7 High School Counselors Share Their Inspiring Wins [Episode 121]


Here's What to Expect in This Episode:

I’ve said it before, but this time of year is one of the most stressful with graduation, wrapping up the school year, and so many other things that consume your school day. That’s why I wanted to take a moment and reflect on your year and, more importantly, the success you’ve had throughout the school year. To help celebrate, seven other high school counselors are sharing their counselor wins with our community.

As each high school counselor shared their counselor wins, I was amazed by the number of wonderful things happening in counseling programs. After listening to each counselor, they all hit on the different aspects of high school counseling, such as data, interns, students, advocating for your role, and new programs or groups.

We do so much as high school counselors that we often don’t realize or take the time to reflect on the positive and successful things happening in our program or with our students. By having other high school counselors share their counselor wins, I hope you, too, will hear something that sparks an idea that would be celebratory in your program.

Topics Covered in This Episode:

  • The importance of celebrating your own counselor wins and the impact it can have on your motivation
  • 7 high school counselors share their own wins and successes from the school year
  • How data can influence administrators and why interns can help you accomplish more 
  • Ways to get ideas to improve or tweak your own counseling program and celebrate its success

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Read the transcript for this episode:

Lauren Tingle 0:00
You are listening to Episode 121 of High School Counseling Conversations. If you’re listening to this, and you’re hoping to move into a new high school counseling role, or you’re a curious elementary or middle school counselor ready to take the leap into high school, you are in the right place.

Lauren Tingle 0:18
First, I hope that you could go back and find some podcast episodes back in the backlogs and archives of High School Counseling Conversations that can give you a good feel for high school counseling in general and just encourage you that you’re moving in the right direction, if this is the leap that you’re going to choose.

Lauren Tingle 0:36
Next, I want you to grab this free video training series to get ready for your interviews. And it’ll come right to your inbox. It’s really easy to do. Head to counselorclique.com/interviews, so that you can go into your interviews with confidence.

Lauren Tingle 0:50
And speaking of confidence, in fact, I just got an email this week from Fran, that said, your videos and interviewing podcast were awesome, extremely helpful to me in prepping for the interviews. Good news is I made it to round two of interviews. So take it from Fran, head to counselorclique.com/interview so that you can get ready to say yes to your dream job. I know it’s coming down the pipeline for you.

Lauren Tingle 1:14
Now let’s get into this week’s episode. I post on social media sent an email a couple times to my email list and said, Hey, tell me something that you’re proud of this school year. Because we might be getting to a place where the days are dreary, it’s a long time until another break in the school year. You know, you’ve got those ups and downs that are happening every day, and maybe more downs than ups right now, if we’re being honest.

Lauren Tingle 1:41
I wanted to provide an encouraging space where you could hear from other high school counselors about good things that are going on in the building, it might be hard for you to dig deep and find those wins and find the celebratory moments. So I wanted you to hear from some people in the greater high school counseling community who could lift you up if you needed that.

Lauren Tingle 2:02
I also felt like their ideas, were really cool to hear the things that they were celebrating. I hope that by hearing some of these counselors ideas that maybe you would get some ideas of your own or you would hear something that would spark an idea where you could change something, tweak something and come up with something that would be so celebratory in your program as well.

Lauren Tingle 2:23
Now I know every school is different, the dynamics are different, the level of administrative involvement is different. And your student populations are obviously different. There will be things that I will share and our high school counseling community friends in this episode will share that will feel really out of the realm of something you’d be able to do in your school. But I don’t want you to write that off just yet. I want you to listen, be inspired and think what can I take from this or let me just celebrate alongside them.

Lauren Tingle 2:53
Because let me tell you, it takes a bold person to leave a voice memo and put their voice out there for everybody to hear. So thank you to those who contributed to this episode, you mean a lot and we wouldn’t have an episode without you. So you will hear your voices shared right here on the podcast.

Lauren Tingle 3:18
I hope you walk away encouraged and uplifted by what others have going on in their high school counseling programs. Here’s how this episode is gonna go. I’m gonna play a clip, we’re going to talk about it a little bit and then we’ll go into the next one and we have a few to share. So let’s get to the first clip. First up, we’re going to hear from Daniel from California.

Daniel 4:11
Hey, hey, this is Daniel Garcia from Tulare, California. One of my big wins this year was doing a series of four lessons on self efficacy and grit. It was my first time with a couple of interns doing this. And you know, nerve racking as it is we saw some great results, you know, grit was increased by .34% self efficacy we saw .91%

Daniel 4:41
But we also focused on students who had some low grades and at least one grade of each of the students you know 91% that was increased from a D or an F to a C or better, two grades was 64% and so 60% for three grades. It was a big task, but totally worth it. And we were able to share with the board and the district and show how effective these groups were. So that would be my big win for this year.

Lauren Tingle 5:15
First of all, I love how he capitalized on having interns, we often forget that interns can be so valuable to bring new energy and ideas into our program. Now, you might not have the energy to manage or give feedback to an intern right now. And that’s okay.

Lauren Tingle 5:32
But I want you to put it in the back of your mind to think about having an intern in your school counseling department one day, and maybe you being the one to supervise them, you might be thinking, I don’t have the expertise or the knowledge to supervise an intern, okay, well, they have no knowledge and no expertise. So you just being a tiny bit ahead of them is enough. If you have to go put your name in a bucket so that you can get an intern at some point, I would really encourage you to go do that.

Lauren Tingle 6:01
You will be challenged as an educator and as a professional, to be able to give feedback good and bad to somebody who’s coming up in the counseling profession. And it’ll grow you and push you outside of your comfort zone to have an intern.

Lauren Tingle 6:15
And then not only that, but you’re also just pouring into the next generation of high school counselors. This might reignite a flame that has gone dim a little bit for you, just to hear about new things in the high school counseling world or new practices and new ideas that they’re bringing in from grad school into that real world application, you could be the person to guide them and help them along their way and play a part in their journey to becoming a high school counselor. So I’d be remiss if I did not talk about having an intern because there is a lot of value in that.

Lauren Tingle 6:49
Also, something that I don’t want to forget to say is that interns can multiply the amount of stuff that you can get done in a day. And so that’s what we’re hearing from Daniel here with his opportunity to get to go impact more students in his school. Because of having an intern.

Lauren Tingle 7:06
I know things like grit and self efficacy can just feel like buzzwords in theory. But when we put those into practice, in our high school counseling program, the impact that can be made on our students can go far and wide. These are characteristics that we want our students to take with them when they leave our school building. So maybe this has already been something you’ve established as a department when you think of your mission and vision that you want your students to be contributing members of society.

Lauren Tingle 7:35
Because of these characteristics that they have. I feel like grit and self efficacy are two of those that really stand out these days that we want our students to be independent, we want them to be able to solve problems and go out on their own and be independent adults, independent young adults who can thrive in their workplace settings in their family and friends and relationships settings like that is endless, of what we feel in terms of how we want them to go be successful. So I’m thankful that Daniel and his team were focusing on those sort of characteristics that they want to see improved with their students.

Lauren Tingle 8:11
Really importantly, though, I think it’s really neat that he had so much data that showed the increase in the grades for the students. So what really stood out to me that he said 91% increase from a D or an F to a C or better. Now, if that’s not compelling data to an administrator, or like he said, a school board or a district then I don’t know what is.

Lauren Tingle 8:34
Grades are really easy to measure. There is a definite number percentage on paper that can show us what I did effective. Okay, yeah, there are probably a lot of other things that went into that, that may have affected that student’s grades. But okay, we cannot deny they were failing the class. And now they’re passing and moving forward to people who care about graduation, right. And let’s be real, that’s a lot of the higher ups in the high school world. That is huge.

Lauren Tingle 9:04
It is showing that an intervention that a counselor or counseling team is doing is effective. I mean, you can’t you cannot lie about those numbers. I love that. So if you have goals that you can answer with data, those goals are tied to either your school counseling department or the school’s greater goals, like as a whole, and administrators are really keen and tuned in to what you’re doing. That is compelling. They’re going to keep letting you do small groups or pulling students from classes.

Lauren Tingle 9:36
I could talk on data and the effectiveness of just changing a administrators perception of you and what you do and what your role is. I can talk about that all day. I have talked about it in previous podcast episodes. So I’ll link to some past data episodes that I have and some past data blog posts that I think will be helpful for you to read if you want to dive a little bit deeper into why data is import and where to start with it.

Lauren Tingle 10:01
I’ll also put a free resource of places that you can dig for data in your school counseling program and in your school, that’s probably already there, you just need to uncover it. Maybe that’ll give you some inspiration to go into the data mining world. But hopefully hearing Daniel talk about how data was so compelling within his program would give you some inspiration, as you’re celebrating with him the winds that his students are experiencing because of things that their high school counselors are putting into practice. I hope that that would inspire you to go out and use your data to create something new and interesting and exciting in your school.

Lauren Tingle 10:42
Next up, let’s listen to Erica from Wyoming as she shares her win from this school year.

Erica 10:48
Hey all, this is Erica. My counseling win this year is growing relationships with my co counselors, my registrar and my secretary in the office. This is my second year at the high school. And we’ve just are getting continuing to get to know each other and growing and just really have had a lot of fun this year. So the second semester has been probably the best. And I’m just excited to see how things continue to go. Thanks.

Erica 10:48
Thank you, Erica for acknowledging the relationships between co counselors, registrar, secretary in your workplace so that we can reflect on what that looks like on our side and in our schools.

Lauren Tingle 11:04
I know these relationships might seem secondary or just not as important as your relationship with your students, you’ve probably spent a lot of time nurturing either your alphabet caseload or your grade level that you’re moving with through high school because those relationships with your students and families are so important and you enjoy them. That’s the bulk of what you’re doing. That’s why you’re here. That’s why you’re doing this.

Lauren Tingle 11:55
But those people that you mentioned, Erica, the co-counselors, your registrar, your secretary, those are people who are gatekeepers of information, they are important vital parts of your team, and of your every day. So you said Erica, that you are in year two, year one, you’re probably just getting your bearings, you’re trying to survive, keep your head above water. So year two, to me feels like a great time to continue nurturing those relationships.

Lauren Tingle 12:23
I love this win as something that you shared because it’s not necessarily quantifiable. Like, we didn’t have the data that Daniel had from his, but it’s definitely impactful for your everyday job satisfaction. I don’t know about you all, but I want to be friends with the people that I work with, or at least be cordial, at least feel like I like to show up every day to work with this team of people.

Lauren Tingle 12:48
So I would be terrified to be solo, I give a major shout out to anyone who is working as a solo high school counselor who doesn’t have the people to lean on as part of a team. But remember, it doesn’t just have to be co counselors like she mentioned the secretary other people in the building that you just interact with all day every day. Those are people that are valuable to nurture relationships with.

Lauren Tingle 13:11
If you have not listened to it already, I’ll link back to an older episode that I did a few months ago with Blake Blankenbecler. She talked about friendships in the workplace. And it was probably one of my favorite episodes to date.

Lauren Tingle 13:26
What if we went to work to not only just enjoy it, but work was actually really fun because of the people that we got to work with? So props to Erica for nurturing those relationships. And thank you for taking a few minutes to acknowledge out loud and remind us that our workplace relationships can be really meaningful and really special.

Lauren Tingle 13:49
Next up let’s hear from Jenny from Michigan.

Jenny 13:53
I am so excited that we are going to be getting another counselor added to our team. I’ve been advocating for so long for more support. And I feel like our push and our hard work and our advocacy has finally been heard.

Lauren Tingle 14:51
Okay, I can hear the excitement in Jenny’s voice and I just want to jump up and down with her. Adding another counselor to the team is incredible. It’s awesome that it comes from a place of hard earned advocacy efforts.

Lauren Tingle 15:04
I’m sure that did not happen overnight. You probably had to keep showing up, day in and day out not only doing your job well and with integrity, but talking about what you’re doing well, which is definitely hard for counselors who do and help all the time to stop and actually do to speak about what you’re doing.

Lauren Tingle 15:24
I’ll never stop talking about the importance of advocating for your role, I’d be willing to bet most everyone listening has either been in or is currently in a counselor role that has too high of a ratio of students to counselors. So advocating for what you do, and what you need can go really far in lowering that ratio. So keep fighting the good fight, you may just end up like Jenny with an extra counselor being added to your team. What a time to be alive and celebrate Jenny, I’m pumped for you, Jenny, keep it up.

Lauren Tingle 15:57
Next up, let’s hear from Katie in Tennessee, let’s roll her clip.

Katie 16:01
My name is Katie, and I am a high school counselor in East Tennessee. One of my biggest wins this year has actually been with a student.

Katie 16:12
This student I’ve been working with her since her freshman year, she’s now a junior. And this spring semester is the first time that she has actually been able to attend a class in person. That seems like a small thing. But it is a huge deal for this student, we have worked through a lot of challenges surrounding being at school for her anxiety, social anxiety.

Katie 16:39
And this semester, she has finally been able to attend a class in person. And it’s actually Driver’s Ed and she drives with that teacher once a week. So we were able to work together and finally find something that worked for her that she was able to be successful at. So this has been a huge win, in my book for this year. The biggest one that I can think of so far.

Lauren Tingle 17:04
How fun is it to hear a specific student win?! Way to go, Katie! As you were listening to Katie share, did you have a student come to mind who you’ve been working with this year? Have you paused to celebrate a win with a student, I want you to do that right now, if you have not taken a moment to do that for yourself.

Lauren Tingle 17:21
A big takeaway that I want you to get from this episode is that even if it seems tiny, even if it’s something teeny tiny with a student, these moments are worth celebrating, because they’re student driven. That’s why we’re here. So Katie, I’m excited for you. Thank you for the work that you’re doing with students, they are so lucky to have you in their corner.

Lauren Tingle 17:42
Next, let’s hear what Kelly from California has to share with us.

Kelly 17:47
Hey there, my name is Kelly, and I’m a high school counselor. And this year, I’m celebrating that I am supervising interns for the first time.

Kelly 17:56
And I’ve heard from other people mixed thoughts and reviews on supervising interns. But it’s been a really good experience for me so far, and definitely helped me to learn new leadership skills, and also has helped me to reach more students and be able to do more things with the extra help.

Kelly 18:14
So we were actually able to run a small group, actually two in the fall one for seniors who needed extra support with college and career search process, and then one for students with stress management for mindfulness skills. So that’s a huge win in my book, I’ve never really been able to have the capacity to do that as a high school counselor. And so I’m definitely celebrating that and thankful for my interns who helped make it possible. So that’s what we’re celebrating.

Lauren Tingle 18:49
Yay. Here’s Kelly further emphasizing the intern supervision that Daniel brought up earlier in this episode. I can agree with Kelly that supervising an intern really can grow you as a high school counselor.

Lauren Tingle 19:02
We often don’t get places that push us out of our comfort zone and professionally because I mean, I don’t know about you, but the people who would be giving me feedback, were usually administrators who didn’t really understand what I did at the high school counselor. And so I wasn’t really finding places to push myself professionally. I truly think this is a great area to try that out with and to grow in a new professional way. If you haven’t done this already.

Lauren Tingle 19:28
Having one intern or a couple of interns. Yes, it does take up some of your time. But think of the time you get back when those grad students are out there multiplying your efforts in classrooms in small groups and an individual counseling sessions. If you’ve always wanted to run a small group, but you’ve never felt like you had the capacity. Think about Kelly and her experience with her interns running two small groups this past fall is a huge win to celebrate.

Lauren Tingle 19:54
And in turn, I bet she loved getting to run those college and stress management groups. It ignites some thing in you that helps you remember why you love your job when you actually get to do the things that you’re supposed to do in this role. So way to go, Kelly, thank you for supervising interns and leading the next generation of high school counselors to success and to get to a place where they feel confident stepping into their role as a high school counselor, I know you’re doing a great job supervising them, and they are lucky to have you as a supervisor as they’re in their internships.

Lauren Tingle 20:28
Next up, let’s hear from Leah.

Leah 20:31
Hi, Lauren. I’m a school counselor from Wisconsin and my 23rd year and I’m still super passionate about what I do, and still trying to come up with new ideas on how to reach students and staff to help them both feel more supported.

Leah 20:44
So what myself and an associate principal did this year as a tier one team, is we asked our homeroom teachers, we have a 25 minute homeroom every day for recommendations on who they think would be good student leaders in their homeroom. And then from that, we had about 75 students that said they wanted to continue learning more about being leader for their homeroom.

Leah 21:06
We did four trainings with them, focusing on things that they were really felt like wasn’t were an issue here, like bullying, have a stand up for folks, if they are being treated unkindly inclusivity, things like that. And they are helping us write and come up with content for the homerooms to help these discussions happen. And then they are the ones leading those discussions. So it takes some pressure off teachers to lead them. And they are learning a lot in the process.

Leah 21:35
So we are going to continue training these students and as long as they have excitement for it, so we so I just wanted to share that in case anyone wanted to do something similar in the future. Thanks so much for asking about this. And thanks for all you do.

Lauren Tingle 21:49
Ah, Leah, can I just say that this warms my heart that you’re in year 23, and you’re still loving what you’re doing. I know that comes across so genuinely to your students, because I can hear it in your voice in this message that you left me and we get to play that for all of our listeners. So hopefully that’s an encouragement to them to hear how long standing you have been in this career.

Lauren Tingle 22:10
What a cool new idea for a new program in Leah’s school. This is a fantastic example of using people in the school for their strengths. Remember, you don’t have to do this all alone. Yes, it sounds like Leah has a team. But it also sounds like she’s getting creative with ways to capture by in, develop her students and capitalize on the energy in her school, not just spread herself thin and rely on the set number of hours she hasn’t a day because we only have a set number of hours at our school site to be able to get things done.

Lauren Tingle 22:44
I have a leadership small group curriculum that came to my mind that will be a great complement to what you’re doing, Leah, I’ll link that in the show notes in case anyone is wanting to recreate this exact same thing that you’re talking about.

Lauren Tingle 22:55
But I wanted to mention that Leah also said something at the end of her voice note that I wanted to highlight. She said as long as they have excitement for it, so do we. This is worth talking about just because I wanted to mention, if we try something new, it doesn’t mean we have to do it forever. We can do it as long as it’s working. And as long as we have the energy to sustain it.

Lauren Tingle 23:18
If something needs to change or someone else needs to take over that new project or idea that you came up with, let’s acknowledge that. We can live and work in the season that we’re in. And if something whether it’s a program or a goal we’re trying to achieve or a routine we’ve put in place, if one of those things is not serving us anymore. Let’s change it up. Leah, I’m proud of you for being bold and thinking outside the box to try something new.

Lauren Tingle 23:42
Last up, let’s hear from Roberto in Oregon. Roberto, let’s play your clip right here.

Roberto 23:49
Hey, fam, I feel that a great win this season right now is connecting with some of our students that are in our alternative ed program and are achieving completing the graduation requirements ahead of schedule when most of the community would say that student is never going to make it. So we’ve had several, I’m proud of them. I can’t wait to see them. Join us walking across the stage in June.

Lauren Tingle 24:15
Cheers hats off to Roberto for speaking up for those students who have fallen behind. You’ll know it is worth stopping to celebrate those who have come a long way to get to that graduation stage.

Lauren Tingle 24:28
I think it can be so easy to get bogged down by the students who just aren’t making progress or those ones who are repeaters are at risk are the ones who were just not listening to the help that we are putting out in front of them or that we’re wrapping around them to offer. Are we pausing to celebrate those who have made huge strides, the ones who we didn’t think would graduate who are putting in the work at this point to make it happen?

Lauren Tingle 24:51
What an absolute gift it is to reflect and remember the positive impact that we can have as high school counselors. Roberto, you’re just going to be beaming when they’re holding those diplomas in June, I know it. I hope you get to take some senior selfies with them so that you can capture those memories and remember their stories for years to come.

Lauren Tingle 25:11
A huge thank you to Daniel, Erica, Jenny, Katie, Kelly, Leah, and Roberto, for sharing your wins with us. I loved how they were all different. They all hit on different aspects of high school counseling, and no two were the same. We’re all celebrating different things. We all need different places to celebrate and wins to be valued to give us some motivation.

Lauren Tingle 25:36
So I hope if you’re listening to this episode, that one of those was a good reminder to you that you have had good things happen to you and your students this school year. If you haven’t paused to reflect on those, hopefully you took a minute or maybe you were thinking of examples in your own career this school year, as you heard from other high school counselors who were also feeling the same way. This was a really fun episode to record. So thank you again for making it happen by sending in those voice notes.

Lauren Tingle 26:06
If you’re looking for a new place to get inspired, hear from other high school counselors and grow professionally, I’d encourage you to check out my high school counseling membership the Clique Collaborative. This is a PD program that you can join monthly or annually with over 25 trainings inside with workbooks and resources to go with them. I’ve heard over and over that these workshops have inspired our members to go try new things and implement new ideas. And that’s what drives me to keep facilitating this space. If you want to check out more of what that’s like or what’s inside visit cliquecollab.com I’ll link it in the show notes.

Lauren Tingle 26:41
But there you can find a video tour you can hear from current members, you can get a taste for what’s inside when you go to cliquecollab.com Join us anytime we’d love to have you if you’re feeling like you want to be celebrating some big wins by the end of the school year. There is still time for you to do that.

Lauren Tingle 26:57
Thanks for showing up to listen to High School Counseling Conversations time after time. I will see you next week. Same time, same place.

Connect with Lauren:

Cheers + Happy Listening!

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