Monday, January 18, 2016

Celebrate the Profession, Celebrate National School Counseling Week!

 In 2 weeks it will be National School Counseling Week.  Now I know, there are a lot of School Counselors who are going to get their feelings hurt because their administrators or faculty don't do anything special for them. BUT, let's remember, it's not about celebrating us individually as School Counselors, but about educating and advocating for the profession of School Counseling. Here's how I plan to celebrate.

All Week long:  NSCW signs will be posted around the school. I had these laminated last year at Office Depot  to re-use and they are ready to go!  I am also adding the new ASCA sign (see below) to help those folks who still can't remember we've made the name change to School Counselor. We are no longer Guidance Counselors!  I will also be reading the ASCA sample announcements each day on our morning news show. Check out these links to free ASCA posters.

Happy National School Counseling Week
I (heart) School Counseling because
School (Guidance) Counselor
Reach Higher  

Monday: I will wear my  new ASCA School Counselor t-shirt. Get your t-shirt order form here.  These can't be ordered on line.  They have to come through snail mail, so do this quickly!  This will also be the kick off for the Counselor's Challenge. NSCW is the week after the Great Kindness Challenge and I just can't do it all.  So I am incorporating the two again this year. Students will have a sheet for home and one for school.  The idea is to fill up their card by engaging in purposeful acts of kindness throughout the week. When a card is filled students can turn it into the Counselor's Challenge box and fill out another if they want. Students in grades K and 1 will get a larger Challenge sheet so those classes can participate in the Counselor's Challenge as a class.  I will be reminding students to fill out their Counselor Challenge sheets throughout the week and return them on Friday for the prize drawings on Monday.
Counselor's Challenge School
Counselor's Challenge Home (English)  
Counselor's Challenge (Spanish)

*Note:Lots of these files are opening a little funky in Google Docs, but when you download them they should be fine

Tuesday:  Today I will be sending home my School Counseling brochure telling about my program and website.  I will also be sending this great flyer created by my on-line friend, who is now a real-life friend, from ASCA 15, ESCE, and Twitter.  Many  thanks  to fellow School Counselor Jan Desmarais-Morse for permission to share her creation.  I love how she put together this piece, "What's in a Name," to explain the difference in what Guidance Counselors used to be and what School Counselors are today.  Thanks Jan!

Wednesday:  I saw this little funny "Lost Your Marbles" earlier this year on the Elementary School Counselor Exchange posted by one of my conference buddies, Sabrina Snyder.
I don't know where she got it, but I love it and thought it was perfect for this week.  I just added the date for NSCW and once again, I am promoting the idea that your School Counselor is there to help. Marbles and snack bags from the Dollar Tree.  Fifty marbles in a bag, 22 snack baggies in a box and I had the card stock. Super cheap!

Thursday: A silly little treat with Tootsie Pops to remind teachers when a problem "pops" up, they can always turn to their School Counselor for help and support.  I got bags of Tootsie Pops at the Dollar Tree, 11 in a bag for $1 and I had the card stock.  Very inexpensive!

Friday: I will be providing donuts and coffee in the teacher's lounge before school.  The sign will read, "Donut" let challenges with students and parents stress you out. Remember, your School Counselor help!  Friday all the Counselor's Challenge sheets will be collected for Monday morning's drawing.  I will draw 20 names on the morning news show.  I have silicone bracelets, pencils, candy, and some dollar store items to give away.
Well, there you have it.  Another NSCW, another opportunity to assertively advocate about the value of  having School Counselors in our schools.  If you are one of those School Counselors who is performing too many tasks unrelated to School Counseling, take heart.  Use this week to educate those around you about what School Counselors should be doing.  Share the ASCA Executive Summary with your administrators and put the ASCA posters up around your school.  Then do like Trish Hatch said she did when she was an elementary School Counselor in California.  She chose the grade level that was giving the principal the most grief and started there with a few classroom lessons and groups. When discipline improved, the principal took notice and the classroom teachers in other grade levels started asking her why aren't you doing that with our grade?  Satisfied teachers are your best advertisement. Just find one or two willing colleagues who will let you do what you were trained to do and see what happens. Start small, but start!

So whether you are in the ideal School Counselor position or one where you feel like a clerk or pseudo-administrator, celebrate the profession! Even if you are just barely hanging on by your fingernails, National School Counseling Week is the time to make some noise and educate and advocate for all ways School Counseling can a difference to students in your school!

I hope you find some things here you can use for your School Counseling Week Celebration.  You can also check out some other ideas in my blog post from 2015 A Second Look At National School Counseling Week. Make it a GREAT one!

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