Browsing Category

School Culture

Handling Uncomfortable Conversations with Staff and Parents

uncomfortable conversations with staff and parents are a part of school counselor's jobs. A few tips to make these awkward, but important conversations easier.

I have a saying, “If it’s uncomfortable, give it to the counselor.”

 

Any time that an awkward or uncomfortable conversation needs to take place with a parent, staff member, or volunteer, counselors are called to use our skills to smooth the way for those involved.

 

Uncomfortable conversations include discussing parenting skills, classroom management, disclosing abuse, or speaking with a parent about their child’s suicidal ideation. Sometimes uncomfortable conversations escalate and become uncomfortable for you as the counselor. Read More »

Career Stress, Parents, School Culture, Teacher Consultation

Conversations: How Do You Make Restorative Justice Meaningful and Effective?

Restorative justice is the kind of approach that school counselors should be advocating for in their districts. When implemented well, it has the ability to shift the focus from punishment to repairing and learning from mistakes. How do you get your administrators and teachers on board with this paradigm shift? Even more important, how do you make it a meaningful and effective experience for students?

Restorative Questions are Key

The Sunny Sunshine Student Support StoreRestorative justice practices emphasize the importance of positive relationships and restoring these relationships when harm has occurred. Restorative justice practices decrease behavior issues, discipline referrals and bullying, while increasing in instructional time, school climate, and positive relationships between staff and students. Read More »

Behavior, Monthly CCC Tips, School Culture

10 Minute Kindness Activities for the Classroom and Counseling

Kindness activities for the classroom or counseling

Creating a positive school culture is such an important step in engaging students in learning. Consistent and frequent kindness activities help build empathy, let students feel comfortable taking risks and create an accepting class community.

 

Research shows that when students view their teacher as caring and kind, they have better attendance, better grades, and are more engaged in the classroom. Find the spare moments in the day, whether it is morning work or after recess, to integrate simple kindness activities that pack that punch. Read More »

Kindness, School Culture

School Counselor’s Gratitude Journal

A school counselor's gratitude journal. Dear Diary, I'm thankful for interventions that work and pumpkin spice muffins.

Dear Diary,

In honor of Thanksgiving, I am going to be writing a gratitude journal. I am so thankful for today, especially the coffee that I spilled, the milk that was spoiled, the kid that spit on me in 3rd period. But I digress. I am honored and grateful to be a school counselor and these are a few of my favorite things (picture me spinning on a hilltop). Read More »

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.

 

 

Read More »

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