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!