Back to School Connecting– Linky Party!

Franciene Sabens from School Counselor Space blog, has put together this very information Linky Party.  There are lots of good questions here, so make sure to follow this Linky along!
School doesn’t officially start for student until Friday, September 9th.  Teachers start back two days earlier.  I work an addition 20 days in the summer, and I have already worked 9.  I will work one day the first week of August and then I will be back for the last two weeks to finish up the rest.

This will be my second year at this middle school.  I am hoping to run a few more groups and incorporate more career counseling.  I have plans to run a study skills program and start the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Kids as well.  Ughhhh. . .this is a tough question, because I have LOTS of goals.
I introduce myself to all the new students in our PAWS (Positive Attitude Winning Strategies) classes.  Although I do not teach these classes, I work closely with the teachers and at the beginning of the year, the kids take a tour of my space and I introduce myself and my role in the building. For returning students, I just bother them during lunch! (It’s OK; they love it!)

I can’t live without my computer, my iPad, and a good printer.  I don’t have many store bought items, but I can look online, find something I like and copy!  I make my own games, books, posters, promotional materials, and documents.  I need a good printer, because without one, I wouldn’t be able to make my own stuff, and without the computer, I wouldn’t be able to create.  My iPad is a luxury, but it allows me to make movies of the kids, take lots of pictures of what I do (great for both the kids and administrators) and show little video snippets for lessons.

My 3 tips for delivering school counseling curriculum are:
  1.  Start with a plan of what you want to accomplish.
  2. Create a counseling calendar.  This calendar should include everything.  From Open House nights, to Transition events, report card distribution, trips, groups, events (like Mix It Up Days) and also the time to put together these items.  For example report cards. . .don’t just mark off when they go home, but included when you need to send notices to teachers about the due dates, when envelopes need to be stuffed, when you are going to write your newsletter to include, etc.  This calendar needs to be comprehensive.  Don’t forget to give a copy to your administration and your secretary or clerical staff.
  3. Publicize your program to teachers, administration, and parents.  I always send fliers to teachers in the beginning of the year of my goals for the year and as I come close to the time I want to implement a program I go to team meetings and personally tell them when I plan to start.  For really big events, I invite them to become a part of the planning process.
My newsletters are the most successful method of sharing information to parents.  For 8th grade parents, I do a 8th to 9th grade planning meeting and schedule each parent.  8th grade parents love that!  And, they all show up to their meetings.  My iMovies and slideshows are great for administration.  It shows exactly what I do and the kids having a good time while learning.  I make them for every Mix It Up Day, Lunch Bunch Group, or event I have.

I stay organized, because I have a good plan going into the year.  I also have been a school counselor so long, that I have a great sense of what needs to be done when.  I also don’t hold onto a lot of stuff.  I throw things away when I am done with them.  I clean out my files all the time.  My files are color coded and sorted into categories and are clearly labeled.  My desk always has one little pile on it of all the important “to do” things.  I also have Binders for everything.  A have a binder that holds my schedule, one for each grade level team, one for scheduling, one for transition, one for my local counseling organization, etc. 

So that’s it.    Remember if you’re not a blogger you can still join in the conversation by leaving a comment below or on The Middle School Counselor Facebook page.

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