Happy Back-to-School Season! I don’t know about you, but the Back-to-School wave is crashing all around me as I write this post! It started hitting me in early August and it hasn’t stopped yet. But… the overwhelming Back-to-School season is also one of the most exciting times of the school year. After all, it is when we get to meet all our students and families and find out just what they need from us! So, for this post, I have lots of tips and tricks on one of the most crucial Back-to-School counselor tasks: presenting your school counseling program through sharing and implementing all the amazing ways you support students!
Presenting Your school Counseling Program
Did you know that most staff members do not know all that we do during the work day? And they need to know- so they can support and encourage our crucial work with students! It is through educating staff about your program that they learn what we do and how we help kids! It is important to teach everyone about our appropriate role based on the American School Counselor Association’s (ASCA) model. Of course we know that our school counseling duties are based on the four components of a comprehensive school counseling program- guidance curriculum, responsive services, individual planning, and system support; and we know that our program is also based on standards in academic, career and social/emotional development, However, your staff, students, and community members also need an abridged, engaging, and user-friendly version of this same program information!
Presenting your school counseling program to staff
For staff, I present my counseling program, combined with all the ways I support them, at the beginning of the school year. Here is a link to an editable version of my presentation if you’d like to save time and download it to use at your school.
In case you want to completely start from scratch and design your own presentation, here are the topics I cover in a beginning-of-year staff presentation:
- My role in the school (per the ASCA Model and the Texas Model since I work in Texas). Sometimes, I also reference The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning.
- How I support students and also teachers in their work with students
- Suicide prevention information
- Procedures for reporting child abuse
- Our district and campus protocol for student crises
- Procedures for how staff and students can utilize my services
Presenting your school counseling program TO STUDENTS
I actually do this every week in my guidance lessons to students. I start off all guidance lessons with a reminder to students of how I can support them through request forms (for non-emergencies) and when they have an emergency. Here is a link to my “3 Hurts” posterette which I use as I teach students what constitutes an actual emergency. Then, as we get into the guidance lesson topic, such as study skills or stress management, I remind them that this is one of the program areas that I can help them with. Here is a link to my Meet the Counselor lesson which includes all these elements that I teach students. I also present my role to students every week in the cafeteria when I sit at my Counselor Corner table while they eat lunch; this gives them the opportunity to come up and get to know how I can support them better!
Presenting your school counseling program TO PARENTS/COMMUNITY
Educating parents and community members about the appropriate duties of an effective school counseling program should also be a big part of our job in the beginning of the school year. I do this mainly through my campus school counselor website and a monthly newsletter that I send out to parents which always includes information about my program. If you would like to see an example of my newsletter, click on this link and then scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the September 2017 Newsletter; we don’t yet have our September 2018 newsletter published at the time of this posting.
Additionally, I present to parents at school events whenever I can- this includes Meet the Teacher, Back to School night, etc. My parent presentations are usually just 10-20 minutes at the beginning of the schoolwide event. I try to time my presentation slot right after the principal speaks because this is when all the parents are in one place as a captive audience. I cover much of the same information that I mentioned in my staff presentation above. Here is a link to an editable parent presentation that I’ve created if you’d like to download it.
NEWSY & NOTEWORTHY
- I’m honored to be presenting on trauma-informed counseling groups at the Mental Health Conference preconference session on Oct 8. If you are in town, come see me (link above in image).
- A free healthy coping skills guidance lesson is coming in my September newsletter, so sign up here to get the newsletter and my freebie healthy coping skills guidance lesson!
- Exciting news! I just signed a contract with Youthlight Publishing, to create Middle School Smart Guidance 6Pak, which is a set of 6 interactive guidance lessons designed for computers, laptops, and interactive whiteboards. These lessons will focus on various topics such as anxiety, substance abuse prevention, and more! I am so excited about this product- look for it in early 2019!!!
- Remember to check our Facebook group, Mental Health Marketplace, on Fridays when we tell you about the latest and greatest free counseling resource available! Join our group at this link to take advantage of our Freebie Fridays and to advocate for mental health! Together we can de-stigmatize this important topic!
That brings me to the end of this September Back-to-School post. Please leave a comment because I’d love to hear about how you communicate with staff, students, or community about your counseling program. Catch up with me again in October for my monthly counseling post that I share during the first weekend of every month!