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School counseling

4 Easy Ways to Promote National School Counseling Week

Advocating for National School Counseling Week

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.

 

Freebies

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.

 

Theme days

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.

 

National School Counseling Week

 

Advocacy

7 Simple Ways to Calm an Angry Parent and Improve Parent Communication

parent communication angry parents

From time to time, you are going to have a conversation with an angry parent. No matter how hard you try and how much you give, there will eventually be somebody who gets upset for one reason or the other. Remembering some simple rules for dealing with angry parents can help you improve your parent communication skills.

Before you can begin to speak rationally with a parent who is upset, you must first try to discover the source of the anger. Knowing how a parent has arrived at their current state can be critical information in communicating effectively with them. Read More »

Career Stress, Parents

An Honest Review of SCUTA Pro for Tracking School Counseling Time

SCUTA Pro

“Tracking school counseling time is my favorite task,” said no counselor ever. (especially not The Counseling Teacher!) I have to admit that keeping a time usage log makes me cringe.  From phone calls and emails, to every conversation in the hallway, we are always working towards meeting the recommended time usage percentages posted by the American School Counseling Association (ASCA). When I think of all of the things I could accomplish instead of this tedious task, I squirm.  Then I remind myself that this is not about me. This is about the students. This is about providing a data driven, research based, school counseling program for my amazing community. After struggling with spending too much time with various data collection methods, I knew that our current method wasn’t working.  Then one fine day, my fellow counselor, Mrs. Carla Christian and I stumbled upon a little gem called SCUTA Pro. To make it even sweeter, we were able to secure a grant to cover the yearly fee.  And we were off.

First things first, we do not get any financial gain from SCUTA Pro for this review. We’ve been using it for 2 years for tracking school counseling time and have no complaints. I really wanted to share our journey because it has helped us so much and I hope it will help others as well.  Overall, it has been a user-friendly way to analyze the effectiveness of our program.

 

Top 3 Reasons We Continue to Choose SCUTA Pro for Tracking School Counseling Time

Time Savings

The website is very easy to navigate. Whenever we couldn’t figure something out, we were able to get assistance right away through an email to customer service.  Sometimes the owner would email OR CALL us to make sure that we were comfortable with the program. My favorite feature that came out our second year of use is the “repeat” option that allows me to easily fill in a recurring activity that I do on a regular basis.  When entering data, categories are already filled so that you can easily choose from a drop down menu without typing it out. Finally, my counseling supervisor can look up my data in real time without asking me to send in a report.

ASCA Categories

The first thing that drew us to SCUTA was the fact that it followed the  ASCA National Model recommendations. The time categories come straight from ASCA. Carla and I are sure that our SCUTA reports were critical in helping us prepare for and obtain RAMP certification for our middle school. After winning RAMP, our district decided to pick up the tab on our SCUTA fees and provide the service to all of the schools in our district.

Detailed Reports

Colorful, visual graphs help us keep track of percentages for our use of time based on ASCA recommendations. With a quick glance at the colors on the calendar pages, it’s pretty clear instantly if we are making our goals. We use this data to self-reflect and plan our time in a way that helps us maximize the effectiveness of our program. We also use these reports to share our progress with stakeholders. I can look up by student name or type of activity. I can also choose a time period which is helpful when I’m analyzing each quarter.

Week at a Glance Calendar View

Advice for First Time Users

One thing I learned from the first two years of using SCUTA Pro is that it would be a good idea to spend some time reading over the categories and subcategories and deciding how to best label certain activities. For instance, some duties that may seem like non-counseling related tasks are actually counseling tasks. If you look at how you perform your daily duties, you could easily turn meaningless tasks into meaningFUL tasks.  For instance, early morning car duty could be used as a time when you warmly greet families which falls under the PBIS counseling task.

Finally, I love how the owners are continually getting feedback from counselors to keep the program up to date and as helpful as possible. I’m excited to see next year’s version. I know they are constantly improving and making time-saving additions.  If you still have questions, you can leave a comment or contact me directly.

This is an honest review of SCUTA Pro and three reasons why we use it for tracking school counseling time to evaluate our school counseling program.

 

Product Review

5 Ways to Use Tissue Boxes in School Counseling

5 ways to use tissue boxes in school counseling

 


Mental Fills on TPTInspired by reading 
Counselor Keri’s “Five Ways To Use Coffee Filters In School Counseling,” I excitedly went through my resources and office supplies to create and share 5 ways counselors can use tissue boxes in counseling. The recycled tissue boxes below can be used both as craft projects and/or therapeutic tools in groups and individual sessions.

Self-Esteem Magazine Collage Box

Students can create a place to store affirmations, therapeutic letters, awards, and mementos that help influence one’s sense of pride. It also serves as a nice decoration piece for your desk. This activity will take several sessions to finish but is well worth the time prompting discussion on building self-worth.        
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Craftivities, Group Counseling

5 Ways to Use Coffee Filters in School Counseling

Coffee Filters in School Counseling

I am constantly on the hunt for affordable craft supplies to use in counseling lessons and small groups. I troll the dollar aisles of all my favorite stores squirreling away supplies for the perfect lesson. After a visit to a Pre-K classroom decorated with beautiful, unique coffee filter snowflakes, I expanded my craft supply search to the kitchen aisle! Coffee filters are the perfect, affordable supply to jazz up your counseling lessons. Here are 5 ways that I use these dual-purpose gems:

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Craftivities, Group Counseling

September Blog Run Down

School Counseling Blog Posts

Blog Posts for School Counselors

From all reaches of the interwebs and school counseling offices large and closet-sized, our round-up of September Blog posts from some brilliant, confident, gorgeous counselors, teachers, and parents.

New Students & Small Groups

How to Welcome New Students from Exploring School Counseling. Jeannie has a simple free activity that you can download for new student groups.

Helping Students Transition to a New School from The School Counselor Is In. Jodi has put together a free new student brochure to help you get those kiddos acquainted with their new school.

Fun Ways to Welcome New Students from The Helpful Counselor. Heather has packed this post with freebies that are oh-so-helpful and fun for counselors running new student groups.

How to Welcome New Students from EduKate & Inspire. We love Kate’s New Student Banner that’s free to download.

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Blog Post Run Down

Small Group Counseling: Organize and Run Successful Groups

16 Tips for Organizing and Running Small Group Counseling

Small group counseling can be a useful and effective intervention in a school counselor’s repertoire. But, woah can they be challenging to organize and run at first. With over 100 years of practice between all of us, we figured some of our tested tips would be mighty handy as you are beginning or considering your groups. Please contribute some of your tips in the comments below so we all walk more confidently into that room of five defiant third grade boys needing some support with impulse control.

Organizing: Permission Slips, Schedules, Session Plans. Ugh.

Don’t be tempted to make large group sizes in order to allow more students in a group. Think about your space, the personalities and behaviors of the students in the group and the activities planned. – Counselor Up


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Group Counseling, Monthly CCC Tips