Being a school counselor is a difficult job. Add in being split between different buildings and we really will need that fairy dust everyone thinks we have. It takes some clear communication, organization, and simplicity. Check out these tips from Counselor Keri and CounselorChelsey.
Clear Communication & Expectations
When I first moved to Hawaii, I was assigned to 2 schools (fortunately, they were within .5 mile of each other!). Once school was large, with 2-3 classes per grade level while the other only had 1 class per grade level. Despite being small, the second school had a much larger caseload.
To manage expectations, I had to clearly communicate with administrators, teachers, and especially at students at each school to let them know when they could expect to see me. I set up a calendar with 2 days at one school and 3 days at the other, but I let everyone know if there was an immediate need, they could reach out to me. We also made a clear plan for who would be called in the event that I could not be present. These people were trusted adults in the building that students felt comfortable with, the student services coordinator, etc.
I only had an office space at one school, so a rolling storage case was a must! I could throw in any materials I expected to need when I traveling between schools. We love this one because it's collapsable:
Simplify your schedule
Working as a counselor at more than one school can make things complicated. One thing I have done to make things easier is to create a simple and consistent schedule. I have found that it works best to do full days at a school (as opposed to half days), and to keep your schedule the same every week.
Also, I like to have my days at a school be consecutive. A sample schedule may be Monday-Wednesday at School 1, and Thursday & Friday at School 2. Spending consecutive time blocks at one school can make it easier for staff and students to know your schedule, and provides consistency for what you are doing. As the counselor, it can also be helpful to do it this way because you can focus on one school at a time without always feeling flustered and distracted.
Are you split between multiple buildings?
Share your tips below for making this role simpler.
Check out these strategies from Kate at EduKate & Inspire: Self Care for School Counselors: How to Prioritize Your Day.