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School Culture

How to Plan a Successful Mix it Up at Lunch Day

Mix it Up at Lunch Day challenges students to get out of their comfort zone and engage with others, helping to create a more inclusive school. Begun by the organization, Teaching Tolerance, it is held on the last Tuesday of October. Students sit in a different seat in the cafeteria and interact with peers during their lunchtime. Preparation, activities, and follow-up are important to consider in hosting a Mix it Up at Lunch Day.

 

 

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School Culture

Connect with Staff as a School Counselor

Connect with staff as a school counselor

Being a school counselor or school psychologist can feel a little like you’re on your own island. You’re not a teacher, you’re not part of administrative staff; it can often seem like you don’t quite belong. To make things more difficult, many school counselors or psychologists often split their time between campuses, and are only at a certain building a few days a week. It can be challenging to connect with staff as a school counselor.

 

Starting out as a school-based counselor, I was at my school 2-3 days a week, my office was in the basement, and I was hired by an outside mental health agency, which meant that I didn’t even have a school e-mail. I think people I worked with often forgot I existed. Read More »

Advocacy, School Culture

How to Present Your Counseling Program and Role to Staff

During back to school season, my co-counselors and I put together a presentation for staff about our counseling program. It is crucial to present your counseling program and what your job entails. Even if you spend most of your work week on one campus with the same colleagues and administrators, many staff probably do not know all that you do. This can be tricky because when colleagues and administrators don’t know what we do, they might think we need things to do. Or worse, they might feel resentful if they think our job has fewer responsibilities than their job. To help you start off right, I have lots of tips and resources to create a presentation that lets you explain your dynamic program to your staff. But first, let’s talk a bit about how to present yourself as their go-to resource on all things counseling! Read More »

Advocacy, Back to School, Crisis, School Culture

8 Steps to Build Student-Led School-Community Engagement

Student-Led School-Community Engagement

Career education is an integral aspect of the school counseling program, but educating students on community helpers and their own career interests is just the beginning. Students have the capacity to be contributing community members right now, no matter their grade level. School counselors can walk alongside them as they discover ways they can engage in and contribute to the community. Building school-community engagement not only gives students a window to career options available to them but also leads to positive school outcomes. Schools that link classroom activities to community projects also see dividends in improved school behaviors, reduced suspension rates, improved academic achievement, higher graduation rates, and improved ability to work effectively in a team

 

Community engagement can be a school-wide or grade level initiative integrated into the classroom guidance program or tackled on a smaller scale through a service club. This type of project affords counselors the opportunity to create an environment where students have a sense of belonging in the school environment, help students understand the importance of short- and long-term goal setting, take ownership of the project through self-motivation and self-direction, practice working cooperatively in a group, form relationships with adults who support success, and explore character traits such as conservationism, loyalty, leadership, and more. Read More »

Back to School, School Culture

The Importance of Self-Care

Self Care for School Counselors

Do you practice regular self-care? Many counselors preach self-care to others but often fail to follow their own advice. According to the American Counseling Association, the term self-care refers to “the activities and practices that are engaged in on a regular basis to maintain and enhance a person’s health and well-being.” When counselors don’t practice regular self-care, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with stress and eventually burnout. This is why it’s important to have a self-care plan in place.

Our lives can get hectic at times with deadlines, meetings, and unforeseen crises. We become obsessed with crossing off tasks on our to-do lists and lose sight of everything else. When we feel overwhelmed, self-care is usually the first thing to go out the window. Somehow taking time out to tend to our needs becomes a luxury and we feel guilty even thinking about taking time out for ourselves. Read More »

Career Stress, School Culture

School Counselor: Advocating for Your Role

Advocating for the Role of a School CounselorWhat do school counselors do? As professionals, we are continually answering this question as we advocate for our profession. To promote advocacy, the American School Counselor Association suggests to “speak up, reach out, and always use your data.” Counselors sometimes feel uncomfortable as they try to show their worth as a school counselor, but advocacy is necessary and will ultimately demonstrate how students are different because of what school counselors do. Here are some excellent tips and resources from Confident Counselors to assist you in advocating for your profession.

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Advocacy, Monthly CCC Tips, School Culture

Creating a Culture of Kindness

Creating a Culture of Kindness: Tips for School CounselorsCreating a Culture of Kindness

I recently saw a video on Facebook about two apples. Two apples you are probably thinking? Stay with me. On the outside these two apples looked the same, shiny and red. However, once the apples were opened, they were not the same. One was healthy looking and the other bruised. What a powerful moment. I wanted to share this with my students to teach the old saying “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” as illustrated with the apples.  This example of not judging others applies to creating a culture of kindness. We cannot tell what challenges a person is going through just by looking at them, which is why it is so important to be kind to everyone all of the time. A simple act of kindness can change someone’s day and even inspire that person to pass it on.

Here are some tips and resources you can use in order to promote a culture of kindness in your school.

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Kindness, Monthly CCC Tips, School Culture