One week per year, school counselors from around the nation, find ways to spread the word about how school counselors positively impact their schools. National School Counseling Week (NSCW) is a week to celebrate the profession.
The American School Counseling Association, or ASCA, has created this week to advocate for the importance of our profession. It is not about being self-boasting. Instead, it is a necessary deed to inform your school of your impact on the school and community. Don’t be shy. Be Confident!
4 easy ways to advocate for the school counseling profession
Signs, signs, everywhere signs
Post signs and design bulletin boards showcasing the many reasons why students could see the counselor and a reminder of where your room is located.
I use a colorful banner with a different reason to see the counselor on each pennant. I post those at the front of each hallway. It’s always fun to watch the students reading these as they walk through the hallways.
Show me the data!
Use data to show off the difference you are making in your school. Using a powerpoint or keynote presentation, you can show before and after reports from test scores, attendance records, grade reports or other student data that has been positively affected by your interventions. The changes shown in those reports will be a real eye-opener for the effectiveness of your program.
Explain that you use standards-based lessons recommended by the American School Counseling Association (ASCA). Yes, for those who may not know at your school, counselors do have nationally recognized, research-based standards.
Everybody likes getting something for free. There are many inexpensive items that you can either make with your school printer or purchase from an online promotional products website.
Set up a table in a centralized location in the school with helium balloons from the dollar store and prizes to attract students to the table. This could be as simple as a bookmark with your information on it, a silicone wristband with a mindful message embossed on it or an edible treat. If you ask your principal or parent organization, they may give you funding for these purchases.
Have a different theme for each day during National School Counseling Week. Themes could center around social-emotional, career, and academic success. An example of a theme week could look something like the following below. However, you would want to tailor yours based on the needs of your school by reviewing the needs assessment or student survey from the beginning of the school year.
Monday – Career Readiness
Give away handouts with career exploration tips and helpful websites for career matching during lunch periods. Have a poster display up with trending new career options.
You could also create a jobs bulletin board showcasing some of the past jobs of current teachers at your school. This is a fun way to get students thinking about their future.
Tuesday – Study Skills
Hand out pencils or post it pads with study skills tips printed on them.
Wednesday – Stress Busters
Give out bookmarks with tips for reducing stress and examples of simple breathing exercises.
Thursday – Kindness
Post signs with suggestions for spreading kindness. Send teachers an easy kindness craft to complete with students. An example would be spreading kindness with post it notes. Have students write compliments on post it notes and put them throughout the school on lockers, desks, and doors.
Friday – Cyber Safety
Have students pledge to stay cyber safe and create healthy limits for their technology usage. Let them sign an oversized poster in the hallway. Include tips on a worksheet on how to be cautious online and how to set healthy technology boundaries and time usage limits.
I hope these tips were helpful for you and motivate you to spread the word about the importance of the school counseling profession. Please leave a comment with how you celebrate National School Counseling Week.
Check our Confident Counselors’ advice for advocating for your role.