Monday, November 16, 2015

A hen in the hand...

I had the ABSOLUTE pleasure of attending ISCA Annual Conference last week. 
{ISCA= Indiana School Counselor Association}

It was AMAZING! Not only did I attend, and partake in some pretty great sessions- I also presented on Technology! I used a that you can find here:

It has some pretty good techy things that have made my life easier. 

In addition, I met the fantastic Sarah Altman (ISCA President) and Kelly Johnson, Communications Chair for ISCA ... (and you can find her at I was asked to be on the Communications Team and I am SUPER excited!

On a last note- isn't it funny how no matter the AMAZING work we do, something, someone, some situation always brings it down?!?! No matter being all caught up, nominated for School Counselor of the Year, have my schedules as caught up as can be, presenting at a State Conference- there's always someone who is unhappy. So friends- HANG IN THERE! I want you to know I appreciate EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU! 

Short and to the point! I love you all!

Stay classy Counselors ;)


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Back and Better Than Ever!

Wow it feels SOOO good to be back :) I am not sure what caused my 5 month hiatus... but the weirdest thing kept happening- I kept getting notifications from Pinterest, Facebook, and Blogger that I had new page views, new followers, and new likes! I would like to say THANK YOU to all who came aboard and stayed aboard even while I was napping on the bridge... ship's bridge... not an actual "over water" bridge...
So obviously a lot has happened in the past few months including I started my new position as a HIGH SCHOOL counselor. Now some of you may have started following because I was an Elementary School Counselor. Well, I was. Sorry... But I am the SAME counselor, just in a different role. I still have great ideas- I just implement them with teenagers :)
Also the blog got a fresh new look. I thought something a little more current would help get me back into it! I still have my Mr. Potato Heads, don't worry... they just help in a different role!
In the next few months I will get you caught up to what's been going on, including Senior interviews, Freshman orientation, testing (boo), Middle School & 8th grade transitions, scheduling, and more. But, this post is just to get me back in the swing and reassure everyone I am back for good lol. 
I do want to take a moment and complete something I started in July and that is a tour of my office. You may remember a post I did in July that showed some before pictures (you can find it here) but I'll refresh your memory...
Here is a before shot looking into my office
It was very bare-bones and cold... not very inviting

Here's looking in now :) over Christmas Break the Head of Maintenance was kind enough to patch the plaster and paint it a tan-ish color (better than the stark white!)
 You may notice some of the stuff and I want to show you it does not cost an arm and a leg to make your space apealing. The rug came from Menards and was like $29.00. An amazing buy on a public education salary. Also the chevron pictures came from Ikea and were about $5.00 for the set. The side table was one from one of my previous offices and was actually a dumpster find from Stein Mart about ten years ago!

This is the corner by the door- where people sit. The problem was people kept standing up and hitting their head on that bottom shelf :(

SO, I took a couple of the shelves off and added- yep! my Mr. Potato Heads! And it's hilarious how many of my HIGH SCHOOL students and staff members love them :) 
 The blue table came from my mom. Her typewritter sat on that table since I was a kid. I remember sitting at it in Elementary School typing reports! The lamp on the table my great grandpa lathed and the shade is half a globe one of my Elementary students and I made last year. The chairs kinda suck but they came with the office and don't look too horrible. And plus I don't have to sit in them!

Since I took a couple shelves down, I needed a bookshelf. This red beauty came from Ikea and was $25.00... and I LOVE it. Plus it helps since our School Colors are Red, White, and Blue!

This is above my desk. The middle painting came from my dad's barn, the "A" is a wine cork holder from home that we were getting rid of, and the "Keep Calm" sign I found in an empty office at school LOL My wife got me the Integrity sign (Always do the RIGHT THING even when no one is watching) to remind me of my Elementary days)
So that's it... my home away from home. And decorated and put together for fairly inexpensive. I think it is really important to create a space that is inviting, relaxing, and not too "officey". 
So if you have any questions, as always you can email me/ Facebook me/ Tweet me/ etc.
Stay tuned for more great things coming at AFellowSchoolCounselor!


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Exciting Week!!

This week has been mind-blowing! So here's a recap:

Last Thursday: our family drove to Iowa to celebrate my sister's 40th Birthday :) She had an 80's theme party and it was fantastic! And what 80's party wouldn't be complete without a sweet 'stache...

It was hard shaving my goatee after having it for 11+ years... I (along with my wife) am now eagerly awaiting for it to GROW BACK
We drove back from Iowa on Sunday night and stopped in our hometown and stayed with my parents (our future home if we didn't find something before our move!)

Monday my wife had an interview and we stopped by my new school (my Alma Mater) to get my keys and some papers. Here are some pics of MY NEW OFFICE!

My desk and a bunch of junk lol

There's a window!... that overlooks a hallway... and a door lol

My new office!!
It's quite a bit smaller... but designed for a different reason. I don't have to have a small-group table (we have a conference room). I don't have to have board games (well, they're highschoolers). I don't have to have Mr. Potato Heads (pssh forget that OF COURSE I DO!)

On Tuesday we hung out with my mother-in-law who, in our desperate house search, decided to be old school and bring a newspaper Classifieds... like, who reads THOSE anymore?! Well, turns out our future house was in it! After talking to the woman and having my dad go look at it (we had already left to come back home) we filled out the Application and got approved on Wednesday! So we have a house!!! (yea, we've never actually been inside of it and only seen a half dozen pics... but it's our new home!!)

Tonight I went out and celebrated with my former Elementary Counseling Team. Two of them left after the 2012-2013 year, leaving me and the Social Worker and two new kids on the block. But we've stayed in touch and I couldn't ask for a better Elementary team! 

Look familiar? 
If that pic looks familiar, check out this picture from my post last July titled The Lone Ranger 

Haha not much changed :)
So today is Thursday. Next Tuesday and Wednesday we are moving and the following Monday (the 4th) is my first day!!! The HS Counselors work 5 days before school starts, to give us time for registration, class changes, etc. So I will be blogging pics of my office (once it's done) and to talk about how my first day went :) Plus I'll be changing my blog around a little to fit the new level so Stay tuned!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A BIG change is comin!

So I've heard about certain roads being paved with good intentions... But honestly these last few months have been CRAZY! There's a lot that's gone on that frankly I won't get into- but all I will say is God gives us these opportunities of growth for a reason.

Two years ago we left our hometown of 25+ years for a new town, new church, and new friends 120 miles away (basically from the W coast of Indiana to the E coast of Indiana). I had just graduated Grad School and accepted the Elementary position. It took a lot to leave our family but we knew things were happening for a reason. This has been a fantastic two years with the kiddos and I am so glad to have gotten to influence so many lives. Moving to this town strengthened our marriage, our Faith, and our independence. We had to depend on each other because honestly we didn't have anyone else. It's been hard... But it was SOOO worth it.

But, like with all things, God kept working and yesterday I was offered a position BACK IN OUR HOMETOWN!

And it's a High School counseling position! YIKES! But I am so excited for this opportunity to be closer to family and to rebuild some friendships that got put aside when we moved.

So what does that mean for this Blog? Not a lot. I want to keep blogging. I am still me. I'll still make fun signs and use Google Docs and have crazy-kid stories (only now the crazy kids will be older)! I am excited to see kids reaching their goals with graduation and I know it will be a rewarding transition. I'll probably change some pics and the tag line but I still like the networking that blogging gives! I'm still A Fellow School Counselor!

So here's my question for you... What should I know? What should I read/ learn first? Transitioning to HS is big and I want your input! I plan on blogging throughout the whole transition and I hope you come along on the ride with me :)

So hold on to your butts! Here we go!!!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

It's the little things that count!

So today was my first day back after taking some time off for my daughters birth. And after taking some days to get some rest and relaxation... Rest and relaxation... Wait, what?? Oh yea, I forgot, I have a 5 day old daughter- so rest and relaxation are OUTTA HERE. 

Anyways, while I was off I scrolled a lot through Pinterest and realized there was quite a bit I had pinned over the past two years and had never actually had time to implement. So today with my caffeine-induced energy, I did them! Simple little touches that my students were ALREADY intrigued with. And they cost NOTHING.

The first thing was a quote area. I've seen pictures of offices that have walls covered in quotes and I have some but I wanted them to be visible to ALL the students- not just those in my office. So today I borrowed one of the small dry erase boards I use for my small groups and attached it to the wall next to my door in the hall. Made a sign for above and am going to write an inspirational quote on it everyday.

Already sitting in my office I could hear students talking about the quote. I'm sure it won't effect 100% of my students. But hey, even if we change ONE child we have done our job!

The other thing I had seen on Pinterest was where a teacher had taken black so construction paper and made handprints. They were attached by her door and she would write vocab words on them everyday. Then, when the kids walked out of her room, they would "high-five" the hands and say the word. Well I thought- how powerful is a high-five?? So my small group made handprints and discussed how were all different but all the same. My handprint looked like this:

I hung it by my door walking out of my office.

Seriously, as we all know, there are some kids that just need a little bit of attention. Just some affection or encouragement goes a long way. I want them to walk out thinking that no matter how their day was or what's happening at home or whatever- that they still have the power to be AMAZING!

These little things are so important in the eyes of a kid. A positive word. And fun "high-five". And someone who cares enough to provide them! What have you done to encourage one another??


Friday, April 11, 2014

It happens to the best of us...

We all do it. We all have a situation come up..., a plan, a goal, a strategy- call it whatever you want to. We all, at some point in life, have a commitment we have set... And then we stumble. Maybe we don't "crash and burn" but we forget and then think "why bother".

Maybe it's keeping track of personal counseling student records. And we forget to write down who we saw or what we talked about. And then tomorrow we let it slide because "well, I didn't write down yesterday's". And then how long do we go before we finally say "okay! I have GOT to write these down!"

Or maybe it's organizing that lesson we need to take care of. Who cares if it's a week late... Or two. Or three. No one really notices.

Or what about that drawer (come on - you know you have that drawer). The one you throw papers in because you're going to file them tomorrow. Or the next day.

Well, it happens to all of us. So don't feel down if it happens to you. Because guess what... Last June I heard two AMAZING people speak at ASCA in Philadelphia about blogging. And I thought- I have a voice... I have concerns... I have ideas and Pinterest and cool lessons I do. I'm going to blog. And I'm going to blog every week.

And I did.

And then January happened. 11 snow days. Several delays. Family illnesses. Meetings. Clubs. Programs. More meetings. And I realized I forgot to write a blog post. But I have so many good ideas I want to blog about... I'll get to it next week. Then next week came and went and I thought... Well it's been this long. What does it really matter. Who really notices.

WE NOTICE! We are School Counselors and we notice. We care. We advocate for our jobs. We communicate. We do Professional Development. And we LOVE reading about new ideas and struggles and concerns and new ideas and office pictures and data. DATA!

So as I am sitting in the hospital because my beautiful baby girl was born yesterday... I open up Blogger and see my blog hit and exceeded 10,000 views. Exceeded it. And I was too busy thinking "who really cares".

Well, as I watch my little girl laying in her bassinet, I know who cares.

The people who are School Counselors. The ones who in six years will be counseling this future generation. And I LOVE IT!

So I will be blogging. Because that's who I am. I am A Fellow School Counselor. And I have ideas. And I fail. And I Pinterest. And I have students who I think "what else can I try". And how will I know if not for people like you reading this :)

So I sit here, on my iPad, and wanted to type out this message for all you reading this. For those of you who have messaged me and emailed me and commented on my Instagram pictures I say THANK YOU :) and I look forward to many more blogs to come!


Friday, January 24, 2014

Teaching To Give Back...

A big part of what I believe students need to learn is how to give back... give back to their class, their school, their community, and to individuals they don't even know. I do this by participating in the Polar Plunge.

So what is the Polar Plunge and how does it work?Basically, individuals raise money to help support the Special Olympics of Indiana and then to show our dedication, everyone jumps into the City's pool one-by-one. Sounds nice, right? A dip in the pool, mid August, with some iced tea... Well that would be nice. Except the Polar Plunge is February 15th!

Now, as many of you know, Indiana and parts of the Mid-west are being hit with some cooler weather... i.e. -9 degrees. I thoroughly enjoy the winter MUCH more than the summer (the coolness in the air, the snow, scarves, sweaters, red noses, etc.), but do I love it enough to go swimming in it... YOU BETCHA!

But... I need your help. The main purpose is not to just jump into some water. But to raise money! And you can't jump for free! So here is an opportunity to give back to individuals less fortunate than us. Isn't that what we're always trying to teach our students?? 

If you would like to contribute:

1). I need your prayers! Seriously, the water is COLD!
2). If you would like to give monetarily, you can click here and donate to Special Olympics Indiana via my fundraising page:

I am also proud of my little girl for also wanting to give back to others. Her school is raising money for the American Heart Association and Jump Rope For Heart. 

It makes my heart swell at her caring for others and her drive to give to others. She is 5 and asked me if I would tell everyone on the Internet to donate to her school for "the little boy with a bad heart". If you would like to donate to her page, you can do so here:

Maybe you want to give in memory of a friend, family member, or student who has a Disability or Special Needs. Maybe your grandpa or aunt has heart disease or passed from heart failure. Maybe you and your partner want to forgo the roses and cheesy cards for Valentines Day and donate to a better cause :) Maybe you want to donate anonymously... Either way, would you help out and give back for a better cause? I hope you do!