Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Should I Participate in This Survey?

I know! I know! You're a school counselor and you don't have TIME to take a survey, especially anything beyond 5 minutes!!!! Trust me! I feel your pain. BUT!!! As a school counselor you do owe it to your profession to try to make it better for future school counselors...and that is all school counselor researchers are trying to do...make the field better for school counselor by providing evidence based data. Unfortunately, they can only do it through research (surveys).

That's right, I said "evidence-based", not "do it cuz you like it-based". When school counseling can get to the place where we can tell administrators, superintendents, parents, school boards...we do this, because it is evidence-based; our jobs will be so much easier. Unfortunately, we can't do that because we are not helping to provide the data. I mean we have a hard time collecting data for our comprehensive school counseling programs, we have a hard time interpreting data, we have a hard time explaining the data, we have a hard time taking surveys so the counselor educators can get data...is anyone else noticing a theme here????  Hello????

You're busy. I'm busy. Shoot! We're ALL busy! But, if you say your a "professional" school counselor, well, that is what professionals do. They take the time to make their field and profession better, not just their own world. They do it locally, regionally and internationally. So the next time a survey shoots across your email or in your mailbox, decide that you are going to take some time take a survey and not just start it (because they have to throw that data out), but complete it. You don't even have to do all of the ones that end up in your inbox. Take one a quarter; one a year...but a take one!

* A good curriculum    -    Student Success Skills


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Weird Series


A favorite part of my job is being able to order books and supplies for the school counselors in my division.  One of the elementary counselors recommended the Weird Series. These three books tell the tale of bullying from all sides; the bully, the victim and the bystander via the 3rd grade perspective. The students love listening to the stories. The counselors love reading the stories, especially on the document camera (all the students can stay in their seats). If you haven't had a chance to check them out, please do. They're extraordinary!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Peace First

A great email came across my desk today about Peace First.

Peace First is an organization that celebrates young people and their ability to make positive change in the world. So all of those stories you hear about...where the kid starts a business and donates the proceeds or starts an organization to help others...this is what Peace Works is about. 

They have an award where a person 8 - 22yrs can win $25,000 dollars. They also have a FREE curriculum for educators. This is all quite extraordinary!

"Peace First is a national nonprofit organization that exists to create the next generation of peacemakers. We view children as natural problem solvers and create thinkers, and invest in their ability to see themselves as leaders."...take from website

Peace First

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Professional Identity: What's In a Name?

This post is dedicated to all "school counselors" out there! Especially my friend, former classmate and colleague, Dr. Amy Upton. If you take one of her classes...you better ever not say the words "guidance counselor".

Lately, I have been getting annoyed by the lack of unity the school counseling profession seems to have as it relates to what we call ourselves. While on Linkedin, I saw "counselor", "school counselor", "guidance counselor" and "professional school counselor". WHAT!!!????!!!!???? Colleagues, I ask you...can we use ONE name, please???? Joe Public is NEVER NEVER EVER going to stop calling us "guidance counselor", if we don't stop calling ourselves that! We are school counselors! If you want to throw the professional in front  of it...that's fine; but for Pete's sake stop identifying yourself as a "guidance counselor". The term is outdated, antiquated and degrading. There are no professional organizations that even have the term "guidance counselor" in them. Does your state license still say "guidance counselor"? State legislation? The contract for your school division? If it does, then you need to contact your state SC organization and lobby for a change in terminology = advocacy.

Today, we are so much more! We are collaborators, consultants, data conquerors, advocates, leaders, role models and I could go on and on and on...We just don't "guide"! A whole bunch of professions "guide", but that doesn't make them a school counselor. Whenever, I hear someone say "guidance counselor", I correct them and say "oh, you mean the school counselor? It's not the "home ec" teacher anymore! It's not the "gym" teacher anymore! It's not the "shop" teacher anymore! So, we shouldn't be the "guidance counselor" anymore! C'mon people!!! It's 2014. It's PAST the time for a change. It's time to unite...One Name. Period! If you are still calling yourself a guidance counselor then I want you to look in the mirror and say three times to yourself, "I'm a school counselor. I'm a school counselor. I'm a school counselor. 

Now, doesn't that feel better? Because you can't be EXTRAORDINARY calling yourself a "guidance counselor"! 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Internet Safety and Digital Learning Days

Hey! Hey! Hey! As is February wasn't chocked filled with National School Counseling Week and Black History Month...there are also some days that will aid in fostering Internet safety and digital learning! Check out the sites below and sign-up for Common Sense Media's educator newsletters or take their Digital Literacy Curriculum professional development opportunity (free, 1-hour video) to heighten your awareness of Internet safety. The FBI has a site too - actually two sites - one for parents and one for students and don't forget our old favorite NetSmartz!

Check these out and be extraordinary! Enjoy!

Digital Learning Day

Safer Internet Day

Common Sense Media


FBI - Kid's Safety

Kid's Health

Monday, February 3, 2014

Black History Month Resources

In 1926, Dr. Woodson initiated the celebration of Negro History Week, which corresponded with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.  In 1976, this celebration was expanded to include the entire month of February, and today Black History Month garners support throughout the
country as people of all ethnic and social backgrounds discuss the black experience.  ASALH views the promotion of Black History Month as one of the most important components of advancing Dr. Woodson’s legacy.

In honor of all the work that Dr. Carter G. Woodson has done to promote the study of African American History, an ornament of Woodson hangs on the White House's Christmas tree each year. (taken from http://asalh.org/woodsonbiosketch.html) 

Please share the links below with students and colleagues! Enjoy!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Ghosts of Theorists Past!

Hmmmmm...can't recall who these old, mostly dead White men are, huh? Freud, Rogers, May and Adler. It's been a minute since you had a theories class, eh? These are the Ghosts of Theorists Past! LOL! 

Why is it that school counselors freeze up when they are asked about theories? Why are we afraid to use theory; and for the record...stating that as a school counselor...you use eclectic theory is out. ANNNNT (that's me doing the buzzer-times up sound)! It's passe. Today, eclectic means that you are so proficient in multiple theories that you blend and mix them. It no longer means that you take a little bit of each to make up your own. Heck, 95% of principals won't even ask you about theory in an interview or otherwise. Shoot! They don't even care! 

As I approach my second to last semester of my PhD program, I have learned to appreciate theory. I now know that I need it in order to be a PROFESSIONAL SCHOOL COUNSELOR. I know that I am an existentialist. Mostly due to personal experiences in my life and my belief system. However, when working in the K-12 environment I know that Solution Focused is best for students. Therefore, I fuse Existentialism with Solution Focused. I even did a presentation on it for my Advanced Theories class! Created my own version! LOL! So as school counselors, I bet money that you are going to fall back on Reality Theory or Solution Focused Theory. Either one is fine. I can't envision Psychodrama, Transactional Analysis or Gestalt in a K-12 setting, but I could be wrong! Just refresh yourself with the theory, the techniques and do it properly. Theories are not hard to remember when you revisit them, it will come back to you easily...just like it did me. Shucks! You may even think about going back to school to obtain a PhD in counselor education! What I don't want is for you to cheat yourself out of our professional identity by doing some kind of  hodge-podge, crappy crap and what I definitely don't want is for you to cheat your students out of what they deserve...a competent, effective and ethically sound school counselor. 

Remember: You can't be extraordinary when you're in your own way!