Monday, September 9, 2013

Introduction to the School Counselor

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
To introduce my role to the younger students, I used the ever-popular Mrs. Potato Head role comparison lesson from Pinterest. As a group we moved through the jobs of my eyes, hands, ears (here I discussed confidentiality), etc. I think every class also pointed out that Mrs. Potato Head has blonde hair, not "orange" like mine. :)

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? 


  1. Excellent post! I'm always interested to see what other multi-building counselors are doing. I can't wait to read about your survey software. I think I'm going to use Google Forms this year.

    Way to be intentional and set the professional school counselor role in motion.

    I just posted a brief mini-lesson, for introducing myself to my K-2nd graders, over at The Helpful Counselor:


  2. Erin, is there ANY WAY that you can email me this needs assessment!? I am not good at using surveys and I would love to use this for my building this year!
    Thank you!