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What I Grab When Working With Grieving Students

Unfortunately, I have had to deal with grief at the high school level too many times to count. I have run numerous small groups for grief, and I am so encouraged to watch students grow and process their emotions.

Our team has set up a protocol for what to do when a student dies, but each situation is a little different. When this happens, we are usually alerted the night before. I usually can't sleep as I lay in bed wondering what the next day is going to entail.

How To Have Meaningful College Search Conversations with High School Students

As I finished up the school year with my seniors, I sent off 57% of my seniors to 4 year college and 29% to 2 year college... you could do the math, or I could just tell you that that means 86% of my 400+ seniors are headed to college.

This means A LOT of conversations were had surrounding college. What am I looking for in a college? What is even important to me in this process? What am I interested in studying? You could imagine the differences in opinion and the general awkward disagreements that I watched between students and parents as we sat in meetings together. 

A Practical Guide for Helping Students with Job Interviews

I love these Job Interview Fan & Pick Cards because they are another activity for students to do alongside my Career Building Blocks Game. If you're looking to do career rotation activities in your classroom (freshman success, special education/transition, or just a focus on careers), add this one to the mix. This includes the actual printable, a lesson plan, and a pre/post assessment. Grab them now in my TPT store! and keep reading!

How to Host a Career Fair Without Losing Your Mind

This year, one of our program goals was: Fifty percent of ninth through eleventh grade students will visit a career fair display of their number one identified career cluster. Setting this as one of our three measurable program goals at the start of the school year really held us to finishing it out in the spring. First, we put it in writing in our Annual Agreements in September. Then, we posted it where we would see it during our weekly department meetings.

Warning: A career fair is NOT for the faint of heart. There are a lot of moving pieces and a lot of details, but it's worth it! The title of this blog may be a little misleading... because there may have been a few times I thought I lost my mind... but read on for a lengthy post.

How To Advocate for Your Time Without Rocking the Boat

I had a school counselor reach out to me on Instagram (I love how Insta can connect our little worlds!) and ask about advocating for your role. How do you protect your time? How do you let administrators know what your role should be or how you can be used best within your scope?

I am lucky to work with a team of counselors who "get it" and an administration that values our role. I'm finishing up my sixth year at the same high school where I have watched our roles evolve in even the short amount of time I've been there. When I first started, we had a lot of duties that were not on the ASCA recommended list of responsibilities. As an encouragement to new school counselors or those who feel like they're just trying to keep their head above water... I haven't always been in a place where I felt as supported as I do now.

Here is a list of appropriate versus inappropriate activities from ASCA. I find this very helpful as I think about my role as a school counselor. Everything won't change overnight. As we're nearing the end of the year, now would be a great time to reflect on what went well and what you can work towards changing. Do you get time in front of your principal to talk about things like this? (Principal/counselor relationship post coming later.) I've found that the more my daily activities resemble the list on the left, the more job satisfaction I have. The less resentment I have towards those around me. The more I feel like my position as a high school counselor is valued. I know it's not ALL ABOUT ME, but I am better at my job when I am doing the things my graduate degree actually taught me to do.

What data do you have collected from the year? You don't have to be a DATA GURU to start small with this. (Check out a blog post I did a long time ago about this.) Principals LOVE data. Speak their language if you want to see change.

  • Do you collect data about how much direct time you spent with students? If not, set a goal for the start of next year to use your calendar to track these things. 
  • Do you collect data about who is walking in your lobby door and if they had an appointment or not? Set up a digital sign in and to figure out if you're spending your days responding to crises!
  • Are you the test coordinator? How much of your time is spent preparing for tests, counting test booklets, and NOT seeing students during that window? 

If you want things on the "inappropriate activities" list taken away, what will you spend your time doing instead? Do you have new ideas? Would you get in the classrooms more? Would you start an attendance initiative? Would you host a career fair? Would you have more time to apply for RAMP status? What dreams could turn into reality? Have some proposals for new ways to spend your time before you go to your principal to advocate to take things away! 

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