Thursday, September 26, 2013

Awesome On-line Magazine: Teen Life


I am not huge fan of teenage magazines or even parent magazines, for that matter. I think some of them are cheesy, preachy or corny. HOWEVER, there is something about Teen Life that has got me whistling a new tune! This on-line publication is FILLED with resources and information. Gap Year, STEM, Special Needs and Summer Programs! How many times do you get asked about that??? They have free down loadable resources. Special links for counselors and educators and a separate magazine for parents and a blog you can contribute to!

I already signed up!

Teen Life

Enjoy this site and be Extraordinary!  

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Framework for Safe and Successful Schools

  If you have not seen this document, then please read it. The six major school based professional organizations came together to create an integrated framework for what they consider are safe and successful schools. There should be no more guessing. The right hand is finally talking to the left hand. School counselors are included all through this document. So, if you should have an administrator who can't seem remember what a school counselor does or refuses to include you in collaboration...make a copy of this pdf on bright neon paper and anonymously place it in their mailbox!

Framework for Safe and Successful Schools

Enjoy, as you travel the road to Extraordinary!

Implementing the Common Core State Standards: The Role of the School Counselor Action Brief

Forty-five states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted the Common Core State Standards. Are you one of those states?

"This Action Brief for school counselors is a starting point, designed to increase awareness of the standards, create a sense of urgency around their implementation, and provide these stakeholders — who are faced with dramatically increased expectations in the context of fewer resources — with a deeper understanding of the standards and their role in implementing the standards. Achieve, in partnership with College Summit, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and the National Association of Elementary School Principals, released this with support from MetLife Foundation." (taken from site)
Common Core and School Counselors



FREE VIDEO - Bullied: A Student, a School and a Case That Made History

Bullied teaching kitBullied is a documentary film that chronicles one student’s ordeal at the hands of anti-gay bullies and offers an inspiring message of hope to those fighting harassment today. It can become a cornerstone of anti-bullying efforts in middle and high schools.
Bullied includes:
  • A 40-minute documentary film (DVD), with closed captioning and with Spanish subtitles
  • A two-part viewer’s guide with standards-aligned lesson plans and activities for use in staff development
  • Additional materials online
Bullied is designed to help administrators, teachers and counselors create a safer school environment for all students, not just those who are gay and lesbian. It is also intended to help all students understand the terrible toll bullying can take on its victims, and to encourage students to stand up for their classmates who are being harassed.
Bullied has been endorsed by the NEA

Order your school’s free copy now to have it ready to use during National Bullying Prevention Month (October 2010).
Note: Limit of one kit per school. 
“This film is powerful, important and extremely realistic. It provides teachers with a rare opportunity to address bullying in a real and meaningful way.”  -- Lee Cutler, Secretary/Treasurer, New York State United Teachers

Friday, September 20, 2013

Building STEM Skills in Students

Here is a great article about how to build STEM skills through relevant technology. It ties into 21st century skills, critical thinking and closing the achievement gap. All the things your administrator wants you to support!
STEM Skills


ADHD Awareness Week 2013: October 14th-20th

ADHD Awareness Week 2013: October 13th-19th!

Be sure to check out these sites on ADHD for free great resources (for all audiences).

Awareness Month

ADD Connect

ADD Myths

ADDitude Magazine

ADD videos


Un-Schooling Counselor: 8 New Jobs People Will Have In 2025

Fast company magazine recently published an article that speaks about what jobs will be needed because of new technological advances. The path to education will change and so will the traditional career counselor's job. Check it out!

8 New Jobs


Educational and Vocational Guidance Practitioner

Educational and Vocational Guidance Practitioner (EVGP)

I am about to make a confession. I am a certification junkie. I have three and I am working on 4 more. Call it what you want, but I believe in professional development. I believe in life-long learning. I believe in making myself the best that I can be. So the next one I am about to obtain is the Educational and Vocational Guidance Practitioner. Basically it will certify that I am a career counseling specialist. It will solidify that the work that I do with my division in regards to academic and career planning, career interest inventories and post secondary planning. I am very excited to obtain this. I love career counseling.

Educational and Vocational Guidance Practitioner

Enjoy and be Extraordinary!

Free College Classes for Educators

I heard about Coursera from a high school counselor whose student wanted to take one of these courses for HS credit. YIKES!!! He must be a bright kid! Coursera is a company that contracts with institutions of higher learning in order to offer free on-line college courses. Yes, that's right. FREE courses. Now, I will admit some of these courses are on the opposite end of the school counselor topic continuum, but hey...there may be some of you out there who like some of the topics. Nonetheless, it's free. It can help you obtain PD and in addition, learn something new.


Enjoy? Gulp. LOL!!!!

Recycling Lesson Plans

Ooohhhhhh!!!! I love recycling and sustainability. I am actually creating a whole action plan for the counselors in my school division with lessons, etc.

I happened to stumble across this website while looking for recources. This site provides lesson plans, but also ideas to start school-wide initiatives for money! And who couldn't use some money for their comprehensive school counseling programs?


Professor Child Films

Professor Child, produces films where children teach children about challenging life events.  They want to let school counselors around the nation know about their films, which have been favorably reviewed in the School Library Journal and Booklist. Professor Child recently released two films, Children and Divorce and Children and Grief. Each film has a free, corresponding workbook full of discussion questions and creative exercises. The films are reasonably priced at $34.99. To watch trailers of the films and to learn more about Professor Child, please visit

The Professor Child


Building Social and Emotional Intelligence

If you have never heard of EQ, then this post is just what you needed. EQ is great way to teach children coping skills and how to better their self-esteem.

Social and emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, assess, navigate and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups. These social and emotional skills are grounded in the ability to be self-aware, to demonstrate empathy, to manage ones emotions and to successfully manage conflict and relationships with peers and family members. Studies show that one's EQ (social and emotion IQ) is the best predictor of a child's future achievement; better than any other single factor. EQ is a better predictor of success than IQ and technical skills combined. (taken from site)

Building Social and Emotional Intelligence


Careersighted: A New Look at Careers

Careersighted is a new website that has 3-minute videos of every career you can think of and many more that you can't.  The goal is to help students figure out what they want to be when they grow up.
They interview real people who really love their careers so that students can watch the videos and think "Wow, that sounds just like me.  I'd love that career!"  or, "I had no idea what that career was really like.  I couldn't do that everyday."  They hope is that if kids find a passion for a career at a young age it will help them set goals for their future, stay focused in school and ultimately lead to a career doing something they really love.

Sounds neat, huh?  Enjoy!

Teens, Tweens and Sexting!

I came across this great blog for girls in one of my LinkedIn groups. The post discusses what sexting is and how to talk to parents about it. This has become a high profile topic and sometimes it is difficult to talk to parents about certain issues when it comes to their children. This post is a great tool to help you broach that topic.

Teens, Tweens and Sexting

Enjoy and be Extraordinary!

STEPS: Solutions To Ethical Problems In Schools

Every now and then, I receive a phone call from a school counselor who is unsure how to handle a specific scenario or an event that has occurred. We talk the situation through and then discuss the possible outcomes, just like most supervisors would do with their staff. I know first hand, that a lot of the theoretical things we learn in our SC programs we do not apply in our daily roles as school counselors, for one reason or another. However, should use an ethical decision making model when working with students. Dr. Carolyn Stone and ASCA have come up with a pretty good one. I suggest you print it out on a piece of card stock and stick it up in your office. So what if your students see it! It can be a great learning tool, for you can teach your students how to work through problems as well.

STEPS: Solutions to Ethical Problems in Schools (2001) adapts and extends the seven steps of The Practitioner’s Guide to Ethical Decision Making developed by The American Counseling Association (ACA) model and extends the conceptual and contextual applications so they align with the uniqueness of counseling in schools.

STEPS is a nine step model which considers the emotional influences of a problem, the chronological and developmental appropriateness of the solution, the setting and parent’s right.

Enjoy as you continue to be Extraordinary!

Ethical Model for School Counselors


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Why School Counselors Need Lesson Plans!!!!!

The other day I asked the counselors in my division if anyone had any bullying prevention lesson plans they used in addition to the ones associated with our school board approved action plan. I received about a dozen responses and of the 12, only half sent me lessons plans in a response email. UGH!!! and GRRRRR!!! Some of these are the same school counselors who get a hard time from their principals. Wonder why? School counselors!!! I am here to tell you as someone from the district NEED lesson plans! I cannot stress this enough. A lack of lesson plans does not help our cause. We cannot advocate for ourselves if you are not playing the game. It does not make us look like the serious, master degreed, contributors to education that we are. Lesson plans validate what we do. It sends a message to administrators and other teachers that our lessons support instruction. Yes, we are counselors, but we are also educators. We live in Rome and therefore...we do what Romans do! You would never catch a teacher without lesson plans. Why should we be any different when it comes to classroom guidance and small groups? We cannot afford to perform "random acts of guidance", as Pat Martin (NOSCA) says. Gone are the days of I like this book or let me do it. What is your lesson supporting? What is your lesson tying into? What is your lesson helping to prepare children for? 

Your school counseling lessons should at least:

  • Support your state school counseling standards
  • Support your state testing/curriculum standards
  • Support any other themed model that your school or district is using (Habits of the Mind, 7 Habits, Character Ed, etc.)
  • Support ASCA standards
Your lessons should also have some type of assessment tied to it. How do you know if the children learned anything from your lesson, if you don't check? 

If you need me! I am here to help all counselors be extraordinary!


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Information on Cutting

This 122 page disseration provides great information about cutting behaviors. Especially those who are looking for a training for your staff or school counselors. At the end of the document is a powerpoint, a list of 8 websites and a pre- and post-test.
Gerling, Roberta L., "Non-Suicidal Self-Injury: A Training Developed for SchoolPersonnel" (2013). Professional Psychology Doctoral Projects. Paper 24


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Is Site Supervision for You?


I was a site supervisor once. Once. That was all I could handle. I was a department chair at 2000 student/8 counselor/4 guidance secretary high school with an IB programme housed within it, at the time. To this day I still think about how I short changed my poor graduate student (who by the way, decided she could make more money as a mental health counselor). I was just too busy. I had no time. She hated to learn graduation requirements, but loved to work with the students who showed some questionable lethality after the suicide/depression presentation. I was the opposite. Site supervision is not for everyone. It takes a lot of time, patience and work. I know some really great ones and some really poor ones. Fortunately, I am honest enough with myself to know...I fall to the poor side. I know my strengths and site supervision is not one of them. However, everyone is not that honest.

Fast forward eight years to my current position and my exposure to supervision a la PhD program. Supervision is extremely important to the field of counseling. It keeps counselors relevant, accountable and sane! Unfortunately, public K-12 education does not understand true supervision. The closet thing we have is programmatic supervision (ASCA, NOSCA, TSC models, etc.) and making sure our schools implement some type of  model or site supervision (student teaching to the masses). Site supervision is extremely important for it allows us to train the next generation of school counselors. However, I know some school counselors who have intern students because they need re-certification points, who bad mouth the SC models used by their divisions, who really don't help the student learn anything and the university has come in and removed the student; and who use student teacher models to train school counselors. Eeeekkkkk!!!! Did you know there are SC supervision models in which to follow if you have a problem or concern? Well there are and there are some really good ones. I actually know of 18 school counseling site supervision models. I am sure there are more, but these are the ones that I have found. 

In my division all school counselors wanting a practicum or intern student must complete a 2 hour training by a local counselor educator, who is the supervision coordinator at one of our local universities. We have a job spec, a chart of local colleges and their requirements/who to contact/etc. and case scenarios. We have cleared it with our HR department and our school counselors receive re-certification points. 

So as I close out this post, let me give you some pointers on how to be a great site supervisor:

  1. Hold your students accountable - dress, attendance, responsibility, etc. This may one day be your future colleague.
  2. Give them every experience you can think of. That is the only way they are going to be competitive. The market is cut throat out there. 
  3. Make sure you spend 30 minutes a week to process the week's events.
  4. Let them create a lesson in addition to presenting it.
  5. Call their university supervisor if they are not up to par. Call the university dept. chair if the university supervisor slacks off! Students are guests of the school division. School divisions DO NOT have to accommodate universities. 
  6. Send the student back if they just don't measure up. Have the "come to Jesus" conversation.
  7.  If they are great, let your principal or district supervisor know. That way it may be easier for them to obtain a job within your division.
  8. Make sure you help them understand the school culture and let them know mental health counseling is a lot different than school counseling.
  9. Stress the importance of professional development and professional organizations.
  10. Be honest on their evaluations.

Hopefully you will discover and be honest with yourself if you are meant to be a site supervisor. It's not for everyone and that's ok. Hats off to those who do it! We need you in our field! 

Enjoy the first weeks of school!