Saturday, February 28, 2015

Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute Inc.

I don't know how I found this organization, but I love it. They provide a free 60 minute webinar every month and it comes with a certificate at the end for professional development points. They also sell manuals and videos. Moreover they have FREE handouts and articles on topics that school counselors need!  They are great go-to resources when facing a crisis. 

These are the topics below:

Burnout, Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma Assessment
Conflict Overview
Coping with Traumatic Stress
Crisis Response Checklist
Critical Incident Information for Those Impacted
Distinguishing Suicide Attempts from Self-Injury
Finding a Qualified Counselor
Helping Children Through Conflict
Helping your Child After a Crisis
LGBTQ – Language and Terms
Possible Reactions to Trauma
Rating your Workplace Violence Risk Level
Recognizing an Eating Disorder
Self-Injury Behavior – How to Help
Self-Injury Behavior Overview
Self-Injury Warning Signs
Suicide Warning Signs
The Relationship Between Mental Illness and Addictions
Trauma Symptoms – Children and Adolescents
Types of Trauma
Understanding Dissociation
Violence Threat Assessment Flow Chart
When Substance Use by Youth Becomes Substance Abuse
Workplace Violence Risk Factors

I hope you can utilize this resource!  Enjoy!!!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Great RTI Site

For those of you who work with RTI approach, you may have or may have not seen the site Inverntion Central. This site is a geared towards Common Core Standards, but as with everything in education, we take what we can use and/or modify the rest. They have a ton of resources to help struggling learners...interventions, blogs, videos, downloads, etc. This site is sure to help anyone when working with Response to Intervention.

Intervention Central


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Questions ALL School Counselor Interviewees Should Ask at the End of an Interview

Many of you have read from earlier posts that part of my job entails interviewing school counselor candidates. I have had the opportunity to interview for school based positions when I was a department chair, at division job fairs, for grant positions and I have also assisted principals when trying to fill their building positions. The questions are all the same for all interviewees (they have to be per HR regulations). Usually there are 2 or more school system employees conducting the interviews. Some principals like to conduct a final interview if they were not part of the initial interview. A lot of times SC interviewees ask questions based on school report cards and that is fine, sometimes they ask the generic question, what do you expect of the school counselor?..and you get answers to work on time, see students, assist parents, etc. All the things you already know. Sometimes they don't ask questions at all. However, here are some questions you NEED TO ASK, in order for you to understand the building culture and the expectations that the principal may have for their school counselors.

  1. What professional development opportunities are available for school counselors? Better yet...are there funds for school counselor professional development? Some school divisions have a built in program, some do not. Some schools have monies to send you to a conference. Some do not and everything is on you. You need to ask.
  2. Who supervises school counselors in the building? Sometimes it is an assistant principal or the principal in the building, perhaps it is a department chair. Someone need to find out who it is.
  3. Is there a school counseling district coordinator? Some school divisions have them. Some do not. Some school counselors are supervised by coordinators in other disciplines. need to find out.
  4. What responsibilities are given to school counselors when it comes to testing? This is HUGE! Some school counselors are the End of Grade testing coordinators, some are proctors, some are testing administrators. Some school counselors give IQ tests, some are responsible for the PSAT or AP program. You need to find out because you may be the same one complaining that you did not know the job required these specific duties. 
  5. Are school counselors allowed to sponsor clubs or coach sports? Again, if this is something that is important to you, then you need to ask.
  6. Does the school counselor create their own classroom guidance schedule or is it created for them? I am seeing more and more elementary school counselors being built into the master schedule as a resource period. This format limits your availability for responsive services. You need to be prepared for this.
  7. Are school counselors allowed to provide classroom guidance? Groups? This is more of a secondary question. Some administrators do not wish for instruction to be interrupted, but they want college and career readiness or social skills or bullying prevention. Crazy, huh?
  8. What secondary or school based roles is the school counselor responsible for? 504 chair, special ed chair, volunteer coordinator, partners in education lead, hospitality chair, leadership team member, etc? You should want to know this because this is going to alter the time you can dedicate to your comprehensive school counseling program and may give you additional duties.
Now this is not to say that you should not take the job if offered, for I know SC interviews are far and few between and actual offers are less than that in some areas of the country. However, you need to go into a position knowing as much as you can so you can properly plan before the new school year starts  and begin to advocate for yourself.

Hope these helped!


Sunday, February 22, 2015

In Times of Need, Remember Your Training...

As a school counseling coordinator, I subscribe to a lot of SC communication forums. I may not comment that much, but I am always assessing what I read and see. Which brings me to my first point. 

I know that it can be difficult being new, being then only counselor, being the only counselor who wants to abide by the ASCA model, etc. I get it. I understand it. I mentor and provide supervision for school counselors all the time. What I do notice however, is that an overwhelming amount of the comments or posts on these forums could easily be resolved by collaborating and consulting with other counselors in your department, with your district supervisor or your school nurse, social worker or psychologist in your building....when I say this, I mean the suicidal ideations, the self injuring behaviors, the pregnancies, the sexual explorations and relations and dealing with the rights of LGBTQ students. What are your school division's best practices? It's fine to solicit advice and assistance from the thousands of school counselors in the general viewing area about programming, resources and tools, but one must not forget that every one's school board policy is not the same (my second point). You must remember to filter the information you receive and utilize what is applicable to your rules and regulations that you work with.

My second point. As a practicing school counselor it is IMPERATIVE that you learn how to access your school board policy and practice interpreting it. Review ambiguous policy with your district supervisor, department chair or building administrator. Policy is the reason why things happen the way the do in school divisions. My policy maybe different from your policy and for me to give you advice based on my policy can have a negative impact on your career. That's why it is so important to collaborate and consult (those concepts of the ASCA Model we learned in graduate school) with those in your district first and then all others, second. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Accredited On-line Colleges

Ever needed a site that has all of the on-line colleges in one spot? Well the team at accredited online colleges have catalogued and created a database of every major college program from all accredited colleges in the U.S. that offers both full or partial online course options. Their database provides the students insight to key information across a vast amount of programs offered online. Now, anyone has the opportunity to pursue a degree in the program of their choice and is no longer limited to those that are only offered in their area.

Check it out!

Accredited On-line Colleges

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Eating Disorder Resources

As school counselors there are times where we may come across students with eating disorders. Unfortunately, the majority of us do not know enough about this area to treat students suffering from this disorder, nor should we...for this is beyond the scope of a school counselor. However, that does not mean that we cannot learn about the topic or provide information for others. Besides, learning about eating disorders can assist us as well as the students when they return to school with their treatment plans.

Educator Toolkit

Eating Disorder Pamphlet

Eating Disorder Foundation

Videos and Webinars

Teen's Health Site

...learning is always extraordinary!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Math Tutor Website

What student doesn't struggle with math at some point and time? What parent doesn't contact the school counselor to seek help in regards to finding a math tutor? Here is the answer...Free Math This site has 6 areas, a calculator page, a game page and lastly...a forum page. It's a great site to assist students.

Free Math Help

Friday, February 13, 2015

Just Ask College Workbook

If you haven't seen this FREE workbook for juniors and Seniors, please download NOW! It is sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and it is a 30 page pdf workbook to assist students with their college planning. 

Which College is Right for You?


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Social Emotional Learning

CASEL is the Collaborative for Social and Emotional Learning. They believe that "social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions". 

Their competencies align so well with what school counselors do in the their comprehensive school counseling programs, it's hard to understand why school counselor would not utilize their resources. 



The Boy Game - Male Bullying

A few months ago, a colleague came to me and asked if a certain video she was thinking of purchasing would be good for the school counselors to show students. It was The Boy Game. I immediately said YES! The Boy Game is about male bullying and the culture of toughness that goes with it. To see a glimpse of the video, click the link below. It's a great add to any district library or media services.

The Boy Game