7 Things You Need to Know About a Counselor Fly-In

Monday, November 19, 2018
I don't need a new job where I travel all the time. Since I've had a new baby this year, I find myself becoming more of a homebody. But y'all-- Counselor Fly-Ins are hidden treasures!

1- What is a Counselor Fly-In you ask? Basically, a school's admission team flies a group of high school counselors to their university's campus to sweet talk them about their school in hopes that the high school counselors would, in turn, sweet talk their students into applying or attending. It's a great ploy, really it is... especially when you visit somewhere warm and sunny like Florida just as cold winter rain begins in South Carolina.


How to Make the "I Applied! Bulletin Board"

Monday, November 5, 2018

I am always trying to think ahead at what will go on our school counseling bulletin board right outside of our office. My strategy is, honestly, how can I use what I'm already doing to show off something our students would be interested in?

I recently wrote about All the Steps for Hosting a Successful College Application Day.

At my event this year, I had students write down where they applied on a little football. (I did black and white footballs because I don't feel as bad printing hundreds of those off.)

All the Steps for Hosting a Successful College Application Day

Saturday, October 6, 2018
After I posted a picture of my College Application Day "exit ticket," I got numerous comments and direct messages about tips for holding such an event!

We've done this event for about the past 6 years (?) and figured a lot out along the way of what works for us and what doesn't... so, before you implement, know that your event will get better and better each year you do it.

I tried to break down my planning into big steps, but BE ADVISED... it's a big undertaking:

Office Wall Quotes

Saturday, August 25, 2018
If I don't update my office at the beginning of the year, I will never do it. I REPEAT: I will never do it. Like... last year I had a big open spot on the wall where I took something down and literally never remembered/had time to hang something else back up. Does this happen to anyone else?

Before school started, I worked on making three quotes at home. I printed them on shiny cardstock in color. I had to hang them up before I started my day of work, or it would never become a priority.

Counselors on Point Bulletin Board

Saturday, August 18, 2018
Our lobby bulletin board needed an update, and I'm really loving Astrobrights cardstock... hence my new creation! We liked the idea of the students and parents getting to read a little about us (we're humans, too!) and see who is who with which caseload while they wait in our lobby. We added a seventh counselor this year and shook up our caseloads. We are alphabetical now. 6 of us have about 270-280 students, and one counselor (our director) has about 120 students. We are so lucky to be so close to the ASCA recommended student to counselor ratio! 

I ordered this Papel Picado Banner at the top of my bulletin board from Amazon here.


What I Grab When Working With Grieving Students

Monday, July 16, 2018
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

Tuesday, July 10, 2018
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

Friday, June 15, 2018
Students can partner up: one being the employer, one being the employee... then switch! I made 6 copies for myself, so I have them on hand ready to go. These are printed out with multiple cards on a page... then laminated, cut out, and hole punched to add an album ring. I can use these with a student in my office during individual counseling: we can practice for their job interview, or I can be the "potential employee" and model what it looks like to answer these type of questions. I could also use them in a career driven small group. Really, the opportunities are endless- I just like having them on my shelf to grab and go! 


How to Host a Career Fair Without Losing Your Mind

Monday, June 11, 2018
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

Monday, May 28, 2018
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! 


Get the Scoop On Careers: A Bulletin Board For Your Career Fair

Monday, April 16, 2018
We have our first career fair (since I've been at my school for 6 years) for our high school students! We are giving away free ice cream to participants, thus... this bulletin board was born! Keep reading for more details on the fonts! 

Need a printable conversation card for your career fair? Look no further! 
Also- read more about how we pulled off a career fair without pulling out all of our hair!

"Oh The Places You'll Go" Bulletin Board

Tuesday, April 10, 2018
This was one of my very first bulletin boards in our school counseling lobby when I first started at my school. Seeing how it went pretty viral on Pinterest was the reason I wanted to start this blog. I wanted to link back to somewhere where people could find, use, and share resources.

I hand cut this "font" to look like Dr. Seuss letters. Surely there's something you can find on Teachers Pay Teachers that's an actual Dr. Seuss font. Those were just long before the days I knew anything about TPT. 

This is a closer up of the bulletin board. I honestly think I just asked other counselors what I thought might should go under each grade level. If you've been working in this long enough, you could probably come up with your own. At this point after working with all different grade levels, I'd probably change it up!

Check out the rest of our collaborative bulletin boards on one Pinterest board HERE


How to Add a Calendly Widget to Your Website in 8 Steps

Friday, February 23, 2018
Has your school counseling website transitioned to the new Google Sites yet? Seems like there's always a "new" Google Site to learn, but, once I got the hang out it, this one was super easy to use. (I assume that's why Google does it, right?)

Do you care about maximizing your time with all of the meetings you need to set up and get on your calendar? Put Calendly on your website!


How to Add a Remind Widget in 5 Easy Steps

Friday, January 19, 2018

I have a "widget" on my website to scroll through my Remind text messages. Remind has been one of the most useful daily tech tools I use. Since we loop with our caseload now, I've had the same students and parents for three years, and I have over 500 people subscribed to my Remind text messages for important announcements, signs ups, and links. I have been told countless times how helpful my Remind is to keep parents and students informed of announcements and opportunities. The widget on my website helps students and parents who need a visual on things they've missed all in one place. I think it's also helpful between counselors to remind each other what we're reminding students of (if that makes sense?)!