilient seniors have remained connected and engaged in making this event the most rewarding College Signing Day. During a time when most of their traditional senior year celebrations have been cancelled or postponed. It is reassuring to know that we can quickly convert this special event to a virtual format and possibly engage more of an audience than our traditional in-person events.

What we're doing...

My students are preparing a PowerPoint deck with one student per slide. Each slide will share up to 3 activities/sports the student has been involved in and their specific plans for the future. I have seen so many creative ways people are putting slides together on Twitter, take a look at other schools for more layout ideas. One of my students designed this layout.

Once the slides are done we are going to convert them to a video and upload it to YouTube to share with the community. People will also have the opportunity to leave comments and well wishes for our seniors.

At the request of the students, we are also launching a stand-alone Instagram page for our event, similar to the Lancer Seniors example. I had never seen anything like this until my students brought it up this week! I got approval for the stand-alone page and I am looking forward to bringing it to life for them. This stand-alone account will be used strictly for our event, no other posts will be shared on the account. We will introduce the account to the public via our high school account on May 1 so all seniors can be celebrated beginning at the same time.

Next week I will send a letter home in the mail to all senior parents to officially announce the event, they have already received an email requesting information via our short Outlook form and a copy was mailed home. Next week's communication will be a letter with details about the event, like this one from my first event.

The week of May 4 I will mail a flyer from the event home, the timing is unique due to the nature of this years event and the desire to include as many students as possible. Students can submit their information for the event up until 10 pm on April 29.

Please share details about your event in the comments!

Here are a few resources to help you plan your Virtual Event

  1. https://www.bettermakeroom.org/
  2. ASCA's Celebrate College Signing Day Online
  3. Search #SigningDayChat on Twitter for ideas shared on April 21, 2020 from all around the country
  4. Host a College Signing Day event webinar hosted by ACAC and Reach Higher
Check out my previous events and posts about College Signing Day

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Student outreach with Personality | Personalized Postcards

We are beginning week 5 of our school closure due to COVID-19. Each Monday I send an email update to all of my students (and their parents). The weekly update is posted to my website, I send a copy via Remind and I post a link to it in our private Class of 2020 FaceBook group. Last week we also started mailing info home, so students will also get a paper copy in the mail--trying to ensure we reach every student.

Last week I created a beautiful newsletter with Canva, and this week I was inspired by a fellow educator who shared her postcard design here. After seeing her design I was super excited to create my own personalized postcard. Check out a copy of my design here! I am hoping this creative outreach reminds them of my personality and our connection and makes them laugh. I miss them more than I can express.

My Process

  • Created Bitmoji avatars and emailed the images that I wanted to use in my design to myself
  • Copied this postcard design and made a few tweaks to make it my own! *Copying the design is very important to preserve it for others.
  • Downloaded my Bitmoji avatars to my computer and then uploaded them to Canva and placed them into my design.
  • Finalized my design and ordered the postcards through Canva
I placed the order for my postcards through Canva this time so I should get them in the mail at the end of this week. I will hand write each students name on the line and place an address label on them to mail them. I left a little white space to allow me to write a short personal message if I need to.

Please share how you are infusing your personality into your outreach during this unique time.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Colorful COVID-19 Contact with Seniors

I finally got approval to send a note home in the actual mail to my seniors! I imagine they have to be just as tired of looking at emails and black and white notes as I am, so I opted to make my first snail mail contact home a little more visual! I want to keep the COVID-19 Hierarchy of Needs for Schools at the forefront of my newsletter, but also provide them with the information they would need to begin to take care of business regarding their post-secondary plans & stay connected.




I used CANVA to create my newsletter and implemented QR codes and bitly web addresses to pack as much information as I could onto one piece of paper. I really wanted them to feel special when they got their note so I reached out to my administration to ask if I could try to find an affordable color print option. Once I got approval, I called around and got the deal of a lifetime at Staples! I got this beautiful newsletter printed in our senior color (blue) for FREE! All I had to do was pay the rush fee to have it printed on the same day. Way to go Staples!!


I will send my newsletter home with mental health resources and copies of my weekly email outreach, examples here.

Check out my finished product here. Please share your ideas and thoughts in the comments! We are in this together.

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.