Why I Love Coffee with the Counselors

Once a quarter, we host "Coffee with the Counselors" for our parents. Maybe we could have thought of a more creative name for this, but let's just call it what it is... We pick up coffee and doughnuts and have an interactive, conversational morning with parents of all grade levels.

We offer social/emotional topics that they're not going to find at an evening open house, parent info night, curriculum night, or a PTSA meeting. We've found that quarterly hosting doesn't wear us out too much, and we always have parents show up.

It's always a small setting. Usually 5-25 parents come to hear about the topics we or a guest speaker present on. Our main ways we advertise the event are email, text message, phone blast, and social media.

If I go back in the archives, I can share with you most all of the topics we've ever done. We are always open to suggestions from parents or staff, but we've found that most people "don't know what they don't know" and often have trouble pinpointing what specifically they'd like to hear about!

  • Teen Mental Health (a pretty general presentation by our school counselors)
  • Growing Independent Young Adults (presented by our school counselors)
  • Parents as Allies: Recognizing Early Onset Mental Health Illness in Children and Adolescents (presented by our local NAMI chapter)
  • Commerce 101: Navigating the College and Career Landscape (presented by a regional workforce advisor)
  • How to Communicate with Your Teen (presented by a local LPC, our school's former school mental health counselor)
  • Trends in School Safety and Q&A with the School Resource Officer

I love that parents feel supported here. I think every time we finish it up, parents feel like "hey, I'm not the only one" dealing with this issue or need help relating to my teenager in this way. Parents share anecdotes and experiences, connect with one another, chat informally with school counselors, and actually learn something they can take away. 

Do you host something like this at your school? What topics have been helpful or most popular for your parents?


2 comments

  1. We held two this year, trying to get in the habit of doing them more frequently. We started the year with a presentation on parent portal and then our second one in January covered our school's interim assessments and we went over with each parent what their child needed to focus on at home.

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    Replies
    1. That's great! Starting is the hardest part. We felt like we could manage one each quarter with minimal stress. Bringing people in to do relevant presentations has been helpful, too, and doesn't stretch us too thin!

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