Monday, December 29, 2014

Great Pages on Facebook to "Like"

Over the years Facebook has evolved and become so much more than re/connecting with friends and family. It has also become a great medium to share and retrieve information from companies, organizations and those in the educational profession who support school counseling. You can find a page for just every state's school counseling association as well as much more. Below is just a sample of some of the great pages I "like"!

Great Pages:

American School Counselor Association
Books That Heal Kids
Celebrate School Counselors
Center for Excellence in School Counseling and Leadership
Common Sense Media
Education Trust
The Counseling Geek
Education Week
Elementary School Counseling
Entirely Elementary School Counseling
Free Spirit Publishing
Free Tech 4 Teachers
From the Counselor's Office
Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network
Human Rights Campaign
I Heart Counseling Kids
Julia Cook On-line
JYJ Counselor
Maine School Counselor Association
The Middle School Counselor
National Association for College Admissions Counseling
National Girls Collaborative Project
One Stop Counseling Shop
Positively Elementary School Counseling
The Savvy School Counselor
Scholastic Teachers
School Counseling By Heart
School Counselor Blog
School Counselor Central
The School Counselor's Chronicle
School Counselor Companion
School Counselor Ideas
School Counselor Kind
School Counselors Rock
Scope 4 School Counselors
Skype in the Classroom
Stop Bullying.Gov
Stop Bullying Speak Up
Stylish School Counselor
Teaching Tolerance
Top School Counselor Blogs
Virginia School Counselor Association
Waiting for Superman
Yoga 4 Classrooms

Great Closed Groups:

Elementary School Counselor Exchange
Caught in the Middle


Monday, December 22, 2014

Youthlight, Inc. Book Review - Making the Link: Helping Children Link School Habits with the World of Work

I have to admit that I can be kind of hard on school counseling books, because I informally review and the buy the ones I think are best for the school counselors in my division. I am especially hard on books that support the career domain. However, this book is particularly good! It has a lot of fun activities, it's easy to read and implement, it aligns with the ASCA competencies, it has pre- and post- tests in the chapters for the lessons and it has a CD for reproductables.  What I really like about this book is that it addresses learning styles or modalities...which is extremely important for children to learn. This book is great for the novice or the experienced counselor. 

You can purchase this book on the Youthliight site. It is sure to make you estraordinary!


Thursday, December 18, 2014

YouthLight, Inc. Book Review: School Counselor's Scrapbook

This is the cutest book! It is filled with great ideas for the novice or seasoned school counselor! It is a collection of bulletin board, small group activities, art and crafts and creative props for grades K-6. As with counselors are great at recreating information to make it fit their school's culture. This book provides a great jumping off point to do just that. Use the ideas verbatim or tailor them to your school, either way you cannot go wrong with this book!

Check it out HERE

Be creative AND extraordinary!


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Emotional Literacy


The other week an assistant principal wanted me to review a program for her because she wanted the school counselor to start using it in the school. The program focuses on emotional literacy/identifying feelings and emotions and started as a parent program. The creators then created a version to use in schools.

Here were my comments to the administrator:

"While I understand the concept of the PFF. This is something that can compliment the school counseling program. It also seems to me that this should be reviewed at home. Perhaps your school can implement it for the Standard Based Grading report card with the citizenship portion. Parents could review the components with students at home to build empathy and sympathy.

·      This would really be better as a school-wide program that everyone buys into…like Kelso’s Choices, The Leader in Me, Principles of American Citizenship etc.
      There are too many feelings to review in 20 -30 minutes school counseling lessons. Your counselor would have to abandon her whole program which includes what the school board desires and other required lessons from the state.
      Because there are so many feelings, it would seem better to chunk them over the course of a year for the whole school to practice. 

·     Some of the activities may not be well received for today’s 4th and 5th graders.  Your school counselor may have to revise them to make them “cooler”".

       I would like to think I advocated for the school counselor as well.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Social Thinking

         While looking for school counseling resources, I came across this site and their products. This site is full of strategies for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (high-functioning), social communication disorder, Asperger's, ADHD, nonverbal learning disability (NLD) and similar diagnoses.

"Social thinking is what we do when we interact with people: we think about them. And how we think about people affects how we behave, which in turn affects how others respond to us, which in turn affects our own emotions. Whether we are with friends, sending an email, in a classroom or at the grocery store, we take in the thoughts, emotions and intentions of the people we are interacting with" - taken from site

They have a great book and poster for elementary students called "whole body listening". These products are next on my list of resources to buy! 

Social Thinking 


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

YouthLight, Inc. Book Review: Black Girl Blues

Being a female of African American heritage, I have to admit that when I saw the title of this book I gave it the side-eye...lips pursed to the side and all! However, once I received  and reviewed it, I could see where the author was trying to accomplish. Aligned to the ASCA standards, this small group workbook for African-American girls is all about building self-esteem and acceptance of self in world where negative images saturate today's media. 

This book broaches the topic of intra-racial bullying by African-American girls (grades 6 - 12); and the simple fact that it took someone to write it, means it is a problem for our girls. I know there will be a lot of school counselors of color who feel that this topic does not need to be addressed in schools, but if not in a lunch bunch...then where? By whom? I also know there are a lot of school counselors who are not of color, who may not feel comfortable leading a group with your students about this topic. I say partner up with someone who can help you feel more comfortable when leading the group because it is all about creating self-acceptance and relationship building. 

Check out Author Carolyn Strong at Bullies Stink! and Youthlight, Inc. were you can purchase this book.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Check Out Your Master's Degree +30 Pay Option

At our city-wide elementary meeting last week, I mentioned obtaining CEU's "for those of you who are working on your Master's +30". Out of 80 school counselors about 2/3 of the personnel did not know what I was talking about. I was shocked! So I had to explain and then refer to Human Resources for more information. So this got me thinking about how many other school counselors across the country have no idea that they can obtain another pay increase. So let me break it down for you...

A master's +30 on the pay scale is 30 credits or 10 classes past a master's degree. Historically, master's level teachers who obtained a administrative endorsement, EdS or additional master's qualified for this. Also those teachers who obtained a master's and then went on to obtain a school counseling degree qualified for the master's +30. However, in today's world where the majority of school counselors have never been a teacher, these school counselors are stuck at master's level pay. So there are a couple of options for those of you who wish to increase you annual pay by $500.00 to $1000.00 a year (depending on your school division)
  • Take a mixture of 10 educational based courses
  • Obtain an EdS in counseling (which includes some clinical counseling and no school)
  • Obtain an EdS or endorsement in admistration 

Be sure to check with your human resources department because some have subject/content area stipulations on what counts.

This also sparked another idea that counselor education programs need to create an Advanced Certficate for practicing school counselors who want to obtain a master's +30! They would be advanced school counselor courses only. Universities could join together for a consortium to save on personnel and space costs. I would LOVE to see this happen in the next few years! 

....STAY extraordinary!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Even I'm Doing More with Technology! But There's a Lesson to This Post...

This year, I decided that I would try to simplify my life and use Google Docs for my classroom observations, opposed to hand writing all of them. Part of my job is to observe the school counselors at the 85 schools in my division. I offer feedback as it relates to instruction, assessment and management of students during the school counseling classroom lessons. 

Here is what I look for:

Instruction - Are you prepared? Lesson plan? Opening? Closing? Is it relevant? Easy to follow? Applicable to the grade level or what you deem as the topic?

Assessment - How do you know if the students understood what you just taught? Are you checking for understanding? What formative assessment are you using?

Management - Are the students on task? Engaged? Can you re-direct? Are you calling on all students? Remember, just because students are compliant doesn't mean that they are learning...or that your lesson is effective

Classroom lessons should be thought out, planned and support your program and school's initiatives. No RANDOM ACTS OF Pat Martin (NOSCA) would say! That means don't continue lessons because you like them, or because you are comfortable with them and have been doing them for years. 

True Story: There once was a school counselor who worked for my division. Every lesson consisted of them bringing a keyboard into the classroom, playing a song and having the students sing along. SAY WHAT?! I have no idea what their program was about, how the lessons were relevant. They never provided me with any lesson plans, no annual calendar, no data reports...NADA! One day the principal wanted to know what they could do to increase scores in their building. I stated, "by not letting your school counselor play the keyboard for his lessons."  CRICKETS!!!! The principal quickly redirected the conversation. Luckily, that school counselor retired and they have a much more contemporary one in their place.

Continue to be Extraordinary, People! Don't be the keyboard pushing, song singing, no lesson plan having school counselor! YUCK!


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Book Review: How Are You Peeling? Foods with Moods

OMG!!! A first grade teacher showed me the cutest book when I was observing a school counselor the other week. It's called How Are You Peeling? It's all about foods that naturally form into shapes that look like they are making an expression. Nonetheless, the book goes on to ask the children how are they feeling based on the expression of the food. Too cute! I'm buying one for myself!

Enjoy and be extraordinary!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Places to Find School Counseling Jobs - Part Two

OMG!!! This site is a JACKPOT!!!! I MUST thank my two high school alum back home for turning me on to this site. Shoot! This site is so's got me searching! LOL! 

The site is called SchoolSpring

Check it out and good luck!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Ed Week's Listserv

I think it is important to get the most important topics in the field of education. Sometimes as school counselors we only care about what happens in our own our own building. It helps to be a "big picture" kind of thinker sometimes. Especially if you have a desire to be a department chiar, work in central office, become and administrator or go the professor route. Recently, I subscribed to Education Weekly's listserv and I have enjoyed the emails. I get to read up on pertinent information that may impact school counseling, but moreover, I get FREE professional development information in the form of webinars. It makes me feel good to know that I am adding to my own development. It's so easy to add to yours as well! That's how you become extraordinary!


Thursday, September 11, 2014

FREE Teen Life Magazines for Secondary Counselors


OOHHHHHHH!!!! You know I had to share this! Ya'll know I LOVE me some Teen Life! LOL! 
(I have lived in VA too long! LOL!) Please take advantage of this offer. They have all different types of magazines. This is one of my favorite free resources! So excited!

Teen Life Educator Order



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Book Review: Children's Book about Asperger's

Recently I ordered this book for all the elementary school counselors in my district. This is a wonderful story about a boy, Armond, who attends a friend's birthday party, which is a regular rite of passage for children, except he has Asperger's. The story then follows Armond through the day and how he celebrates the party a little differently from the other children.

This is a wonderful book to share with students who may have a classmate or sibling with Asperger's. You could do this as a stand alone lesson on differences or add it to the end of the another at the request of a teacher. 

Enjoy and be extraordinary!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Places to Find School Counseling Jobs - Part One

If you are looking for a school counseling job for whatever reason (about to graduate, moving, etc), here are two great places to find jobs.

Education Week's Top School Jobs - Here you can find school counseling or education related jobs  from all the world in private, public, charter and other settings. You can create a myriad of search combinations that are just right for you. You can also post a resume and have them send you alerts, so you can see when jobs are posted. 

Higher Ed Jobs - Yes! Believe it or not, they post school counseling jobs on this site. Not as many as the aforementioned site, but they do and most are international. I know a school counselor who was having a hard time finding a job in Virginia, so she took a job in Dubai for a year! This job site follows the same premise as above.

Good luck and be extraordinary!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Book Review: Great Book for IEP/504 Strategies/RTI


If you have ever experienced one of those times when you have just run out of ideas on new strategies because the old tried and true ones just are not working with certain students, then do I have a book recommendation for you!

The School Counseling and School Social Work Treatment Planner is what you need and what you'll want. It's not too mental health to scare off the educators and just enough education that is supports the "counselor" in school counselor. 

Inside you will find:
  • Behavioral Definitions
  • Long-term Goals
  • Short-Term Objectives
  • Therapeutic Interventions
  • Diagnostic Suggestions 
Topics range from Anxiety to Bullying Perpetrator; from School Phobia to Suicide Ideation. 

It's a little pricey at $50.00, but it is totally worth it! 


Saturday, August 23, 2014

School Counselors! Here is your last chance to win FREE stuff...Ready to Use Social Skills for MS!

 Email me at for your chance to win them!