Saturday, December 28, 2013

Establishing A Peer Helping Program-ASCA Pre-Conference June 29, 2014

Saturday, December 28, 2013

This dynamic training is for all BEGINNERS in peer helping program development. Learn about program start-up, program implementation, and program maintenance and evaluation. Apply NAPPP Standards and Ethics to your peer program.

Peer helping programs can include one-on-one helping, mentoring, mediation, tutoring, leadership, and peer education. This training is designed to help the adult professional learn the basic steps in designing and establishing any peer-led program. The specific type of program developed depends upon the school's needs, resources, organizational structure, goals and mission. The realm of possibilities is limitless! Bring your ideas and creativity!

If you are interested in receiving the National Association of Peer Program Professionals Certified Peer Program Professional (CPPE) designation as a result of this training, you will be asked to do some pre and post activities.

Objectives of this Pre-Conference Include:
Learn about National Association of Peer Program Professionals (NAPPP) Programmatic Standards and Ethics
  • Know examples of peer helping at the elementary, middle and high school.
  • Analyze how to utilize peer helping in the delivery of "Closing the GAP Action Plan" and the "School Counseling Core Curriculum Action Plan".
  • Put together a peer helping plan for your organization based on need.

Pre-Conference Introduction

ASCA Conference Information 

World Swan and Dolphin Hotel

Your Presenters

Dr. Roselind Bogner is a licensed mental health counselor and the Director of the School Counseling program at Niagara University. Her educational credentials include: Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education (SUNY at Buffalo), Certificate of Advanced Studies in School Administration (SUC at Fredonia), Masters in Elementary Education (SUNY at Buffalo), and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (SUNY at Buffalo). She is also a Certified Peer Program Educator (CPPE), trainer and consultant for the National Association of Peer Program Professionals (NAPPP).

In October, 2011 she received the “Career Achievement Award” from the New York State School Counselor Association in recognition of her outstanding record of service to the profession and her substantial and ongoing contributions to her students, place of employment, colleagues and community. In March 2011 the National Association of Peer Program Professionals (NAPPP) issued a proclamation of appreciation naming Roselind a “National Role Model in the Peer Program Field” because she was “instrumental in helping to make NAPPP a viable and major contributor to excellence in peer program professionalism. By her expertise in training both peer program professionals and youth, by her creation and sharing of materials for operation of peer programs and for her exemplary service to the NAPPP Board of Directors”.

As a high school counselor she developed and implemented two peer helping programs in collaboration with a team of teachers. For ten years she supervised the programs that empowered students to help their peers in innumerable ways. As a NAPPP trainer/consultant she has advised and trained peer program professionals and peer helpers in an array of programs focusing on peer education, peer tutoring, peer mentoring, peer listening, and peer mediation.

Dr. Bogner's professional presentation and research topics include: Creating and Implementing Career Development Programs; College and Career Readiness Preparation; Common Core State Standards; Promoting STEM Careers; Developing and Implementing Peer Helper Programs Which Enhance School Counseling Programs; Strategies for Promoting Asset Development in Youth; and Developing and Implementing Comprehensive School Counseling Programs.

Dr. Cynthia Morton is a licensed professional counselor and mediator who serves as lead counselor at Salem High School in Conyers, Georgia. In addition to her role as school counselor, she trains and coordinates the Rockdale County Schools Peer Helper and Mediation Programs. Her Peer Program at Salem H.S. is a NAPPP Certified Program. 

Dr. Morton belongs to several professional organizations. She is a certified peer professional trainer/consultant, CPPE and board member with the National Association of Peer Programs Professionals, the Association for Conflict Resolution Education Section where she serves as chair, Georgia Association for Conflict Resolution (former president), American School Counselors Association, and a current member of the National Association of Professional Women where she was voted as 2012-13 Woman of the Year.

Dr. Morton has presented at several academic conferences including the 2002 Foundation of Excellent Schools, the 2002 Georgia Tech Prep Institute, the 2007 Georgia School Counselor Association Annual Conference, 2008 and 2009 National Association for Conflict Resolution Conferences, the 2012 Georgia School Social Worker Association Conference, and the 2013 National Peer Helper Conference.

Currently, Dr. Morton has been invited to become a trainer of conflict resolution education for educators by Dr. Tricia Jones of Temple University.

About the National Association of Peer Program Professionals

The National Association of Peer Program Professionals (NAPPP) was established after the dissolution of The National Association of Peer Programs, originally founded in 1984 as the National Peer Helpers Association. NAPPP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation whose mission is to help adults establish, train, supervise, maintain and evaluate peer programs. Using the NAPPP Standards and Ethics as a guiding principle, NAPPP helps adults through networking, leadership training, certification and programmatic problem solving.

NAPPP is dedicated to promoting excellence in peer programs. Its membership is adult professionals who are responsible for peer programs. Since peer programs currently exist in schools, social service agencies, faith communities, geographic communities, nursing homes and youth organizations, the NAPPP membership is composed of representatives from many populations. The largest representation of NAPPP members is from the K-12 school and higher education population.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Dangers of Teen Sexting

Friday, December 27, 2013

Check out this great radio blog talk program about teen sexting hosted by the Texas Conflict Coach. 

The program aired on December 24, 2013 and featured school counselor, Raychelle Cassada Lohmann

Click on the link below to listen to the program:

The Dangers of Teen Sexting


What is Sexting?
Psychology Today-Dangers of Teen Sexting
Reputation Watch
Psychology Today-Teen Sexting
Utah Online Diversion Course on Sexting


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Emotional Pain Chart

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Because I have three children, I regularly visit doctor's offices and hospital emergency rooms. Out of my three children, one of them has Type 1 diabetes and gets sick frequently.  In fact, he gets so sick that he often has pain in his body from a build up of Ketones in his blood from high sugar levels. When he is very ill, the doctor will ask my child this question, "On a scale from one to ten, how would you describe your pain?"  Not only will the doctor ask that question once, but he would ask it several times during our visit. 

As I was sitting in the emergency room, I saw a pain chart on the wall that the medical staff used with my child.  All of the sudden it hit me that this same method can be used to measure emotions in our students when they are in emotional pain.  As physical pain changes from moment to moment so can emotional pain. When students come to my office in a crisis, I regularly check on their emotional state to see if they are able to return to their day, if they need more time to get back to equilibrium, or if they need more help then I can give them. 

Since it is not easy to determine if students have reached emotional equilibrium, it is important to gather this information from the students instead of making assumptions. To do this effectively, I have created some emotion rating scale posters to hang in my office. Instead of using a clock or outward appearance, I will use these posters to help make a determination if the student has reached equilibrium. 

Here are some examples of different emotional rating scale charts I have created. If you decide to use them, I would love to get some feedback!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Will There Ever Be Peace On Earth In Social Media?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The days before a break are incredibly hectic...there is the pressure of finals, students stressing out over grades, the push for toy and clothes collections by students, and those last minute tutoring sessions.  I can tolerate almost anything before the break, but there was a storm brewing that included bullying on social media which curtailed my holiday cheer.

Monday Morning Blues

Monday mornings are always hectic in the counseling office.  Kids are constantly in and out of our offices before running off to class, but two students stayed in our lobby waiting to talk to me. Unfortunately, the content of their conversation was not so unfamiliar to me as a school counselor. The students revealed that they had been slandered on Instagram as a thot (the Urban Dictionary defines a thot as a promiscuous girl). The girls were visibly upset and confused about what to do to reclaim their reputations that had been wounded on this popular website.  And I was wondering how was I going to help these young ladies?

Not long after talking to the girls, an administrator brought down two students who had gotten into trouble for making inappropriate comments about the contents of a video they had shared in their class of a young girl performing a inappropriate act with another student.  Apparently, the whole class was in an uproar and the teacher could not regain control.  I told the administrator that I would talk to the students and see how I could help.  As the two students waited by my door, my mind begin to race of what I was going to say to these students.

Unfortunately, these scenes are becoming more and more frequent. As lead counselor, it is my responsibility to educate my department on what to do when cyber bullying is reported by staff, students, or parents.  Although adults have the self discipline to "step away" from the internet and take a break, teens are so enmeshed in social media that cannot break away from the constant taunts or torture.  To tell a student to just ignore or stop looking at the posts is not a very effective strategy to deal with cyber bullying.  In fact, students are less likely to report cyber bullying due to the fear of retaliation, fear of ostracism by their friends, fear of embarrassment, the fear of their technology being taken away, or the fear of punishment by adults. As school counselors, we must know our role in dealing with cyber bullying: we educate the school community about cyber bullying, we implement strategies to prevent cyber bullying, we employ the correct procedures to intervene in cyber bullying situations, and we work with victims and the perpetrators of bullying.

What is Cyber bullying?

Cyber bullying (according to Beyond the Bully website) includes harassment through hurtful, rude, or mean text messages, email, or postings. Other methods include spreading rumors or lies about others through email or social networks (Instagram, Ask FM, Twitter, Facebook) and creating websites, videos, or social media to humiliate others.

Common Forms of Cyber bullying
  • Flaming-sending hostile messages or posts to make another person angry. The goal is to have the other person to respond to make him or her look bad to others.
  • Happy Slapping-recording someone being harassed or bullied in a way that shows physical abuse.  I have attached a video of Happy Slapping and its seriousness.  Some scenes may be a little disturbing.
  • Identity Theft/Impersonation-hijacking someone's password to pose as that person in order to embarrass or humiliate them on their own social media sites.
  • Photo Shopping-doctoring photos as to put that person in an embarrassing situation.
  • Physical Threats-sending threats of violence or injury.
  • Rumor Spreading-sending messages about someone that are hurtful and damaging.
What Can School Counselors Do?

From my experiences over the last week, I have decided to create my own personal toolkit of how to respond to cyber bullying at my school.

Education of the School Community

1. School counselors need know about cyber bullying in order to educate the school community. If you are like me, you need as many free resources as possible.  Here are some great free and low cost resources:

Bullying Course for Educators-This course will provide general information about bullying and provide educators with strategies that work and do not work in schools.
Anti-Defamation League Cyber bullying Workshops-Half or full day workshops for administrators, teachers, and school counselors.
Cyber bully Hotline Professional Development Webinars-Includes webinars, papers, and videos for educators.
Pew Institute Cyber bullying Webinar-What research shows educators about cyber bullying.
Bullying and Suicide Prevention
Bullying Prevention Training-Indiana-Includes staff training, prevention ideas, web sites, and resources.
2014 Girl Bullying Conference-Chicago, Illinois-June 30th-July 2nd.

2. School counselors should educate the school community about cyber bullying and how cyber bullying impacts the school community.  When staff members, parents, and students become aware of the impact of cyber bullying, many will feel the responsibility to stand up against it in their school community.

3. Educating parents:
  • Organize and host a Family Outreach Night with materials from Common
  • Have students teach a social media class for parents.  Students can teach parents about texting vocabulary and about new social media applications like Snap Chat, etc.
  • Present information to parents using a resource called Netsmartz.
4. School counselors should train staff members about what to do when they see or hear about cyber bullying in their classroom. Stop Cyber basic information for educators, prevention, and laws.

5. When working with students, there are many creative ideas that school counselors can employ. Some of these strategies include:
  • Work with the middle school counselor to educate students in the middle school about how the high school community stands against cyber bullying. A great idea is to use peer helpers to educate middle school students about cyber bullying.
  • The first week of school, coordinate a campaign with clubs, sports teams, and organizations to teach students about cyber bullying and what to do about when they see or hear it.
  • Work with teachers to create a safe school climate by embedding social media safety in the curriculum of all classes.
  • Work with your media school specialist to engage students responsibly in technology in the classroom and library.
  • Collaborate with teachers to create a culture of caring in the classroom by using positive language and employing class meetings that directly address problems in the class community.
        Classroom Meeting Guidance  
  • Help promote digital citizenship as a way of life in the school community.
  • Educate students about cyber bullying by giving them a quiz to see if they may be involved in cyber bullying.
Cyber bullying Prevention Activities by the School Counselor
  • Use to teach about Digital Citizenship
         Digital Citizenship Lesson (Grades 9-12).
  • Educate students on the laws regarding cyber bullying
         Cyber bullying Laws in the United States.
  • Conduct assessments around bullying to determine the frequency of bullying in the school community.
         Center for Disease Control Compendium of Assessment Tools
         Safe Schools Assessment Kit
         Sign the Digital Petition
         Classroom Discussion Kit
         Beat Bullying Lesson Plans for the Classroom

  • Educate your peer helpers, SADD members, SAVE members, or an existing club to stand against bullying in your school. Here is a presentation you can use with your students: Bullying 101 for Students.
  • One group you can incorporate in your school is called Teen Angels. Teen Angels are a group of student volunteers, between the ages of 13-18, who make offline presentations to students, parents, staff about cyber bullying.

Cyber Bullying Intervention Strategies for the School Counselor 

Although school counselors are not responsible for investigating cyber bullying incidents, I feel that it is appropriate to inform parents and students of steps to take when they are involved in these types of situations.

1. Provide Guidance on Reporting Cyber bullying
  • When assisting students in cyber bullying incidents, it is important to inform them not to respond to the attacks or forward the posts, texts, or pictures to others (especially pornographic pictures).  Honestly, this is very hard for students because they feel they must respond to accusations or misinformation by retaliation or getting other students to respond for them.  In the Instagram situation at my school, one of my senior girls, who had a picture of her posted, responded using a lot of expletives and threats to the bullies (not good).  
  • Tell the students to save any posts, texts, and pictures that have been sent to them via a screen saver application.  Students should include dates, times, and descriptions of all incidents. Here are some applications that will capture your screen.

Web Snap Shot

Screen Captor

  • Ask the student to block the bully as soon as possible.
  • Report the cyber bullying as a violation of the Terms of Service.
  • Report the incident to law enforcement if the posts, tweets, pictures include...
  1. Threats of violence.
  2. Sexually explicit or pornographic materials.
  3. Taking a photo of the person in a place one would expect privacy (dressing room, restroom, locker room).
  4. Involves stalking or hate.
2. Support Students Involved in the Cyber bullying Incident
  • In order to support students who have been bullied in person or online, it is important to have an established protocol. In very serious incidents of bullying, I give the family information about an outside mental health provider as the student may experience anxiety, post traumatic stress, or even suicidal thoughts as a result of bullying. In addition, I feel that it is important to set up a safety plan for the student at school and at home in cooperation with the family. 
  • Address the bullying behavior of the perpetrator.  It is important to find out the reasons for the bullying (attention, retaliation, power, boredom, etc.). Review state and school policies with the student and consequences. It is important to build empathy in students and giving them consequences that develop character are a good place to start.  
         Some examples include:
  • Write a letter to the student as an apology.
  • Do a good deed for a person in the community.
  • Read about book about bullying and write a paper about how he or she will treat others in the future.
3. Implement Restorative Practices with students involved in cyber bullying. The purpose of Restorative Practices is to restore the harm that has been done to people in a relationship without imposing punishment.  Restorative Practices can be used to reduce violence and bullying in schools, improve behavior, strengthen classroom relationships, restore relationships, and repair harm.  If you are interested in learning more about Restorative Practices, the The International Institute for Restorative Practices can provide excellent information and training opportunities.

Difference between Punishment & Restorative Practices

How Restorative Practices can be used in schools. Video presentation by Teresa Bliss on using Restorative Practices.

Do you have creative and innovative ways that you address cyber bullying in your high school?  Please feel free to share your ideas!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The School Counselor and Peer Helping

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

As a school counselor, I realize that students do not always want to talk or open up to me. When this happens, which is frequently, I introduce the student to one of my peer helpers. My peer helpers know the routine: they ask the student if he or she wants something to drink, they take the student into the our college/career lounge and suggest the student gets comfortable, they start making casual conversation, and slowly they seem to find out what is bothering the student.  Depending on what they find out in their conversation, they tell the student that he or she can trust me and I will listen to them. From this tactic, nine out of ten students will ask to come see me escorted by the peer helper.  It is truly a beautiful strategy!

What is peer helping?

Simply, peer helping includes people of the same age helping each other. Although, I see kids helping each other all the time at school, the results are not always positive.  Case in point, one of my seniors was escorted into my office by an administrator.  Her face was flushed, her hair was messy, and she was out of breath.  The administrator looked at me and said, "You talk to her...I am finished!" As the administrator left my office, she began to tell me how she and another student almost go into a fight. After she told me about her situation, I asked her to tell me how the fight almost occurred.  Like most teen aged dramas, a friend who wanted to "help" told her that this student was talking about her. If the words of her friend had this much power to cause her to want to fight, how could that friend used his or her words in a positive way.

Peer helping includes a variety of helping behaviors by nonprofessionals who are trained and supervised by educators in the schools. Some examples of helping behaviors include:
  • peer listening
  • peer tutoring
  • peer mentoring
  • peer advising
  • peer buddies
  • hospitality
ASCA supports peer helping in schools and recognizes that many school counselors coordinate peer helping programs. 

ASCA's Position on Peer Helping

ASCA believes that peer helping can greatly benefit schools and extend the influence of the counselor. In schools, many school counselors select, train, and supervise, and evaluate peer helpers. According to ASCA, peer helpers increase the services of the school counseling program and can be an invaluable extension of a comprehensive school counseling program.

Peer Helping Training

If your counseling department is interested in starting or expanding your peer helping program, consider attending the National Peer Helping Conference in Point Clear, Alabama. During this conference, participants can receive training in how to establish a peer helper program, how to evaluate a peer helper program, how to expand a peer helper program, and great ideas to take back to your school.

National Peer Helper Conference

Monday February 10-12, 2014
Marriott Grand Hotel Resort
Point, Clear, Alabama
Conference Agenda

Track 101: Building a Peer Program from the ground up
Track 201: Training Active, Effective Peer Helpers

Breakout Sessions

Conference Descriptions

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Threatened Species, the High School Counselor

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

As high school counselors, we know that we are overworked and many school counseling positions are on the brink of extinction. However, does our administration, colleagues, parents, and students get it?

Typical Day as a High School Counselor

My workday begins at 7:45 am each day.  As I am walking in the door, I often have two or three students stop me to ask questions.  When I finally make it to my office door, someone is knocking on our main suite door to get in.  Some mornings, we can have 15-20 people stopping by, in a short period of 10 minutes, to pick up a transcript, ask a question, complain about a class, or ask to talk to us because they got in an argument with their parent.  As my morning starts, I am expected to check and answer all my email immediately, answer my phone or return calls promptly, come to an administrator's office to talk to an upset student, and address parent concerns when they walk through the door.  Oh, don't forget the emergency situations!  The suicidal student, the kid who is bullied on the bus, the kid who reveals that he or she was hit by a parent, or a student having a meltdown in the bathroom.  Often by lunch, I have seen a minimum of 15 students and parents, and made 3 classroom calls.
Me, most days as I enter the building
Forget a lunch break!! If I eat lunch at all, I eat while I am talking to a student (I often beg his or her forgiveness) or while I am running to a classroom to grab a student. Throughout the day, I am often working on spreadsheets of student failures, identifying who has not taken a standardized test, talking to a student who needs to take credit recovery in the evening, or encouraging a kid just to come to school.  By the end of the day, I can have up to three meetings (sometimes all at the same time) and then I have another 50 emails to answer before I leave.  Finally, my day ends at 5:00 pm and I pour myself in my car and head to the gym for a little self-care.  After the gym, I head home, grab a bite to eat, talk to my family, and then start making my plans for work the next day.   

Student-to-Counselor Ratio

Educating our stakeholders about our role as the school counselor is very important; however, educating the public about the lack of school counselors is a matter of urgency!! In this post, I would like to share some information with high school counselors about why you should inform your staff, students, and parents about the shortage of high school counselors in our country and why our role is important.

Although ASCA recommends a ratio of 250 students per counselor, student-to-counselors ratios can range from 200-to-1 to 1,016-to-1 in the United States and US territories.

See the Counselor-to-Student Ratio per State Chart.

Yes, budgets are tight and everyone must make sacrifices in the school system.  However, educating everyone from your state legislator to future voters in your high school is critical for our existence. In fact, as school counselors, we often do not market our services and benefits to students very effectively.  In fact, my Student Services Director made a very profound comment at our monthly counselor meeting. She said that all counselors need to do a better job at publicizing our successes every chance we get...I could not agree more with her!

Stop the Bleeding

Why reduce the student to counselor ratio?  The NY Times reported that a lower student-to-counselor ratio:
  • improves the college going culture of a school.
  • improves student success.
  • improves academic achievement.
So, with all the research on the effectiveness of the school counselor, why are school counselor positions being eliminated?  The answer is simply least that is why Philadelphia let go all of its school counselors before the start of the 2013-14 school year.  However, we should never get so comfortable to think that our positions are recession proof.  As my high school's counseling department chair, I am constantly watching our school enrollment for that magic enrollment number so that our school can keep all our counselors.  

What can we do as Professional School Counselors to educate our stakeholders? 

Here are some suggestions:

1.  Change the perception of your school counseling department by educating others about your role.  This can be done through brochures, on your school counselor homepage, in faculty meetings, at parent assemblies, and at school board meetings. Here are some great examples!

2. Celebrate, promote school counseling, and educate your staff about your role during National School Counselor Week.  Check out ideas for your School Counselor Week!  

Toot your horn!

3. Make efforts to communicate with stakeholders (parents, community members, students, etc.) frequently via newsletters, parent meetings, an agency get together, and meet and greets.

4. Work closely with your administration. Download the A Closer Look at the Principal-Counselor Relationship to gain insight on how to improve communication and understanding between you, the counselor, and the principal.

5. Collaborate with other counselors in your state or around the country to get fresh and exciting ideas of how to help students and improve school climate. I love to read other high school counselors' blogs.

6. Hold parent/community educational workshops.

7. Read other high school counselors' blogs, view high school counselor livebinders, attend a school counselor chat, or watch an online counselor webinar. Here are some to check out!

8. Attend and enjoy your state counselor's conference!

9. Attend the ASCA conference in June, 2014!

10. Share articles and information about the plight of the threatened species, "the high school counselor."
NY Times Article on School Counselors
Washington Post Article on the Shortage of School Counselors
MSNBC Article about Life Without School Counselors in Philly

How does your high school counseling staff promote itself?  I would love to hear your ideas and thoughts on this very serious issue!