School counselors interact with so many different people during the day it is easy to forget a quick conversation in the hallway or a parent stopping you at dismissal. Developing a school counselor organization system that will work for you and your school is so necessary. Check out what three Confident Counselors do to manage all the information coming in.
SCUTA & Notes
I use an online program called SCUTA to keep track of everything I do. SCUTA is password protected and organized using the ASCA model categories. It allows you to use a calendar and drop down menu to add notes. I don’t go into much detail, but document who I spoke to, what student we spoke about, and a general word to identify what we discussed (e.g., academics, conflict).
I also use an old school approach, a steno pad, to jot down notes daily. I keep all message slips from the office staff and tape them into my steno pad for documentation. I also keep a running list of parent messages and phone calls.
For teachers, I really work hard to get referral forms from them. It is hard to remember when teachers randomly find you in the hallway and want to tell you something. If a teacher approaches me, I ask them to email me and I will send them a digital referral form. Or if they would prefer to meet privately, I try to accommodate. I use my trusty steno pad during meetings with teachers, admin, parents, and students.
At the end of the day, I log all my conversations into SCUTA.
I have 25+ years experience as a school counselor, special education teacher, and adult educator. I am an advocate for students and implement a comprehensive program based on the ASCA National Model and the TN state counseling model. For school counseling ideas, visit my TPT Store.
Carla >> The DIY Counselor
I keep track of phone calls using the Intake Log I created with Google Forms. It allows me to easily log a quick note about what we talked about and helps me track data.
While I am talking on the phone, I often take notes during the call so I don’t forget key details. I keep a “phone call log” in the back of my planner to jot notes on while we talk. It is helpful to refer back to the notes and taking notes also helps to keep me focused on the phone call.
Boundaries and Daily Log
No one ever tells you about all the phone calls and emails you will get, or gives you an idea of how to track them. That said, the most challenging to track was always the impromptu hallway conversations. Any delusion I had of my world class memory vanished the moment I chatted with three different teachers in 10 minutes and then got called to respond to a behavior in a classroom.
For hallway conversations, it is key to set up boundaries and procedures. You can walk down the second grade hallway and wind up with a to-do list a mile long, half of which you’ll forget.
If a teacher was making a referral, I’d ask them to fill out a referral form that was on my door. Once that was in my mailbox, I would schedule them for a BESST (Behavior, Emotional, Social Support Team) meeting.
If they were stopping to talk to me about a student on my caseload or had already been referred, I’d do a bit of quick troubleshooting. If it went beyond a short conversation, I’d tell them to schedule an observation or a 15-minute meeting. When I didn’t have time, I’d tell them to email me 1-2 sentences with their concern and I’d get back to them.
Worse case - I carried sticky notes or my phone in my pocket to make quick notes for more urgent issues.
At the end of every day, I would look through the emails, observation and meeting requests, referral forms and sticky notes. Then spend 30 minutes returning emails, phone calls, and creating my schedule for the day and week.
What is your system for keeping track of all the phone calls and conversations with teachers and parents?
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