Monday, June 30, 2014

Branding and Marketing

Sitting in Jeff Ream and Jeremy Goldman's session at American School Counseling Association Conference in Orlando,  Florida getting lots of ideas to brand and market my counseling program!

"Make that connection between what your clients want and what your clients need." I need to know what my community and school need from me and not just assume I know what they need.

Jeff and Jeremy wrote The Four D's article for the ASCA magazine and is a great starting point as you gather information on branding and marketing. The Four D's include: Define, Design, Deploy, and Determine.

Jeff made a great point when he said we often have great ideas but when it's time to deploy we often say "Now what??" HA! This is so me!

Great session but not enough time! The video below went along with the session.

Monday, June 23, 2014


Looking back at my first year as a middle school counselor there are definitely some things I will do differently next year. Usually when I reflect I think about the things I want to change first but this time I wanted to discuss things that went well and things I want to start next year.

Bird cage - I bought a cheap little bird cage and placed it outside my door. This is where my students wrote a note to let me know they needed to see me especially if I am away form my office or with someone. I can look up their schedule and find time to pull them from a class to see me. This worked great and will definitely continue using this.

Google Circle - The 7th and 8th grade students were able to add me to their Google Circle and I was able to share school information, videos, and quotes with them. If anyone needed a quick answer to a question without being pulled from class they were able to chat with me.

Community Involvement - I was very fortunate to work with some great community volunteers this past year. One church organization will be collecting school supplies for next year after we met and talked about the real needs of our students. Another church is going to sponsor our food backpack program where students receive enough food for the weekend.

Coffee with the Counselor - I want to start this next year for parents, guardians, and grandparents to come in and meet with me.

What's on your agenda for next year?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Military Kids

Arkansas has done a great job of helping students whose parent or parents are in the military by providing resources to the families and schools. In 2012 The Arkansas Coalition for Military Children was created.

The mission statement of ACMC is to develop and sustain a process to support children and youth of military families who have served or are currently serving our nation. There are over 18,000 military children in Arkansas today.

Military include Active Duty, Arkansas National Guard (Army and Air) and Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine and Coast Guard Reserve children. Arkansas National Guard and Reserve families live, work, and contribute to their communities but typically live far from military bases.

Five stages of deployment have been identified and school counselors are asked to share these with their faculty.

Pre-deployment - family is notified that member will be deployed, several weeks to a year in advance.
  • General shock and disbelief; security, and safety of family feels shattered.
  • May feel like soldier is already "psychologically deployed".
Deployment Phase - from the time the soldier leaves home through the first month of deployment.
  • Mixed emotions - may include feeling abandoned, angry, sad, numb, and relieved.
Sustainment - from the first through next-to-the-last month of deployment.
  • Majority of families reach a "new normal" and resume life with renewed resiliency and hope.
  • Level of adjustment varies from family to family, and from child to child; families with multiple pre-existing problems and/or troubled family members are at a higher risk for adjustment problems.
Pre-reunion - the month before soldier is scheduled to return home.
  • Mixed emotions - excitement, anticipation, and apprehension.
  • Unrealistically high or low expectations.
Reunion - typically lasts 3 to 6 months, beginning when soldier returns home.
  • Initially reunion is experienced with euphoria and joy for many families.
  • Family structure and roles will need to be renegotiated because all family members will have changed.
  • Child's response depends on age; may display significant anxiety for up to a year.
Educator Update: Advocating for Military Children:

Free tutoring for military families:

Discussion of tough topics and helping children cope:

Scholarships for military youth:

Student Online Achievement Resources designed for military families:

Arkansas specific information and announcements for military children:

"A Paper Hug" Stephanie Skolmoski
ISBN: 0-9786425-0-3

"Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings" 2nd Edition
Kenneth R. Ginsberg, MD, MS Ed, FAAP
Published by the American Academy of Pediatrics
ISBN: 978-158110-551-3

"Helping Children Grieve and Grow: A Guide for Those Who Care" Donna O'Toole with Jere Cory
Compassion Books, Inc.

"When Dinosaurs Die: A Guide to Understanding Death" Dino Tales: Life Guides for Families
Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown
Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: 978-0316-10917 (hardback)
ISBN: 978-0316-11955-9 (paperback)

"You and Your Military Hero: Building Positive Thinking Skills During Your Hero's Deployment" Sara Jenson-Fritz, MS, Psy.S.
Paula Jones-Johnson,  BSW, M.Ed
Thea L. Zitrow, M.Ed
Beaver's Pond Press, Inc.
ISBN: 1-59298-268-9

Monday, June 2, 2014

Okay, folks I know it's been several days since I posted but I had to play GiGi to my precious granddaughter who had her tonsils and adenoids removed. I love being a GiGi!

School is out for my kiddos but I will be working on and off this summer preparing student schedules. How many of you work on student schedules? It is incredible the things you learn on the job and not in school. I personally do not mind working on the schedules because it helps me to fit students with the right teachers and classes. If I can help them be successful then I've done my job!

Here are things I have to do to have student schedules ready:

1. My principal creates the majority of the master schedule. She has to look at what positions we have or need. She is great at doing this by the way and wants my input on what I think will work. There are of course those situations where we have to have things a certain way. For example, I am at a rural school with 1500 students in the district. My middle school is 6-8 has to share some teachers at the high school. We have a couple of coaches we share as well as the choir and band teachers. High school usually has to have their senior basketball and football periods toward the end of the day which leaves us with morning or just after lunch.

2. I have all students complete their registration forms before school is out. We require parents to sign the form and this will save you time and energy when a problem pops up!

3. Our 6th grade students have a rotation period which includes: art, PE, health, and technology. They only electives they have to select from are band or choir and this makes their schedules are pretty easy to create.

4. The 7th and 8th grade students have many electives to select from:

Wildlife Management
Boys or Girls Athletics
Physical Education
Automation and Robotics
Design and Modeling
Science of Technology
Magic of Electrons
Medical Detectives
Technology Tools

Some of these classes are year long while others are semester.

5. There are students that need an additional reading or math skills class as well. We test all students at the end of the year to see if they are lacking any skills that would make it difficult for them to be successful.

6. I collect information from our special education teachers to what the needs are of students with disabilities as well. We do have some students that need additional resource classes.

7. Our school uses eSchool which after I input all the requests can run a "Simple Tally" and this will show me how many students are signed up for each class. There is much more than just this but I wanted to keep it as simple as possible.

8. Then I PRAY before running the "Schedule Students" and hopefully all students will be in a class every period!

I love this picture that Carol Miller used on her Blog!