Monday, August 26, 2013

Liebster Award Nomination for New Blogs

How cool is it to be recognized for something that I enjoy doing and sharing with others? To my surprise, Kristi from Confessions of a School Counselor nominated my blog for a Liebster Award!  I am very new to blogging and began this blog to share ideas and resources about high school counseling.  I love to read blogs about school counseling (all levels) and discover new ones as well.  It seems like a neat a idea so I'll share.

The rules are:

1. Link back to the blog that nominated you.
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers.
3. Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator.
4. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees.
6. Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them.

Here are my answers to Kristi's questions:
1.  What are your favorite blogs?
Confessions of a School Counselor
One Stop Counseling
School Counselor Blog
Savvy School Counselor
Jyjoyner Counselor
Stylish School Counselor
2.  Why did you start blogging?
Towards the end of the last school year I was looking for some inspiration.  I was feeling overwhelmed with the end of the year tasks and was looking for organization and creative counseling ideas.  I came across fabulous elementary school counseling blogs which helped me get back to my happy place.  Although I have found some high school blogs since then, I didn’t see anything that focused on high school counseling and the creative ideas that I was in search of. 
3.  What would you like other bloggers to know about you?
I love what I do and my students inspire me everyday. 
4.  Why did you decide to work as a school counselor?
I started my career in education as a high school English teacher and working with students and thinking about what I wanted to do next in my career led me to school counseling.  I used to think that it was cheesy to say that I want to make a difference-because that is why we are in education, right?  However, that is what I want to do.  I want the students to know that I am on their side and I will be here to support them but also show them how to navigate a tough world.
5.  What are your favorite things to do outside of school?
Besides writing my blog, I love to spend time with family and friends.  Going to the movies, out to dinner, or just watching some reality television is a treat for me.  Another fun thing I have been doing lately is going to Disneyland!
6.  What is the best part of your job?
The best part will always be the students.  However, when a student has a breakthrough, gets accepted to college or gets the grade on a test that he has been studying for is so rewarding.  I love that students share those moments with me.
7.  How many years have you been working in a school?
This is my 8th year, but my 5th year as a counselor.
8.  If you could only have 5 books in your office which ones would you choose?
1.    Real College Admissions Essays that Work
2.    Ruggs College Guide
3.    Teen Workbook for Stress
4.    7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
5.    Chicken Soup for the Soul
(of course all books I can use with students!)
9.If you could live any where in the world where would you live?
My answer is always Washington state.  I know, anywhere in the world.  I visited Seattle a couple of years ago and fell in love with it.  I imagine the rest of Washington is as gorgeous.
10.         What is your #1 go to resource at school?
My job is about 90% college counseling so my go to resource is Naviance! I love it.  It helps me stay organized and I can easily communicate with students.
11.  What is your favorite quote?
There are so many wonderful quotes by some very inspirational people.  However, I made up my own quote that describes my past, present and future.  It is “Follow your heart and make decisions that make you happy.  Live life with no regrets.”  I live my life in the now, keeping in mind my future, but I have learned from my past.  It’s all about remembering where you’ve been and looking to where you want to go! 

My nominations for the Liebster Award are:

Your questions to answer:
1.What are your favorite blogs?
2.Why did you start blogging?
3.Why did you become a school counselor?
4.What are five resources a new school counselor should have (can be any level)?
5. What is the best part of your job?
6. What is your #1 go to resource?
7. What is your guilty pleasure television show?
8. What if your favorite part of the school day?
9. What book are you currently reading?
10.How do you use technology in school counseling?
11.Who inspired you to become a school counselor? 

Have fun!!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

2013-2014 Counselor Planner Update

I have been using my counselor planner for a couple of weeks so it is time to share!  As a teacher, I was able to find so many options in planners, but as I started my counseling job, I was not happy with the traditional types of planners.  I am still in love with the Erin Condren planner and may even purchase another one for personal use, but here is how I use my counselor planner.

The idea came from and is very similar to what she shared.

2013-2014 Counselor Planner 

1.  Important Papers:  Mental health resources, College Seminar Outline, Counselor contacts, high school credit requirements, and IEP passports to keep handy.

2.  Yearly Calendar:  This is where I will plan Red Ribbon Week, Bulletin Board ideas, and group counseling for the year.

3.  Monthly Calendar:  I put my monthly counselor meetings, conferences, school events, college visits, etc. here.

4.  To do list:  I must have a "To Do" list.  This list is ongoing of daily "to do's."  If there are items that I must do immediately, I put a date of when I need to get them done.  Other than that, I just make sure I work through the list.

5.  Week Planner:  I started writing "To Do's" here, but it became too messy.  Since I am teaching a course this year, this where I will put my plans.

6.  Counseling Schedule and Notes:  This allows me to jot down the names of students I see daily and a note about what the meeting was about (if I have time).  It worked well last year.  I use this for scheduling purposes as well as students who drop in for something.  Since I try not to take students out of the same class every week, I can look back to the previous week and plan accordingly.  

7.  Parent Conference/Call Log:  As you can tell, I document everything!  I even keep the faxes that I send.  I document parent conferences and phone calls.  

8.  Note paper:  This is where I take extra notes.  However, I just purchased a notebook from Target that will be my "Personal/Social" planning notebook of ideas.  I can't wait to use it! 

9.  I inserted a 2 pocket folder in the back of the planner, but it is larger than the notebook so I may take it out.  Plus, I won't be such a hoarder if I have to keep this planner neat (instead of sticking papers inside the folder).

That is all!  I hope that I gave you some ideas to help you organize.  I purchased the colorful dividers at Staples and the Flex notebook at Target. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

First week of school...

The first week of school was so busy and I am still getting the senior handbooks in order so that they can be distributed to the seniors soon.  Scheduling consumed my first week back to work and I am in the process of getting scholarships and enrichment program information together.  I feel like I have a to do list running in my head and a separate one on paper.  As I write this blog post, I am thinking about another task I need to get done for my 10th grade students.  I have some goals for this school year to keep me on track.

My goals for this school year are:

1). Manage caseload of students for individual counseling- see students at least every other week
2). Group counseling groups based on needs assessment-at least two groups
3). Large counseling lessons on a as needed bases-at request from teacher (study skills, organization, time management, bullying, conflict, etc.)
4).  Minute-Meetings at least twice a year-this way I get to touch base with all of the students on my caseload.
5).  Coffee with the Counselor- for parents/guardians to get acquainted with me and the counseling program. I would like to do this twice a semester.
6).  Career Cafe- A supplement to the annual Career Day

I always wonder how other high school counselors manage individual and group counseling. A need every year is meeting with students who are failing their courses.  I still would like to meet with them individually, but would like to also meet with them in a large group in order to address more students at one time. Ideally, I would like these students to be partnered with a buddy.

Also, this year I am going to focus on personal/social concerns based on self, teacher and parent referrals.  I have built rapport with many students and will continue counseling for them.  

I hope with these goals that I can meet with more students and

Monday, August 5, 2013

School is in Session!

Greetings!  Today was the first day of school and it was the busiest first day ever!  My day was filled with schedule changes and supervision.  I am not too thrilled about the idea of supervision, but I have been missing out!  I get to talk to students and do my counseling work outside.  It is nice to get out of the office.  I took a clip board and a notepad so I can take down students' names, etc.  It worked out great!

College Seminar

I am teaching a course called College Seminar.  Today, I reviewed the syllabus and we got into some discussion about the differences in college.  I am glad that I have different types of students in that class.  It is a good mix of kids.  I gave them a lot of information today so this week we will do some team building activities.

Senior Handbook

As all of this is going on, I am still working on putting together the Senior Handbook.  We will see if this bad boy goes to good use this year.

Bulletin Board

I was inspired by all of the blogs that I have been reading and the counselors who get to put up bulletin boards.  The counseling department has one bulletin board and it will change as the year goes on.  I am also thinking about making a makeshift bulletin board directly in front of the office door for announcements and reminders.

This is what the bulletin board looks like now.  We have "Meet the Teacher" night Wednesday so I need to add a couple of things. 

I really like what I did with this part of the bulletin board.  I added topics that the counselors help with such as bullying, anger, feelings, family, relationships, college interest, career research, community service resources, etc.  It is simple but to the point. 

Students are stopping by to look at it! 

I would post pictures of my office, but it is a mess and there is not much room to set up anything.  I do share an office with another counselor and the room configuration is working well.

In the future, I hope to put more ideas about what I am doing with the College Seminar course and bulletin boards!

See you later!