Jumping into my first “Linky Party”
My contract is based on the teacher’s pay and time scale, but I do have an extra 15 days on top of the normal requirement of teachers (paid of course, at my daily rate). I will be heading back on August 15th to get things ready to go for our orientation for the new freshmen class on August 20th, and kicking off school on the 28th (I think)? Now only to remember what I did in August last year…
I have not created my professional growth goals for this year yet, so this may be a good brainstorming session. Some goals that come immediately to mind are: improve the channels of communication between parents, students, and the school. Specifically, I would like to foster the relationship between the school and our lower socio-economic and Hispanic families. Another big goal of mine is to improve study skills. I (this will be covered in a future blog post) am kicking off a large campaign to increase the time spent studying across the board, called the “1 to 2”. I am hoping to enact a cultural shift that creates an expectation that all students spend at least 1 to 2 hours minimum per night studying and doing homework. In my experience, many students do not understand the difference between doing homework and studying. Some will get work done at school and not go home and do anything related to school, then wonder why they fail their midterms…
1. My computer (specifically, things like Google Apps (email, docs, etc.).
2. My registrar (who has left me…but our new registrar should learn the ropes quickly) – she was my almost 2nd counselor and helped me tremendously.
3. ScheduleOnce – I wrote a blog post about this scheduling software, but being an only counselor and not having a dedicated secretary, I need to organize my time effectively. This tool allows students and parents to request time slots for appointments and syncs it with my Google Calendar.
Having only done it once before at my site, I imagine it will be pretty similar. I usually hold grade level meetings and introduce myself, my services, and some of the basics around what needs an appointment, what you can barge in and see me about, and when are my “open office hours”. I also hold parent meetings to introduce the program and important dates they will need to know about.
Hands down – Mail Chimp. Another thing that I have blogged about in the past (and actually did a video webinar during our School Counseling On Air (SCOA) series during National School Counseling Week. This free newsletter tool is very feature packed, allows families to sign up to receive the news letters, and I can customize them by grade level to provide the most relevant content to each stakeholder. Another post that I wrote regarding sharing information is called the Keys to Communication.
1. Utilize your connections. Find out who is willing to give or share time with you. See if you can integrate the content you want to get to students with the content they are trying to teach. I use my English department a lot. When talking about college, they can use literary tools in a practice college application essay.
2. Keep it relevant and short. Students are already learning for 6+ hours a day and their attention spans or usually limited to less than 30 minutes (or what shows up on their phones as text messages or snap chats).
3. Plan out a calendar as best as you can. Having things setup in advance is helpful to all parties. Teachers can plan around know you are coming into their classroom and you are able to ensure you are all prepped and ready to use their time effectively.
I have to make an effort. I tend to pile and usually end up with piles (where I know where things are at, of course) on my desk that usually stay for about 3 weeks before I get fed up, purge or find a better place for it, and start over. My goal is to have as little on my desk as possible. I have filing cabinets where I keep lots of stuff but my key is trying to do as much digital file storage as possible. I can easily keep things organized with they are on my computer. Using things like Google Drive and Dropbox, I have neatly organized folders that are accessible from anywhere with an internet connection (including my phone).
Again, check out how to join this Linky Party here: School Counselor Space