Monday, July 29, 2013

Back to School- Back to Connecting!!

The FANTASTIC Franciene Sabens at School Counselor Space created the Linky Party for Back To School! SO I will be answering some questions and hopefully reading everyone else's responses :) 

Let's Begin!

1) When Do You Head Back To The Office?

Our first Teacher Work Day is Monday, August 5th (work day?... yea right, more like "Teacher Day-Full-Of-Meetings Day). The students start back two days later, on Wednesday the 7th. I've already spent a few hours at each School and am hoping I get in this week to finish decorating and setting up my office (and then posting my Second Office Tour post!)

2) Share 1 Thing You Want To Accomplish This Year.

Just 1?!?! Well, this is going to be an interesting year! This is my second year so I won't be flying by the seat of my pants :) We have TWO new Elementary School Counselors starting (there's three of us total) so I want to help them to get acclimated and start implementing some Corporation-Wide Data forms to keep track of what we do. I would like to have a few more groups going and try to systematize my day so I'm not just always putting out fires. But, we'll see!

3) Top 3 School Counseling Tools I Can't Live Without.

a: Halfway through last year, I stole commandeered my wife's iPad  It has been AMAZING in record keeping, Counseling apps, etc. I would LOVE for out Corporation to provide iPads for Counselors, but I'm not holding my breathe! 
b: My office. I know it sounds weird, but I love having an office that is safe and warm and inviting for students to come and feel comfortable in sharing their fears, secrets, worries, etc. 
c: IMAGINATION! Being a School Counselor on a limited income can be a challenge sometimes. I LOVE finding new ways to implement techniques, ideas, etc. Last year, I incorporated Post-It notes, Duct-Tape, flour, writing with lemon juice, etc. into my lessons. Sometimes it takes a bit of Imagination to keep the kids interested and engaged!

4) How Do You Introduce Your Program To Students At The Beginning Of The Year?

Well... I don't know :) Last year was my first year so it was more introducing myself than the program... also because I didn't really have a program yet. In our District  we meet in EVERY classroom every month. So August is dedicated to "Meet The Counselor". This year, I am excited to do the Minute Meetings! with my students - I am hoping it proves to be successful (I'll let ya' know).

5) What Has Been Your Most Successful Method Of Sharing Information With Parents And Other Stakeholders?

We implemented a lot this past year and hope we will implement more electronically this year. Last year we created an Elementary Counselor Newsletter. All three counselors and the Social Worker wrote a column and we compiled them and sent it out to EVERY parent monthly. It would showcase what we did in the classroom last month, this month, what was coming up, community happenings, tips for connecting with your child, etc. We also hosted a Parent University once per semester. We invited ALL parents to an evening of free workshops, free meals, free childcare, free door prizes... did I mention FREE?!?! Our PTA, Administration, Title One, community business, and others were vital in helping with this and I hope it expands even more this year,

6) Share 3 Tips For Delivering School Counseling Curriculum.

a: Keep it engaging! Don't just stand up there and drone on for 45 minutes. Get the kids up, moving, doing something hands on- change it up, change location, change tools, etc. 
b: Keep it at the same time. We meet 1x per month so they know after a month or two that my time is SET! I value my time... If The teacher gives me 10-10:45 on Wednesday, that's when I'm coming!
c: DON"T MAKE THE KIDS LATE FOR SPECIALS OR LUNCH! They won't forgive you :)

7) How Do You Stay Organized?

... Organized? What's that?? I'll be posting more on that as the year goes on :)

1 comment:

  1. Johnathon-This is great! Thank you for joining the party! I am looking forward to seeing your office "after" pics! Last year I created a very simple brochure for my program that also introduced who I was for incoming freshman & parents. The parents really appreciated it & learned a lot more about my role as a school counselor, might be another way for you to spread the word about all of the great things you & your team are doing.I love the idea of a Parent University!! That makes it sound so smart and more appealing to parents for sure. I totally agree with your thoughts on the 1st day back-it's always meeting after meeting, this year we get to throw in learning a new student management program- woo hoo!! I think we live on the same planet in terms of organization, but I really am making a huge effort this year to become way more organized, I even got color folders at the end of the year to help get the process started. Thanks again, I look forward to reading your future posts.