Sunday, November 23, 2014

College Visits

It has been too long since my last post, and it is not for lack of things to share and talk about.  Typically my fall semester is not quite as busy as the spring, but I must say this fall has been bustling.  One thing (out of many) that I set out to improve on this year is college and career readiness.  I am fortunate to work in a college town, so it would be crazy not to utilize the resources that are at my fingertips.  I contacted the Texas Tech University Community Outreach Office to schedule college visits.  They were instrumental in seeing out my vision on educating the students about future choices.  The college visits were an amazing experience.  If you are lucky enough to work near a college campus, then take advantage of their community outreach office and start to plan your trip.
Each group that visited TTU had a purpose.  The picture above is from our second trip, which was made up of 30 student athletes.  One event that was planned for us was to visit Jones AT&T Stadium.  Due to confidentiality, I am not sharing the pictures that I took of the students.  However, I am sure you can imagine the excitement of getting to run around on the same field that the Red Raiders play on...a highlight of the year for sure!

Here are some things to consider when you are planning a college visit:
  1. The size of the group and the amount of adults needed to chaperon.  Each group that I took had 30 students and there were 3 adults from my school, giving us a 10:1 ration.
  2. Consider the time of year you schedule the trips.  About half of our time was spent out doors touring the campus, so weather was important for us to consider.  You can't predict everything, but I knew October usually provided nice temperatures.
  3. Group your students by a common interest or similarity.  For example, the third group of students that I took were either involved in student counsel, NJHS, or our volunteer organization.  I name this group "Leadership".
  4. Get input from others on which students to take.  Teachers and the schools administration were instrumental in helping identify good candidates.
  5. Have an idea of what you want your students to take from the trip, so the activities that are planned align with your group of students.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Community Outreach

October is here, and the 1st 6 weeks of the year is complete.  I don't know about you, but I am glad to be past all of the "beginning of the year" tasks.  Another added bonus, when I help dismiss students it's not 100 degrees!

As a counselor, often times I deal with the things that are heartbreaking.  However, I try not to focus on that.  I am so lucky to have a job that I can help with some of those heartbreaking things.  Notice I said help and not fix!  I had to learn a long time ago that I cannot fix everything that I want to, but I can always help.
The picture above was taken after my fellow counselor and I went shopping for food to help students in need.  My school is fortunate enough to work with various churches and community agencies that also have a passion to help children.  These groceries were bought by a local church that has a mission to help feed hungry children.  Always remember to reach out when the needs of your school and your students exceeds what you can do alone.  The generosity of others is truly amazing. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Documentation Binder

Three weeks with students down, and I am finally feeling somewhat organized.  I am trying a binder system this year to document important encounters.  If you would like to start a binder of your own all of these pages can be found in my packet: Forms & More for the Counselor's Office.  However, these pages can easily be created by anyone that takes the time to do so.  Here is a peak inside my binder.
Binder Cover
Above is the cover of my binder. 
Passes to Class
On the left inside pocket I keep a stash of back to class passes.  These are passes that let the teachers know that I have seen the student and what time they left my office.

Counseling Log
The first section is my counseling log.  I do not keep detailed notes, but I do log students that are in and out of my office.  This has been very beneficial in cases of bullying, proof of crisis response, and documentation of counseling as an intervention.

Contact Log
The second section is my phone call log.  I keep this to mostly track and document parent contacts.  Also, it is a great place to record phone numbers that are hard to track down or that have changed.

Special Information
The third section is the page that I shared in my last post.  To read more about it click the image above.  Once you are linked you can download the page for free. 

Referral Form
The fourth section of my binder is where I keep teacher referral forms for counseling.  These are the forms that I give to teachers at the beginning of the year to use when they want to refer a student for counseling.

Inside the back pocket of my binder is where I keep my "Counseling in Progress" poster.  This is just a simple sign I put outside my door if I am working with a student and cannot be interrupted. 

Even though it has only been three weeks, I must say that I am liking my organized binder system.  I hope these ideas help get you organized too!