Tuesday, June 23, 2015

School's Out...Now What?

School was out a couple of weeks ago for the teachers and students. The counselors get to stay an extra two weeks and two days.  I always ask why?  Why do we have to have an 11-month contract? I am not complaining about the extra month of pay, but I like the time off. Rather than writing a whole post complaining about the reasoning (is there any?) behind this decision, I want to share how I spend this time.

Day 1: This was the first day back to work after graduation and the last day of school. I am reminded that I get to stay an extra two weeks and two days while my colleagues are at home sleeping in.  I had no transcripts to review so I began cleaning my desk and office.

Day 2: Continued cleaning my desk and the office.  I cleared out binders that were two years old and shredded transcripts.

Day 3: Continued cleaning my desk and office.  The transcripts were not ready.  I made sure that my students were enrolled in summer school. Although I made this list already, I like to double-check it.

Day 4: Continued cleaning my desk and office.  I shredded so many transcripts. I have cleaned out so much but my desk is still a mess. Has this ever happened to you? I did final touches to Grad Nite! Transcripts are ready!

Day 5: Disneyland Grad Nite. I was a zombie the entire weekend because it takes me at least two days to recover from a trip to Disneyland.  I did not party like it was 1999.  Can it be 1999? Just kidding.

Day 6: We had a long department meeting with the principal to discuss the strengths and growth areas for our department. We made a list of things we are working on until June 30th and things we want to prepare for the next year.  The list is long!

Day 7: That is today! It took me all day to review transcripts for about 60 students. I still have to review 157 transcripts. 

Day 8: We will have a follow up meeting with the principal to discuss next steps.  We will be discussing protocols, at-risk students, student activities distribution, clean and organize, and crisis intervention.  I need to connect with the Resource teacher to discuss some of the students on my caseload.

Day 9: I get to review transcripts. I may take a break and clean and organize some more.

Day 10: I will continue to review transcripts and work on my timeline for the juniors.

Day 11:  We will have another meeting with our principal to discuss the next steps and see where we are at with them. 

Day 12: We are having an end of the year counseling department meeting to discuss any items we did not get to after the meetings we already had. 

The counselors return at the end of July for professional development meetings.  We have meetings for a week until the students return to school.  I enjoy taking a week to plan and organize for the new school year and I am looking forward to some rest. 

What do you do to plan for the next school year? If you work 10 months, when do you have time to plan for the next year? I am always so curious to know what other counselors do to prepare for the next year.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The College Decision

College Decision Bulletin Board 

It felt like yesterday when I was talking to the seniors about their college plans.  At the start of the school year I meet with my caseload of seniors to discuss their college plans.  Some items we discuss are, CSU/UC GPA, test scores, re taking the SAT/ACT, personal statement and some refreshers about letters of recommendation and other college choices. 

During the entire year the senior counselors, guide and assist students throughout the college and financial aid process.   In addition, we are helping our students choose a college to attend in the fall.  This conversation can be very easy or very difficult.  It is easy because everything lines up-the student is excited, financial is good and parents are supportive. It can be a difficult decision because the college acceptances are not where the student wants to attend, the financial aid is not good and/or the parents do not want to let their baby go.  I understand all of this and this is definitely a process.

In May, students must make a college decision. To celebrate this the counselors, with the help of our service students put up a board in the 1st floor hallway.  The theme this is “To Infinity and Beyond.”  The colleges were represented and the students attending were represented by a space ship. 

I am so proud of our Class of 2015.  They have been a joy to work with throughout the highs and the lows.  I will remember each of them. 

Here is a picture of the finished bulletin board.