Our school is officially a RAMP (Recognized ASCA Model Program) school, and it feels SO good!
1- Have Your Principal’s Support
I cannot express how valuable this was for our team. First of all, our principal understood what RAMP was and wanted us to be the first high school in our county to receive this recognition. Once he was on board in this way, he asked us what we needed from him.
He took away testing. This was already a push from our district, but I think he was even more on board once we were freed up to do more things like small groups, crisis response, attendance interventions all producing data (talk your admin’s language!).
Our principal supported going off campus for a day as we finalized our application. The school didn’t burn down without us there for one day, and it was so important to have that uninterrupted time. We went to a “co-work” space that a friend of mine graciously lent us with wireless internet and an expo marker board. It was probably our most productive day.
2- Purchase the Book “ASCA National Model: 4th Edition”
This will be a life saver as you work through each of the 12 sections of RAMP. It will tell you common pitfalls and DOs and DON’Ts. We had this with us EVERY time we worked on our pieces as a group, and it definitely got passed along to each counselor throughout the process.
3- Be Sure Your Whole Team is On Board
You cannot do this alone. (I guess unless you’re a one-man/woman team… then I’m sorry– I guess you’re doing it alone.) It’s a lot of work. You can really play up your team’s individual strengths here. We each were leaders of sections we were most confident in, and everyone fell in line behind the leader. Half of the battle of the entire process is understanding what each section is asking you for. (This is sort of a combined #2 and #3.) When you all go in blindly, no one knows what’s going on. We found we wasted a lot of time just trying to figure out what was going on! The leader of the section can study up and do research on WHAT you’re supposed to be doing/answering and make it make sense to everyone else.
4- Google Drive Will Be Your Best Friend
We stored templates, documents, links, PDFs, videos, pictures, and written narratives here. When we would sit down to work together or edit, we would all open up the same page. Someone would read aloud, someone would edit, and we would all give our critiques and feedback. It was a very helpful system especially because the whole RAMP application is online in a digital format.
5- Give Yourself Time to Submit the Application At the End
There are so many pieces to upload! We really did work until the last minute, and we stayed much later the evening we actually submitted than we imagined. Look at the application online ahead of time before your submission day so you don’t miss anything big and cause need for panic.
We really bettered our school counseling program through our application process, and I think we are thankful for the time we spent doing it. (Honestly probably more thankful for the final pat on the back at the end!) I will probably have more reflection in the coming months, but this is my initial reaction to the process as I think back to what helped make us successful through it all. Good luck to those who have been working this year and who will apply this year!