Sunday, October 30, 2011

Food Drive Results

This week also concluded the Thanksgiving Food Drive collection for the Salvation Army that we had for the past three weeks. I'm proud to report that as a school, we collected 1,080 non-perishable items to support members of our community! Great job everyone and thanks for your support with this initiative.

Red Ribbon Recap!

We had a very successful Red Ribbon Week this year with participation from so many students and staff! Here are the highlights:


To kick-off RRW we had a PBIS assembly where HTCs Nicole Hyman came with McGruff the crime dog and members of the fire department talked with students about safety.

Students also received Red Ribbons that said they show 'Good Character' by being Drug Free! (It was a great continuation from Character Counts Week.)


"Sock it to Drugs Day!" AKA "Crazy Sock Day!"

"Put a Cap on Drugs Day!"

Gotta love faculty participation!

"Slam Dunk Drugs are Junk"

Students enjoyed showing off their favorite sports teams!
"Everyone Wear Red Day!"

Friday also concluded the 3rd annual door contest!
Thanks to everyone for participating and showing the importance of being healthy and drug free!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

2nd & 5th Bullying Lesson

2nd grade

This week 2nd graders had the opportunity to participate in a classroom guidance lesson that promoted bullying awareness. Much like the 1st grade lesson, students were informed of what the words bully, bystander, and target/victim meant, then participated in a role-play with the counselor as the 'bully,' one student as the 'victim,' and several other students as the 'bystanders.' (It's never good to have a student play the bully or for a timid student to play the victim.) The role-play involved the 'bully' saying something along the lines of "Give me your lunch money!" and the rest of the students playing along. It was a nice visual for students to understand what all the terms meant and they enjoyed 'playing' their role. To reinforce student understanding of the terms, the WONDERFUL story "The Bully Blockers Club" was read to the students and they completed the 'Bully Blocker Bingo' activity from the book, "That's My Story Too!". A parent letter was sent home with students that was photocopied on the backside of the bingo sheet to educate parents on what bullying is and how to provide support for their children if they ever feel their child is a victim of bullying. At the end of the lesson students had the opportunity to sign the pledge against bullying a receive a "Take a stand, lend a hand against bullying" sticker.

5th grade

This week in classroom guidance, 5th grade students learned about bullying and spent a lot of time discussing what a bystander is. Students had the opportunity to read "Good-bye Bully Machine" and discuss how they are the ones in the school building that have the power to make the school bully-free. The bully machine is a large, cold, loud, and fearful machine that operates on students being mean, hurtful, and negative towards others. To make the machine break down and not work, students need to stand together and not let bullying happen. By taking a stand against bullying, it is less likely to occur because it isn't accepted and it teaches the bully the way others expect to be treated....with RESPECT! To reinforce the topics discussed in the book, question cards from the "Good-bye Bully Machine" card game were distributed to each group and they had the opportunity to 'think, pair, and share' what they would do in different scenarios. Students then completed the "Build a Bully Machine" activity from the FreeSpirit leaders guide with a copy of the bully word search on the back of their handout for later reference. Students also received a copy of the "Let's Talk About Bullying and Cyberbullying" activity book from Positive Promotions (purchased by the PTO) while signing the pledge against bullying.

To learn more about this amazing book that I'm so glad I introduced this year, please watch the video below!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

1st & 4th Bullying Lessons

1st grade

For this weeks bullying awareness lesson with 1st grade, the story "Chester Raccoon and the Big Bad Bully" was used to teach students about what a bully, bystander, and target/victim are. To start the lesson, students were informed of what all the words meant, then role-played with the counselor as the 'bully,' one student as the 'victim,' and several other students as the 'bystanders.' (It's never good to have a student play the bully or for a timid student to play the victim.) The role play involves the 'bully' saying something along the lines of "Give me your lunch money!" and the rest of the students playing along. It's a nice visual for students to understand what all the terms mean and they enjoyed 'playing' along. To reinforce student understanding of the terms, the story was then read to the students and discussion questions were asked from the book, "That's My Story Too!". Students then had the opportunity to complete two activity sheets from the Tanglewood Press website, one where they cut and pasted positive things to cover up or "Get Rid of the Bully!" In the other activity sheet, students identified what they would do if someone bullied them. Student's then signed the pledge banner against bullying and received a 'take a stand, lend a hand' sticker (purchased by the PTO).

4th grade

This week in classroom guidance, 4th graders discussed the difference between a bully, bystander, and target/victim and read "Nobody Knew What to Do: A Story about Bullying." Through discussion questions from the book, "That's My Story Too!" students spent a lot of time on what a bystander is, reasons why people stand by and let things happen that they know is wrong, and most importantly- all the ways they can 'speak up' without having to necessarily say something directly to the individual that is bullying. The extension activity in the "That's My Story Too!" book was then used, where students identified ways to 'stop' bullying and each table had the chance to read a scenario card and share with the group what they would do to solve that problem. At the end of the lesson students had the opportunity to sign the pledge banner against bullying and receive a copy of the cyberbullying activity book from Positive Promotions (purchased by the PTO).

Conflict Resolution Extension Lesson

Due to the schedule (and large number of students) at our school, there are a few classes I see more frequently than others. I use this to my advantage to try out new activities and based on student response, determine if they're worthy of doing with other classes.

This past week I did an extension lesson of the conflict resolution lesson I completed last month. To do this, I used a fantastic resource called Counseling on the Wall. This resource has lesson plans and activities on a variety of topics while also allowing you to display them to advertise/reference those strategies at a later time. The included CD allows you to print all that you need for your bulletin board so it's user friendly and time efficient!

For this lesson we reviewed Kelso and the conflict resolution wheel of choices for solving small problems. We then talked about the importance of calming down before solving a problem to avoid saying or doing something we might regret (not allowing your anger/frustration interfere with solving the problem). We then discussed ways to calm down and relax and I introduced 'The Peace Train' from the Counseling on the Wall book. After discussing the possible techniques to calm down as suggested by the peace train, I distributed blank 'tickets' for students to write things they do to calm themselves down. Students had the opportunity to share their wonderful ideas including; play with my dog, go for a walk, play sports, draw, read a book, etc. I encouraged all students to actively listen (eyes on speaker and avoid distracting those around them) to gain other ideas/suggestions they might not have thought of to calm down. With the remaining time we used the Kelso Conflict Resolution thumb ball to finish our review of conflict resolution.

I displayed in my 'counseling cottage' The Peace Train for students to see when they come to classroom guidance and small group counseling. I left some space to add more 'tickets' from students that I talk with during individual counseling that need assistance with dealing with anger. More tickets could also be added from individuals that participate in an anger group. I look forward to displaying more Counseling on the Wall for students to reference when working with me!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Red Ribbon Week

To support the importance of being drug free and healthy, our school celebrates National Red Ribbon Week each year, the last week of October. This year, October 24-28th is Red Ribbon Week!

Each day on the morning announcements there will be a special message regarding Red Ribbon Week.  We will also be saying the Red Ribbon Week Pledge after the Pledge of Allegiance.  Here is a list of the activities that we are happy to be participating in! As an incentive to promote participation, teachers tally the number of students that participate each day and the top 5 classes that have the most participation will receive a prize and the teachers will receive a duty free lunch! 

Below is a list of the activities we will be doing at our school.

Monday:  Everyone receive a Red Ribbon to kick off Red Ribbon Week.  Also, students will read then post the Red Ribbon Week History somewhere in their classroom.

Tuesday:  “Sock it to Drugs Day!” Everyone will wear the 'craziest' socks they have!!! Students will sign, decorate, and cut out red ribbons, then put them up in the hallway outside of their classroom.  We hope to have ribbons up all over the school!

Wednesday:  “Put a Cap on Drugs Day!” Everyone wear a hat or cap! Students will read and sign the class pledge to be drug free and post it somewhere in their classroom.

Thursday: “Slam Dunk Drugs are Junk!” Wear a favorite sports team jersey or logo. During writing students will write about why it’s important to be healthy and drug free. Door contest concludes at end of the day.

Friday: “Everyone Wear Red Day!” 3rd annual door contest winners (judged by PTO) will be selected and announced!! (1 winner per grade- classroom prizes awarded)

Other ideas:
         Writing Prompts:
            “I promise to live a drug free life by…”
            “The choice for me is drug free because…”
            “If someone asks me to use drugs (including cigarettes) I can say…”
         Brainstorming Ideas:
             “Ways I can respect myself…”
             “List of better things to do than drugs…”
             “How does character tie in with being drug free??

I'm looking forward to posting pictures to showcase all the participation of students and faculty at our school!

School Counselor (yes!) vs. Guidance Counselor (no)

I often get the question when talking about my career, especially from individuals not in the field, "What's the difference between a guidance counselor and school counselor?" I'll sum up the difference in just a few minutes but first a little history lesson. :) A few decades ago counselors were introduced into schools to assist students with occupational/vocational choices, college preparatory support, etc. They were teachers that simply took a few extra classes and were then called 'guidance counselors.' Fast forward to today and you'll find that we have state and local professional organizations (The American School Counselor Association- ASCA) that support us professionally and legislatively, standards we're required to follow, a requirement of (at minimum) a master's degree in counseling, and oftentimes counselors have specializations in other areas. A far cry from the persona of those that play counselors on television, in movies, and those that many of us experienced when we were in high school.

There is a wide array of responsibilities that make up the job description of a professional school counselor and they mainly focus on the proactive, pro-social development of a child. School counselors work with conditions that interfere with a student's social, emotional, and learning process. A school counselor encourages successful academic, career, and personal/social development to ensure every child succeeds. This is accomplished through a variety of methods but mainly through individual counseling, group counseling, and classroom guidance. School counselors also work collaboratively with students, teachers, parents, administration, and community members. For more on what a school counselor does, their standards, and why they are an integral part of the school community click here.

After participating in a counselor tweet chat, I found that many counselors are still faced with the frustrating and oftentimes annoying challenge of being referred to as a 'guidance counselor' below are some of the wonderful and BRIEF explanations of why we should be called school counselors and NOT guidance counselors:

* (classroom) guidance is only ONE component of a counselors job
* guidance is a service, school counselors provide a program

* it's outdated terminology that does not represent the broad scope of what counselors do

* To me I feel that anyone involved in a child's life provides 'guidance' in some way, my expertise allows me to do more than just point them in a productive direction and give a 'quick fix' to a problem their presently working through. My education allows me to assist them in seeing where they've been, what they want to change/keep the same, where they want to go, and help them take the steps to get there. By assisting children through problems they are currently experiencing, it's my hope to teach them the skills and strategies to not only work through their current problem but also those that will present themselves in the future.

So now I hope you have a better concept of the difference between guidance and school counselors. With that said, please stop making us cringe, and start calling us by our appropriate title!  :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

'Intro to the Counselor' Lesson

For the first classroom guidance lesson each year I share with students what my job is as a SCHOOL counselor, (more details on that later!) ;) procedures/expectations for the 'counseling cottage' that align with the school PBIS motto (that our school R.O.C.K.S.), and most importantly how to request to come and talk. I share with students that I'm an adult that cares and want to hear about good AND not so good things going on in their life. I do this to build rapport and to let students know that I'm not just someone that listens/helps with their problems- I want to hear about their successes too! In every classroom there is an envelope with "I would like to see the Counselor" slips in them. I inform the students that during NON-instructional time they can fill out one of the slips and either 1. give it to their teacher to give to me or 2. put it in the envelope on my office door. I also share with the students that if they have an emergency (that involves safety, them or someone else getting physically hurt) to NOT fill out a note. If they have an emergency, they need to tell their teacher or another adult that they have an emergency and need to see the counselor right away. We then work together to make sure they see me or my co-counselor that day. As you might imagine, the notes certainly pile up but we make sure to get to everyone as soon as we can. It's a great way for students to self monitor their needs and to know they have an objective adult in their life they can trust. It's also a great way to 'advertise' ourselves to students- sharing with them what our role is. Early in the year we also give teachers referral forms to use when they have a student they feel would benefit from seeing us.

At the end of the lesson we do a 'getting to know you' activity with my infamous 'thumb ball' the kids LOVE it and ask to use it often. Some students have even asked where I got it so they can get one! It's a great tool to use to get to know students, as an icebreaker, and even as an incentive for following classroom procedures and finishing the lesson with extra time remaining!

When meeting with the young students we are a bit more creative with our approach and how we share what we do. To do this and keep the students engaged, we compare ourselves to Mrs. Potato Head! We ask the students how we are like Mrs. Potato Head and they certainly give creative responses. :) Then we go into detail about how our job and what we do is comparable to Mrs. Potato Head, for example we have ears to listen to students, hands to 'lend a helping hand' when students are in need of help or to give 'high fives' to celebrate successes with them, the glasses are to help students see more clearly and gain a different perspective to the problem they have, the purse/bag is full of tools and ideas to help students work through their problems, etc. The students really get into it and it also allows students to take turn and celebrate differences (i.e. what one student might select for the hat might be different from another student). I've also heard of counselors using a beach bag of tools that relate to their job, you can even use a beach ball and add questions to the different sections much like the thumb ball.

Another way we advertise our comprehensive program and all the components of our job, while also letting people know where we are is through our "Where is the Counselor" door sign. I made the apple sign my first year as a counselor and used library pockets to demonstrate where I was in the building. Since it's one of the first things I made as a counselor, it means a lot to me and it has traveled with me to every school I've been at. When I was split between two schools I wanted one for my other office so I made a fish and used Velcro to show where I was in that building. It's now in the safe possession of my co-counselor.

Monday, October 17, 2011

K & 3rd Bullying Lessons

October is National Bullying Prevention Month and to build student awareness on this topic we are focusing on bullying in our classroom guidance lessons. My co-counselor and I are on a three week rotating schedule to see classes and this past week we had kindergarten and 3rd grade, below is a review of the topic/lessons we facilitated.

Kindergarten- The emphasis in all kindergarten classes is to develop awareness and familiarity with terms, feelings, and choices. For this lesson, students were introduced to the topic of bullying and what it means through the story "Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Bullies" in this story they learned about what bullying is and what to do if it happens to them. To enhance their understanding of the concept they sang a song and did other interactive activities on the We Do Listen website that supplements all the Howard books. Be sure to check it out, it's wonderful! Students received a take away activity sheet from the site that allows families to review the lesson with their child and a coloring sheet from the site was on the backside of the take away sheet, reminding students to be brave, be bold, and to tell a teacher what's happening. Kindergartner's love Howard and you will too!

3rd grade- To review student understanding of what bullying is we start out the lesson with a Bullying Questionnaire from the "Skits, Raps, & Poems For the School Counselor" book. To do this I laminated 6x6 sheets of construction paper with red on one side and green on the other. When I read a question aloud, students held up the green side for yes/true or the red side for no/false. It was a great way to see what the students responses were and what the class understanding was of the concept. After the questionnaire I inform them of the three words we would be focusing on for the lesson: bully, bystander, and victim/target. We then read the book "Bully BEANS" by Julia Cook (one of my favorite authors!), she also has a great supplementary teacher's guide that goes with the book. B.E.A.N.S. stands for Bullies Everywhere Are Now Stopped! Once we finish the story we define the three words introduced and identified the characters in the story that were most similar to those three terms. We also connected the discussion to the previous classroom guidance theme discussed (Conflict Resolution), just like they have many solutions for resolving conflicts, they also have lots of choices for resolving problems they have with bullies. Students then had the opportunity to ask questions and make comments regarding the topic. They then had the opportunity to sign a pledge banner that will be displayed at the end of the month showing they are standing up against bullying. Thanks to our generous PTO we also ordered and distributed a copy of "Let's Learn About Bullying & Cyberbullying: An Educational Activities Book" from Positive Promotions for each student to keep and review.

I look forward to posting a picture of the banner at the end of the month that will remind all students to take a stand against bullying!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Character Counts Week!

October 17-21st is Character Counts Week, to celebrate my co-counselor and I collaborated with students, administrators, the school librarian/media specialist, custodian's, teacher's, bus driver's and others to host the morning show each day emphasizing a different character trait. This year we became a PBIS school where we look for students demonstrating positive behavior (that goes with our school motto) and reward them with dolphin dollars that they can turn into 'Rocky's Cove' for a variety of prizes/incentives. Our school's motto is that it R.O.C.K.S. : Respectful, Organized, Cooperative, Knowledgeable, and Safe. Each day during Character Counts Week we will be focusing on one of these traits. Monday- Respectful, Tuesday- Organized, Wednesday- Cooperative, etc.

For the morning show we recorded the individuals mentioned above on a Flip and converted the mp4 videos to be compatible in a DVD player using a program called DVD Burning Xpress. The converting took a while but once complete, we had a DVD of five morning shows one to play each day. The program is great, it allows you to fade in and out of different clips, add music, background pictures on the main window, titles, etc. The main screen when put into the DVD player is like a chapter menu for a movie which allows you to select which video clip you want to watch.

Monday- Responsibility- Dolphin Council members giving an overview of the week and talking about how to show each character trait in different locations of the building followed by my co-counselor reading "Mind your Manners in School"

Tuesday- Organized- Several teachers, a custodian, and administrator share what being organized means to them.

Wednesday- Cooperative- Members of the Dolphin Council share what it means to be cooperative in the cafeteria and I read "The Gigantic Turnip"

Thursday- Knowledgeable- Members of the Dolphin Council share what it means to be knowledgeable on the bus then several 5th graders did the rap, 'Get on the bus' from the book "Skits, Raps, & Poems for the School Counselor"

Friday- Safe- Members of the Dolphin Council share what it means to be safe on the playground followed by the librarian reading "The Recess Queen"

It is our hope that Character Counts Week educates students on different character traits and encourages all to promote positive character this week and always!

Grief Crisis Response

At the beginning of every school year I go over grief/crisis response with teachers during a faculty meeting. This is done at the recommendation of the district office since oftentimes when there's a loss of a student or faculty member at a school, the crisis team is activated and counselor's at nearby schools respond. There have been multiple times in the past few years when I've needed to respond to a school and you can really tell the difference between those that had an organized plan in place and those that didn't. With anything, it's always best to be proactive and have a plan in place before unforeseeable incidences occur and it's especially true for crisis situations.

Important points I go over during the meeting include; contacting administration and the school counselor once aware of a potential crisis so they can activate the district crisis team, do NOT talk to media- direct all questions to administration, and locations/procedures for directing students and faculty for counseling support. I also share the location of the crisis kit and the contents that are in it.

The crisis tool kit includes; tissues, art supplies (paper, markers, crayons, pencils, etc.), grief books, activity sheets, passes to/from crisis counselor, literature on how to inform families, warning signs, and ways to assist individuals experiencing a loss. For crisis responders not familiar with the building, I include a map of the building, phone extensions, and a sign in/out sheet for students that request counseling so they can be followed up with at a later time.

I hope we never have to activate a crisis team at our school but I know that if it ever has to happen, we are as best prepared as we can be to deal with the situation.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Conflict Resolution/Problem Solving

I've just completed my second rotation of classroom guidance and the topic was conflict resolution and problem solving. I usually do this lesson later on in the semester but after collaborating with some teachers and my co-counselor, it was determined that it would be more beneficial to do earlier in the year. Since I became a full time counselor six years ago, I've been implementing the program I'm about to describe and I absolutely LOVE it, it's developmentally appropriate, easy to understand, and can be implemented school wide. Teachers especially like it because it helps the students work to solve their own problems.

The program is called Kelso's Choices and comes with multiple posters, a DVD, a puppet, a storybook, curriculum manual, and a CD to print reproducible pages for distribution. It's a bit expensive but through collaborating with our generous PTO, they were able to purchase the program for us!

What it's all about: During the lesson we first discuss what conflict is and how since we're all different and unique- disagreements and problems come up from time to time and it's what you do to solve it that counts! Students are informed that they all have the skills to work through their own problems they just need to figure out what works best for them and that situation. All problems are broken down into two categories; small problems and big problems. Big problems are problems that involve safety (them or someone else getting physically hurt) or when two or more choices are unsuccessful at solving a small problem. The only solution for a big problem is to tell an adult they trust because the problem is too big for them to solve on their own. All other problems are considered small problems and they can try different strategies to work through it themselves before getting an adults help. During the lesson we watch the DVD that describes this in more details then afterwards have a discussion, do some role-playing of different scenario's, and discuss "I" messages for effective communication.

HIGHLIGHT for Teachers and Parents: When a student or child comes to you with a problem that doesn't involve safety ask them, "What did you do to try to solve the problem?" If they don't mention several strategies 'on the wheel' tell them to refer to the wheel to help them solve the problem. Encourage them that they have the ability to work through the problem and also tell them that if they still have the problem after trying several possible solutions to then let you know so you can brainstorm together to solve the problem.

All teachers were supplied with a copy of the wheel to post in their classroom, if you'd like an extra copy or would like to implement the program at home let me know and I'll get you a copy of the wheel!

HIGHLIGHT for Counselors: I often refer to 'the wheel' when I do individual and small group counseling. I have a poster displayed in my office and classroom for reference.

5th grade lesson:

I purchased a curriculum last year that I've used in individual counseling and have been excited to use in classroom guidance, after some brainstorming I adapted it for a 40 minute classroom guidance lesson for 5th graders and it went well! One of my favorite counseling writers is Diane Senn and you'll see me refer to her a lot here on the blog. Some of my counselor friends and I often refer to her by first name as if we know her personally or she's one of our dearest friends, we do that with a lot of others including Danielle (from school counselor blog) and 'the Julia's' (Julia Taylor and Julia Cook)....we get a good laugh out of it but what can I say- their stuff is good and we referred to them a lot.

Anyway, the book I used for this lesson was Coping with Conflict and I used it to create a "Timely Tools Box," it included laminated conflict resolution cards and "Timely Tools Conflict Cards." For the lesson, I distributed the resolution cards around the classroom and each student that had one stood up, showed it to the class, and read the description on the back (there were about 16 total). After all the possible solutions were shared and discussed the remaining students received a conflict card that they took turns reading. They then chose a possible solution they would use if they had that problem. This lesson was great because it gave ALL the students in the class an opportunity to participate. Students were encouraged to keep an open mind because how a classmate might solve a problem might be different from them. This was a great way for them to see all the different ways different problems could be solved!

To purchase these resources and to see other conflict resolution resouces click here.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thanksgiving Food Drive

Fall is such a wonderful time of year and my favorite season, with it comes some of my favorite initiatives to support the community while building community and character of students at our school. Each year we do a Thanksgiving food drive to support a community agency in our area. This year from October 3rd-28th we're asking students to bring in canned food and non-perishable items to support the Salvation Army. When students bring in items they will be placed in a designated location in their classroom, they can also put them in the box in the front office.

Each Friday members of the student council go around to each classroom to collect the items. This week I look forward to meeting with them to create posters to display around the school, morning show announcements, and develop some sort of incentive to promote donations. I look forward to sharing the amount of goods we collect!

The holiday's are a wonderful time of year to be thankful for the things we have while also providing support to others in our community. Help us help others to enjoy a healthy and delicious meal!

Anderson Cooper 360 "Bullying: It Stops Here"

October is National Bullying Prevention Month!

Be sure to tune in tonight @ 8pm EST to watch Anderson Cooper's snapshot on stopping bullying on CNN!

Click here for more details!

Accountability & Data

Working in the schools certainly has its advantages including beginning each year with a fresh new start. With that in mind I create a new goals based evaluation (GBE) for each year that allows me to cater to the needs of the school while also enhancing my comprehensive and developmental counseling program. Lots of people don't like working with data and get nervous when thinking about accountability but the great thing about it is that it shows the VALUE and NEED for what we do! You can report how many classroom guidance lessons you facilitate, how many students you see in a month and the frequency, and how many small groups you counsel- but the important questions that go with this information are, "Did it make a difference?", "Is what I'm doing helping others?", and "Is this contributing to my goals for the program and are they aligned with my school?" To do this you need the right data AND you need to know how to analyze it!

A FANTASTIC resource I use to assist me with this is Making Data Work

This resource is so wonderful because it gives you all the information you need about the data collection and analysis process while also demonstrating how it aligns with the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model. My first recommendation to counselors is to not get too overwhelmed or bogged down with the data process. First, select one goal for each domain: academic, career, and personal/social then figure out how to answer that goal/research question using data (a mix of the different techniques you use to counsel is also a great comprehensive approach: individual counseling, small group counseling, and classroom guidance). Oftentimes, the question of what data you need to answer your research question's or even what to do to obtain that data will answer itself!

I'm a member of my schools data team and I use that to my advantage to help me advocate for my program (adminstration and a teacher representative from each grade level make up the team along with several members of the special education department and the school psychologist) while also using the data twofold: to support the school and my counseling program. Below are my goals and I'll be going into more detail on them at a later time:

Academic: To decrease the number of identified red and yellow zone students as identified through the Response to Intervention (RtI) process. To do this I will implement study skills small groups as one supportive intervention.

Career: To enhance student awareness of the different career clusters and choices available to them upon completing school while also linking career choices with academic success. To do this I will be implementing several classroom guidance lessons on careers along with a career week that includes a school wide career day and college day.

Personal/Social: To decrease the number of identified red and yellow zone students as identified through the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) system newly implemented at the school. To do this I will implement social skills small groups as one supportive intervention.

Again, I'll be going into more detail on each of these goals in the near future. To purchase the above resource or to see other useful books about data and accountability, click on the purchase resources link under highlights or click here.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Homeless Liaison/Community Support

There are many times when I feel so fortunate to live in this country and do the work I do. Today I was reminded of this when I went to a training on services available to individuals in my community that are homeless, don't have medical coverage, haven't been to a dentist or received an eye exam/glasses, and in need of food, clothing, and/or shelter. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty there are 15 million children that live in the US that have family incomes below the federal poverty level. So what do we do to help?!

Parents- Are you experiencing a hardship? Do you need help with providing food, clothing, medical needs, etc. for your school age child(ren)? If so contact your school counselor so they can provide you with community resources that are available to help during this difficult time.

Teachers/Administrators/School Nurses/Faculty- Do you notice a child coming to school wearing the same clothing, tattered clothing, or clothing inappropriate for the weather? Do you notice that some students are hungry, asking for food to go home with, or expressing hunger on Monday's after a weekend out of school? Do you have students that need glasses or dental assistance? Let the school counselor know so they can provide support for the student and their family.

School Counselors- Stay connected with other professionals in the field and resource providers in the community to remain aware of services available to students and their families.

The bottom line.............there are federal programs and resources available to help but the only way to utilize them or ensure students get what they need is through one simple task COMMUNICATION!

So lets work together to ensure that students and families are having their basic needs met. As a school counselor it is my mission to do all I can to ensure that the environmental, medical, and educational needs of all children I work with are provided for and that all children can be kids. Through having basic needs met and not repeatedly having to worry about 'adult problems' students have a better capacity to develop positive social skills and are more 'teachable' in the classroom and in life.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What is the role of a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)

Want to know what exactly and LPC is, what their job description is, and how to potentially obtain this credential?

If so click here for a free fact sheet provided by the American Counseling Association (ACA)!!