Not only am I a new school counselor, but I am a new school counselor within a district that has not had elementary school counselors for 8+ years! In order to get both students and staff acquainted with my role, I implemented a variety of things.
Needs Assessment for School Staff
Using some ideas from The Helpful Counselor Blog, I created an online Needs Assessment using Qualtrics. (I used Qualtrics in grad school, and honestly feel that it is the best research/survey tool out there! Hoping to write a future post on the tool.) I emailed the Needs Assessment link to teachers at all three of my buildings, along with a short introduction. The teachers and staff who responded provided me with some great insight and feedback to better direct my goals for the year! Also, it was a great way to get into a "data-driven" mindset from the get-go!
Below is an example of one of the questions I asked of teachers & staff:
Grades K-2 Introduction Lesson
I wrapped up the lesson by reading The Way I Feel by Janan Cain. Throughout the book we discussed how I work with students who are experiencing a multitude of feelings--even more than one feeling at the same time! Young students really seem to love this book and the vibrant colors used for each feeling.
Grades 3-5 Introduction Lesson
I wanted to do something more interactive for the upper grades. After I introduced myself and discussed my role, I really emphasized that as a new school counselor to each school, I needed to know what third, fourth, and fifth graders need! Using large posterboard, I created three posters that read: 1. What do you hope to learn this year? 2. What do you need to be successful? 3. What can I do to help you? We moved through each question together and students responded using post-it notes. To keep students moving and engaged, I chose different people for each question to collect the post-its and place them on the corresponding poster. Below are a few examples of the posters, as well as individual student responses:
What did I do with all these post-its afterwards, you might ask? Might I say again, DATA! Although time-consuming, I read through all responses, and tallied them within specific categories. Afterwards, I combined the responses into grade level, and plan to use these responses to steer my services for the year! Furthermore, some post-it note responses raised some flags for me, and I was able to return to the specific teacher and talk about potential individual work with that student.
In all, I completed almost 60 Intro Lessons between my three buildings! Exhausting, but well worth it to have students not only put a name with a new face in the building, but to also understand my role!
What introductory lessons have you used that worked well?