Friday, August 18, 2017

Coming Soon: #SCCHAT!

Friday, August 18, 2017


If you are a technology professional or novice, YOU must consider joining #SCCHAT on Twitter.

What is #SCCHAT?

School Counselor Tweet Chat or #SCCHAT began as a collaboration on Twitter between School Counselor Blog and Scope in 2011. 

What is a Twitter Chat?

Well, first you have to be on Twitter to participate in a chat.  Next, you follow a conversation of participants who answer questions posed by the moderator using a common hash tag.  

How to Participate?

It is imperative that you sign up for a Twitter account. Once you sign up  for Twitter, it is highly suggested that you sign up for a Twitter conversation management platform like: Tweet Chat, Tweet Deck, or Hoot Suite

I could continue to ramble on, but Danielle Schultz, author of the School Counselor Blog, has put together a great post on how to create, log in, and follow a Twitter Chat.  So, now I will turn it over to Danielle.

When Can I Join?

Here is the upcoming schedule for the 2017-18 #SCCHAT schedule posted by Laura Ross.   


Want to see past topics?  

Check out this past schedule from 2011-2015. 

Here is an additional chat to follow that focuses on our elementary school counselor colleagues. 



#ESCCHAT

Also, check out past chats hosted by yours truly!!



























Sunday, August 13, 2017

How School Counselors Can Protect Their Work Reputation

Sunday, August 13, 2017


The beginning of school is always so frantic!  If you are a high school counselor, you are quite aware that the first two weeks of school are dedicated to nothing but SCHEDULE CHANGES....urggghhhh!!! Although, I am not directly changing schedules these days (I am working with our virtual school and the home school counselors take care of that task for me...bless them!), I am flooded with questions about changing classes all the time.  So, it was no surprise that I had copious students and parents calling about their classes not being changed from a face to face to virtual class.  One day last week, a student and parent walked into my office unannounced (nothing unusual) and wanted to know if I could help them with their schedule that did not involve going into a virtual course.  Politely, I asked them if they had seen their counselor as I didn't want to give them incorrect information.  Quickly, the student chimes, "First, I cannot get into see him/her and when I do he/she dismisses me like I am unimportant. My friend told me that you may could help me because her sister had you as her school counselor."  Although I felt honored with the referral, it made me  sad to think that one of my colleagues could have just waved off a student to the point that he/she jumped into the car and drove across town to meet a person based on another student's referral.  Now, I don't know if what the student was telling me was totally true, but I do believe there could be some truth to the story.  First of all, it is scheduling season and who really has time to answer a million questions when schedules have to be completed.  Second, I am sure that the student and parent descended on the counselor like locust and he or she may not have been in the best position to meet with them at that moment.  Now here is the sad reality, the student and parent will quickly announce how unhelpful the counselor was to them and it will probably spread like wildfire.  Unfortunately, this type of news spreads whether we like it to or not and it can be difficult to defend yourself against that type of insult. Since I am aware of the game (whether the story was true or not), I insisted the student and parent make an appointment with the counselor to make sure the information I shared with them was appropriate and I emphasized that I would personally reach out to the counselor to let him/her know that I spoke to them.  The last thing I need is to get into personal feud with a colleague!




Now to the point of this blog. This whole situation had me thinking about my own reputation.  How many times had people gone behind my back to speak to another counselor and gotten information that may have been erroneous? How many times had a colleague innocently or intentionally joined in insulting my professionalism?  With all those thoughts in my head, I decided to write a post about our reputations as school counselors and how important it is to protect our professional integrity!

What is your work reputation?  Typically this is not a question school counselors ask themselves on a regular basis.  However, in the business world, professionals are always evaluating their effectiveness by looking at their reputation.  What exactly is your reputation?  

Simply put...reputation is your actions + what others say about you = your reputation.

Although I am not a proponent of worrying about every little comment I hear about myself, I do get concerned if the feedback I receive on a regular basis is not helpful to my students or school community.

If you want to damage your reputation as a school counselor, there are some work habits you can maintain to accomplish this status.  In fact, Forbes Magazine outlines seven ways you can hurt yourself at work and gain a reputation that may follow you for years (I am only going to give you six).

Habit 1: Make excuses for not doing what you promised to do for a parent, student, or colleague. Making excuses may show your lack of consistency and willingness to help.

Habit 2: Miss important deadlines for students, parents, and colleagues.  This includes missing important deadlines for college applications, recommendation letters, documentation for meetings, and even failure to show up to meetings.

Habit 3: Be consistently unprepared for meetings or with the knowledge you need to deal with certain situations.  This may result from a lack of training, lack of skills, disorganization, or just being passive.

Habit 4: Be unresponsive to parents and students by failing to answer emails and voice mails in a timely manner.

Habit 5: Affirm your faults to others by complaining about your school, your lack of resources, or how you just can't do your job because of others.

Habit 6: Be defensive when others give you negative feedback. 

Source: Seven Ways to Ruin Your Professional Reputation


If you find yourself in a situation where you may not have the reputation you desire, it is not too late to change it.  In fact, here are some suggestions of how you can change!

1. Do what you say you'll do...It is important to always follow through on a commitment.  If you cannot do it, let that person know.  Unfortunately, I tend to be a "yes" person and I have to be careful that I do not over commit to making promising I cannot keep.  So, if your voicemail says you will call someone back in 24 hours - do it.  If this is not realistic, then change that voice mail to a time that meets your hectic work schedule.  If you cannot reply to an email in a timely manner, set a automatic response with a projected response.  If you are going to out of  your office for a extended period of time, but have a flexible drop in policy, put a sign on your door.  These are very simple things that you do that you save you and your students/parents a lot of frustration. 

2. Go out of your way to help others reach their goals...This can be as simple as mentoring a new counselor or teacher, helping a student who lacks the needed resources to apply to college (I have paid a many a college application fee for students), attending a extracurricular event to support a student, or just LISTENING to someone who needs an extra ear

3. Make other people look good...As counselors we have the opportunity to make others shine.  I think this especially goes for our colleagues and administrators.  Often, we have meetings with parents and students that quickly become a bash down of a teacher, assistant principal, parapro. social  worker...well you get the picture.  It is important that we do not get caught up in  the negative conversation in order to be liked or accepted.  When I meet with parents and students about a teacher, I never talk about the person. My first rule that I lay down is we are here to speak about the issue and not the person.  If you can apply this in your parent/student conferences, this will not only build trust with your staff, but it promotes respect from your parents as well.

4. Go a step beyond what is expected...I know many of you do this already...good for you! However, believe or not, I have spoken to many counselors who make it quite clear that they are going to put in their eight hours or say, "that is not part of my job."  I am not saying you should overextend yourself or wear yourself out, but going the extra mile from time to time makes a difference.  I have seen some incredible ideas from other school counselors when it comes to collegiality.  Some examples include:  hosting Welcome Back to School socials for their staff and new teachers; recognizing and appreciating staff during National School Counselor Week; hosting a counselor coffee for parents;  helping out a colleague or student in need; visiting a parent after the death of a student; and taking food to a family after the loss of their home.

5. Look the part...For the love of all that is holy, dress professional.  Looking professional says a lot about you and your confidence level. Also, consider buying some counselor swag.  Jeff Ream, Danielle Schultz and Carol Miller have some great swag on their websites you can buy which also goes to supporting the School Counselor Community Scholarship

6.  Consider your body language...Non-verbal communication is 55% of communication (according to Albert Mehrabian). As school counselors,  it is important to know that we have the power to make or break our students just by how we react to them nonverbally.  I feel that it is important for us to take care of ourselves emotionally and physically so that we have the strength to deal with our students in a kind and compassionate manner.  Check out my post on End of the Year Tips for the Overworked School Counselor for more tips.



7. Be consistent...It is important to do your best for your "awesome" students and parents and "salty" students and parents. Okay, I am going to admit it...this is not easy for me.  I have some real winners and it doesn't help that I have an avoidant personality.  However, I am a big believer in sowing goodness in others even if I never see the results. 

8.  Act with integrity...I can't overemphasize this enough.   As a school counselor, you are the heart of the school.  If you cannot be trusted to keep information confidential, act in the best interest of students, or follow your ethical code then "Houston we have a problem!"  It really bothers me when professionals are not so professional.  Also, I wrote about working with not so professional counseling colleagues that you may enjoy (I hope).  

The Enemy Within Killjoys in Your Department





I hope this post resonates with you and that you will not grow weary in doing the right thing even if it seems you are not appreciated.  Believe me,  you make difference!!! I want to leave you with this article from Education World on the what makes school counselors so effective. 


See you next time!!





Thursday, July 13, 2017

ASCA17 From My Couch...Again

Thursday, July 13, 2017


Yes, I am sad to say that I missed #ASCA17 again this year (unfortunately, I can only afford one conference per year and ASCA did not fit in my budget).  So, I vicariously attended the ASCA
I wanted to ride the bus!!
Conference through the tweets, posts, and pictures of school counselors who attended from around the country.  Through social media, I could feel the excitement and the positive connections made at the conference. So being at home as a stalker, I decide that I wanted to share the highlights with other school counselors who were not able to attend the conference (aka #notatasca17).

Highlight #1: Motivational Speakers


#ASCA17 was not short on motivational speakers!!

Astronaut Mark Kelly started the ASCA Conference and lit up Twitter!



Carol Dweck presented great information on Mindsets.



Probably the most talked about speaker was Dr. Calvin Mackie and his encouragement for school counselors!




Highlight #2: Most Talked About Presentations!


Okay, there is no way I can include every great presentation, but I wanted to include those that had the most frequent posts on social media by school counselors at #ASCA17.  Some of the most mentioned topics on social media included Mindfulness, Mindsets, suicide awareness, and technology.

Katrice Grant: Keep Calm and Implement Mindfulness in Your School


What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is "maintaining a present-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, body sensations, or surrounding environment."

Benefits of Mindfulness:

Lowers stress
Improves impulse control
Improves focus and concentration
Increases self awareness
Develops empathy
Improves sleep
Improves ability to manage emotions

Want to know how mindfulness impacts the brain?  Go to this link for more information!



How to Bring Mindfulness to Your School Community?  According to Katrice there are four steps:

1.  You must become familiar with mindfulness by practicing it.
2.  Become trained in delivering mindfulness to others.
3.  Bring mindfulness into your sessions with students.
4.  Adopt a classroom and deliver as a lesson.

How to Become Skilled in Mindfulness?

The steps in becoming trained in mindfulness include taking a 12 week long training in two courses. These courses include:
  • Mindfulness Fundamentals (6 weeks)
  • Mindful Educator Essentials (6 weeks)
How to incorporate Mindfulness.  See the Mindfulness Action Plan below.
Mindfulness Action Plan

Additional Resources for Training:

Personal Practice (Free resources)
Headspace (free 10 day introduction)

Training Programs:


Videos for Introducing Mindfulness to Teens





Summer Perhay Kuba: Mindset Matters: Growing Young Minds



Summer introduces the differences between a fixed and growth mindset in her presentation.  What are these differences?

Fixed Mindset: This is the belief that intelligence, personality, and characteristics of a person are static.

Growth Mindset: This is the belief that intelligence, personality, and characteristics of a person can be continuously developed.

Kuba presented information on how students with a fixed mindset differ from students with a growth mindset.



Mindset Resources:

You Can Grow Your Intelligence


Jenny Cureton, Diane Stutey, and Janessa Henniger:  School Suicide Training


There were several presentations on self harm and suicide.  This presentation contained important federal and ASCA guidelines, school faculty training, and resources.

13 Reasons Why: How School Counselors Can Help

Model School Prevention on Suicide

Suicide Prevention Statutes Schools


Julia Taylor and Erin O'Malley: Suicide, Self-Harm, & Social Media: Helping Students Ask for Help


This presentation covered the ASCA Ethical Standards regarding suicide which includes:
  • Informing parents when there is a potential risk;
  • Consultation with other professionals;
  • Contact appropriate authorities.
In addition, the presenters covered media attention on suicide and the statistics on adolescent suicide.

Following information about statistics and the idea of contagion, the presenters covered barriers for students when asking for help.  These barriers include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness;
  • Many don't know what is wrong;
  • Fear of not being helped;
  • Stigma by others;
  • Previous negative experiences when reaching out;
  • Fear of not being believed;
  • Lack of trusted adults;
  • Lack of confidentiality;
  • Fear of consequences.
Last, Taylor and O'Malley covered what school counselors can do for suicide prevention/intervention. Some suggestions were:
  • Staff education
  • Awareness campaigns

Angela Cleveland: School  Counselor Technology Toolbox



Angela gave school counselors a tutorial on how technology can enhance a school counselor's job.

Technology Tool #1: Twitter

Angela covered the basics from using a hashtag to school counselors to follow on Twitter.  She added informed school counselors about Twitter Chats like:

#SCCHAT-1st Wednesday of each month @ 8 PM.
#PSYCHAT-Every Monday @ 9 PM.  I am going to start attending this one!!

Technology Tool #2: Pinterest

Angela introduced school counselor to other school counselors with amazing boards.

Technology Tool #3: Doodle

This is a calendar program that makes scheduling easy!

Technology Tool #4: Powtoon

Angela reviewed how to make a cartoon presentation with this tool.

Technology Tool #5: Social Media Groups

Angela introduced school counselors to the various groups on social media.

Want to see more of her presentation?  Angela has shared it on her website.

Nicohl Shelton Webb: Hype Your School Counseling Program With Tech-Savvy Tools


Technology Tool #1: Emaze

Emaze is an alternate form of presenting information that rivals power point.

Technology Tool #2: QR Codes

Go to website to present your information to your audience then download your code.

Technology Tool #3: Edpuzzle

Edpuzzle is a site that allows you to select a video and to customize it.

Technology Tool #4: Blendspace

Blendspace is a site that allows you to create digital lessons.

Technology Tool #5: Smore

Smore is a great site for creating and sharing newsletters, events, and information.

Technology Tool #6: Blogs

Here is a list of Nichol's favorite blogs (she included mine!)

http://savvyschoolcounselor.com/
http://www.thecollegesolution.com/tag/high-school-counselor/
http://forhighschoolcounselors.blogspot.com/
http://entirelyelementary.blogspot.com/
http://www.elementaryschoolcounseling.org/
http://www.schcounselor.com/
http://www.schoolcounselingbyheart.com/
http://creativeelementaryschoolcounselor.blogspot.com/
http://elemschoolcounselor.blogspot.com/
http://jyjoynercounselor.blogspot.com/

Samantha Latham, Kloe Rosso, Regan Estess, and Jennifer Curry: Using Pop Culture References to Engage Students in Career and College Readiness Development


Using Gottfredson's Theory of Circumscription and Compromise (Linda Gottfredson, 1981), the presenters discussed how this theory relates to the stages of childhood development.

For high school students, the presenters referenced the movies as Divergent, Hunger Games, and The Help.


Highlight #3: Great Quotes from #ASCA17 and #notatASCA17


#ASCA17

Amy Egizil: "Don't confuse my passion with anger. Passion contains an unspeakable hope." Calvin Mackie-one of my new heroes

Counselor Carey: What if we gave grades of "not yet" instead of F's.

Donna Clark: Instead of asking "what's wrong with you" ask "what happened to you." A better way to support students with life trauma

Elizabeth Bostick: "Your work will change lives yet unborn!" Calvin Mackie

Franciene Sabens: Counselors greeting students in the morning & when they leave makes a huge impact.

Franciene Sabens: There is never a reason to not communicate w/ those you work with. Timely & accurate communication

Jeannie Maddox: "I think following virtually gets better each year. The willingness to share is what makes our community so awesome." Dr. Mackie

Julie Baumgart: "Fail = Not Yet" Carol Dweck

Laura Ross: "It matters to students if you know their name!" -Sylinda Banks

#NotatASCA17


Connie Ward Johnson: I think following virtually gets better each year. The willingness to share is what makes our community so awesome.

Erin Mason: I love that people like feel the pain of those of us not there and work so hard to share virtually!

Erin Mason: Let's just call it what it is, a school counseling mutual admiration society!

Chris Belser: My is strong after seeing all of the posts and pics from Denver. Have fun, everyone!

Liz Vohar:  Was in the car answering questions! Home 4 some champagne to celebrate 9 years of marriage! TY for the convo tonight!


Melissa Arrigotti: Counselors are uniquely qualified to give our kids the hope they need to change the world.

Highlight #4: Big Announcements From ASCA


  • School counselors at a #RAMP school get free ASCA membership while at a school with current RAMP status.
  • Car give away!! The winner of the refurbished Mazda RX-8 was Sarah Crist of Charlotte - Mecklenburg Schools in N.C.


  • School Counseling Community Scholarship


Here is a promo for school counselors to see if you would like to contribute or apply!



Highlight #5: Missed #ASCA17?  Keep up by viewing these resources!


Social Media Highlights from #ASCA17-https://www.hashatit.com/hashtags/ASCA17

Notes from #ASCA17 shared by Jeff Ream-ASCA17 Notes

Other Resources:

After Suicide Toolkit Schools

Conversation Starters

Evidence Based School Counselor Conference

North Tahoe High School :College and Career Counseling Resources

Student/Career Profile Flipbook


Highlight #6: #NotatASCA17 Chat


I was honored to co-host the #NotatASCA Chat with Dr.  Erin Mason.  See the transcript below!


Highlight #7: #ASCA18!  



Goodbye Denver and hello Los Angeles for ASCA18!

Goodbye School Counselors!




Theme: Reach for the Stars!













Never attended an ASCA Conference?  It is never too late to start making preparations!  Check out these blog posts for attending the ASCA Conference in Los Angeles.

5 Tips for ASCA First Timer -Counselor Clique
Five More ASCA Tips for the Noob- Jeff Ream


Highlight #8: Making Connections After the Conference Through Social Media 


Just because ASCA is over doesn't mean you can't keep the conversation going!

Join #SCCROWD!


Hope (fingers crossed) to see you in Los Angeles!!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Get Ready for Next Year: 12 Tips for Novice School Counselors

Tuesday, July 4, 2017


This year marks my 18th anniversary since become a practicing school counselor!!  I can't believe how quickly time has passed and it occurred to me just how really unprepared I was for this role.  Initially, I started my career as an elementary school counselor and then moved to high school the following year.  The first day on the job I just remember feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to start.  Although I had fantastic and supportive colleagues, I often felt I was unprepared for the start of each school year.  Yes, it would have been amazing to have Pinterest, blogs to read, online social media groups or even Facebook pages that support school counselors; however, none of those things existed at that time (gosh I feel old).  So being clueless, I muddled through the first half of my career not sure of what I should be doing or how to do it. Therefore, I decided that I would make it my goal to help other counselors not to feel the same way!

So, I wanted to take my July 4th to give some tips to school counselors on how to start the year off right.  This post is by no means a guidebook, but I think it may provide some clarity and a lot of useful resources (I have searched countless counseling blogs, articles, and even ASCA to craft this post). Well, let's get to it!

Tips to Start the New Year 


#1 Request a Year Meeting With Your Administration



Okay, I cannot overemphasize the important of meeting with your principal or supervisor.  Here are where good counselors feel supported or become broken by the unrealistic expectations of administration.  Need help with talking to your administration about school counselor roles and responsibilities?  Download the Executive Summary from ASCA for a great overview of talking points.

#2 Get Your Office Student Ready



When I refer to getting your office ready for the school year, I mean looking past the decorations and concentrating on items that add value to your practice.

Here are some items that may be helpful to make your office more inviting for students.

Invest in Fidget Toys


Investing in fidget toys can be great for students and adults.  In fact, I use them all the time when I teach courses and it really helps the participants to focus.  The Inspired TreeHouse defines a fidget toy as an object which helps a student regulate his or her need for movement.  Check out the Ten Best Fidget Toys for Students from You Clever Monkey.  Also, check out the link for do-it-yourself fidget toys if you are on a limited budget.


Incorporate Calming Tools and Kits


Want to be ready for anxious, aggressive, or despondent students? Check out this free printable of what items can be useful for creating a student calm down kit.  Check out this link from www.andnextcomesL.com.


Himalayan Salt Lamp


Okay, I admit it.  This is something that I must have this year!  Whether it is hype or not, Himalayan salt lamps supposedly have many benefits.  Some of these benefits include:

Improved mood
Increased energy
Decreased stress
Increased performance
Purification of air


Interested in purchasing a salt lamp for your office? Click this link from Amazon.

Invest in Posters


One poster, in my opinion, that school counselors need in their office is regarding informed consent.  There are two reasons to have such a poster in your office: first, so you don't forget to give this information to students and second, to use as a reminder for the students as they may share information. Again, I will not endorse any seller or items on TPT, but I thought this one was really inexpensive and cute!




Want to see an office that already includes many of these elements?  Check out this counseling office from The School Counselor Life.

Also, discover my post on Shopping Tips for the Beginning of the New Year from 2016.


#3  Prepare and Create a Needs Assessment



Now that you have your office student ready, it is important to gather data about your program to discover what went well and what didn't go so well the previous year. If you are a new counselor, hopefully your colleagues have done this for you (of course, unless you are a lone wolf).  One quick and easy way to create a needs assessment is to use Google Forms.

Need a tutorial on how to create a needs assessment for your counseling program?  Check out this post by Ohio Elementary School Counselor Kate from Edukate and Inspire.


#4 Start Planning Your Year in Advance



Not that you have your needs assessment, it is time to start planning.  This was always the most difficult part of my job as a school counselor.  However, if you do not plan your time then someone else will!!  Here are some methods you can use to effectively plan out your school year.

Use a Counselor Planner


There is no lack of creative choices when it comes to counselor planners on Teacher's Pay Teachers.  I do not endorse any school counselor planners (I like to promote as much free resources as possible), but here are some that I found that you might like to invest in for 2017-18 school year.

The School Counselor Life

116 page planner with the following features:


-Cover Page
-Year-at-a-Glance Calendar
-Monthly Calendar Pages (August '17-July '18) with space to write monthly goals
-Weekly Calendar Pages (with times from 7am-4pm Monday-Friday)
-To-Do List Pages (divided into the following sections: Students to See, Parent Communication, Print/Copy/Laminate, Ongoing Projects, and Other To-Do)
-Large and Small Group Curriculum Logs/Planners
-Books/Articles to read log
-Important Contacts Log
-Professional Development Tracker
-Notes Section


Counselor  UP


Check out this comprehensive planner from Rebecca Atkins.

Features of this planner include:

• This Planner belongs to... page
• Color coded calendar at a glance
• Program Goals Page
• 6 curriculum pages
• 2 Group Plan pages
• Weekly Schedule and To Do list Pages July 2016-June 2017
• 6 Individual Counseling Log pages
• Lined Notes Pages
• Unlined Notes Pages
• Mandala Quote Pages for Coloring
• Printing Instructions

Designed to be printed on 8.5x11 but may print in other sizes through your printer settings.



The Middle School Counselor

 Editable school counselor planner that contains:


Editable Cover (enter your name, school, title, etc)
Planner Notes (to help you put it all together)
Section Dividers
Monthly Calendar Pages (for you to customize to fit your yearly goals and district needs, come in both a 1 page calendar with planner page or a 2 page calendar)
Weekly Calendar Pages (in both 7am-4pm fifteen minute increments and period by period-- you can also choose from a one page or two page weekly calendar.)
Weekly Worksheets (to keep track of your priorities and to do lists. These worksheets work perfectly with the one page calendar pages.)
Phone Log
Contact Information
Documentation Log
Student Visits Log

Password Keeper
Notes Page



This planner includes:

Weekly Schedule
Year and Month at a glance
Post It Note To Do Pages
Goal Setting Pages
Phone Call Logs
Notes and Reflection Pages



#5 Counselor Brochures for Stakeholders



It is important to educate your students, staff, and parents about your role and responsibilities as a school counselor.  One great way to do this is by creating and circulating a counseling brochure.  Here are some examples from different school counseling departments that may give you some ideas on creating your own.






Role of the School Counselor Description from ASCA

https://sites.google.com/site/earwshscounseling/
Brochure from Edward A. Reynolds West Side High
In addition to creating a counseling brochure, Jeannie Maddox from Exploring School Counseling blog suggests creating a parent introduction letter and your own business cards (you can order your business cards from Vista Print).  Check out number five on her list of tips for beginning the year for new counselors.


#6 Schedule Classroom Guidance Dates With Teachers


Early in the year, begin to ask your teachers to sign up for classroom guidance times before they get too busy or stressed out.  One way to accomplish this feat is to do it during preplanning.

Here is a form created by a school counselor for her teachers.

Counseling Classroom Sign Up form from Edukate and Inspire


#7 Create Appropriate Communication With Your Students



Make sure that your students know how they can communicate with you during the year. Some ways to effectively communicate include:

  • Have students complete a counseling appointment form for students to complete.  Here is a Google form that I created for my students. 
  • Consider setting up a Remind account to send out important dates, information, and communications.  
  • Consider creating a counseling blog to communicate information to students.  One blog that I think is super is Lassiter High School's Counseling Blog.

#8 Put Out a Yearly Calendar



It is important to put out a yearly calendar to inform students and parents of important dates and events. Here are some examples of yearly school calendars that might be useful as you create your own.


#9 Create Helpful Forms


Here are some examples of forms that may be helpful to you in your department.

Conference Notes

Counseling Appointment Form - Here is one I created to use with my students.

Counseling Notes   (Google Doc)


Counseling Notes  (Word Doc)

GPA Calculator for Students


Student Audit Sheet- Here is one I created for my school.

Senior Recommendation Packet-Here is an example from Etowah High School.


Senior Meeting Form -Here is a form I created for my students before meeting with them for their initial senior meeting.

#10 Make a Plan to Log Your Activities and Time



It is important to log your activities and time for your end of the year data.  One way to efficiently keep up with this information is to use this Time Task Analysis form.  Jeannie Maddox also suggests creating a data notebook for your program which can include a Cumulative Review.

#11 Establish Your Office Protocols



Establishing office protocols can be as simple as informing parents about when you will return phone calls, creating can responses for returning emails, setting up office hours and posting them on your door, or posting your weekly calendar.  It is important to establish these protocols early and educate your parents and students regularly.  This will save you a lot of headaches and other aches that we will not mention here.

See Jeff Ream's video on how to set up can responses for your email.


One Stop Counseling Shop has some great signs that can be posted outside of your door.


#12 Consultation

Consultation is imperative if you are a school counselor!  You never know when you may face an ethical and/or legal issue that you need to run past a colleague, professor, or fellow counselor. Want to connect to other counselor (especially if you are a party of one)? If you have time during the week, consider joining one of these communities for some great conversations.

#hscchat - High School Counselor Chat hosted by Amber Shepherd  - chat will be the second Monday of every month.

#scNOTaluxury - New School Counselor Chat hosted by Shujuan Hill Shannon.

#scchat  - School Counseling Chat

#etmooc - Chat about educational technology

#sccrowd - School Counselor Crowd - Q & A Day for school counselors-This is an awesome live chat moderated by Ross Wolfson and Susan Spellman Cann every third Tuesday from 8:30-9:30 EST.  Find resources to help in your school practice; get answers to complex situations; or find out if others are facing the same situations you may face in your school.


Other Resources


Want more tips for starting the beginning of the year?  Check out this post from The Helpful Counselor. 



Also here are some of my past posts that you might find helpful as you get ready for the new year.






66 Resources For School Counselors

Do you have any tips for getting ready for the start of the new year for new or novice school counselors?  Please share your tips!!