Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Second Look at National School Counseling Week

I have long been of the opinion that School Counselors should be appreciated or celebrated during National School Counseling Week. I felt foolish doing cutesy little things for teachers and trying to bring recognition to myself.  But after reflecting on my recent, disturbing and enlightening, visit with my state legislators (more about that in another post) I have come to the conclusion I was wrong. It’s not about anyone appreciating me or celebrating me, it’s about educating others to appreciate and celebrate a profession about which I am passionate!

I had to take a step back and realize it is not an appreciation day or week, but a time for advocacy. It is important to remember the week is not School Counselor Appreciation Week or School Counselor Appreciation Day, but National School Counseling Week.  It is our opportunity to tell everyone what it is School Counselors do and to show the value of every student having access to a School Counselor. 

Our Lament
Yes, we are an undervalued, under-appreciated, and largely misunderstood group. Our ratios are too
high, our job descriptions are too vague, our time encumbered, our PD irrelevant, and our variety of duties fall somewhere on the continuum from volunteer to para to hostess to clerk to substitute to administrative assistant and sometimes School Counselor.  Too many of our colleagues are being used in a way that does not allow the students, parents, and teachers in their schools to utilize the highly trained skill set of their School Counselor. Too many legislators, school boards, and administrators fail to see the ability we have to impact the social, emotional, academic, and career readiness skills of our students.  When those in power start looking at budgets and programs, how do we measure up?  Are those politicians able to say how students are better because of what School Counselors do?  It is an essential question and until everyone can answer it, we are left with the job of continuing to advocate for our profession.  So rather than have my usual pity party this year because I am not being appreciated like the secretaries, nurses, teachers, or bosses, I am going to get to advocating by educating!  

Advocating Means Educating  
I’m going to educate my parents, teachers, and administrators about the value I add to the life of my students and the school.  I am going to make them aware of my services with information home, connect ed phone messages and brochures about my counseling program. Advocacy starts small.  It’s local. It’s a grass-roots effort to educate and inspire the people with whom we have the greatest contact each day. Because if those closest to us don’t "get it,"there will be no one to join us in the push for district-wide or state-wide initiatives to increase counselor numbers, or positions, or protect the services we provide students. 

So, yeah, this next week I am going to celebrate School Counseling!  I’m even going to do a couple of cutesy, cheesy things along the way.  And as a result, if someone wants to appreciate or celebrate me along the way that will be just fine. But, since the reality of this profession which I love so much is that most people don’t "get it,"I’m going to do everything I can to advocate for School Counseling!

Here is a look at what I have planned for National School Counseling Week.

Daily:  Read the ASCAannouncements on the morning news show at my school.

Monday:  Put up ASCA posters (seen at the top of this post) in well-traveled locations around my building.  I had them blown up and laminated at Office Depot (so I can use them again).  Issue the “Counselor Challenge” to students at home and at school. The note going home to families tells them it is National School Counseling Week and asks them to participate in the Counselor Challenge. I found this idea on Pinterest and adapted it.  This idea originally comes from the South Carolina Counselor CafĂ© blogspot.
Check out the Counselor Challenge for Home and the Counselor Challenge for School.  These are printing a little funky from my Google Drive, so you may have to do some adapting.  I didn't want to post them in a PDF otherwise you would not be able to edit them to suit your school.

Tuesday: Something cutesy.  Have a problem? In a “Crunch”? Call your school counselor.  A little treat for teachers.  This cheesy idea is all mine. Get the template here.

Wednesday :  Ok,one more cutesy thing, but I couldn’t resist this one. Stress Reliever for teachers.  It’s a little poem with bubble wrap to pop. Got this idea off Pinterest.  Also  putting up another ASCA poster.

Thursday:  Book marks for the students that say what a school counselor can do for you. Another great way to let parents know what all we do!  I’m still working on these but I have a few days.  I got the idea from Pinterest from the from School Counselor Tonya Jesienouski. I will post my version in day or two.

Friday: “Open Office” for the staff with breakfast  and freebies.  I usually do this at the start of every school year, but this year it never timed out right. I have lots of leftover school supplies and some donated chapter books to put out for teachers to take. I will also put out my Counselor brochure. I will sent out an email to invite teachers on Monday and hang this sign in the lounge. Here is an editable verson of my invitation.

So there you have it, my efforts to advocate for School Counseling.  When you think about it, I’m not just advocating for School Counseling at my school, I’m advocating for School Counseling everywhere by starting with educating those closest to me. We talk to our students about how kindness ripples, I believe it's true of advocacy as well.  Let it ripple!

Happy National School Counseling Week!


  1. I think you are amazing! Your ideas do advocate for the profession and are refreshing and supportive of others. I would be so grateful if you would forward to my email

    1. Did you get everything you needed from the Resources page?

  2. Awesome advocacy effort. I especially appreciate your perspective on the true meaning of NSCW.

    1. Thank you. It took me a few years to get there, but now I want to spread the word. Thanks for helping to educate the folks in your area!

  3. Thank you for these resources!

    1. You are very welcome. Glad you found something useful.

  4. Awesome! Will you please share by sending those resources through email . Thank you so much

    1. Click on the Resources tab at the top of this page. You will find all the items related to NSCW listed there. Download whatever you need. Happy NSCW!