As your teacher colleagues clean out their classrooms, send off report cards and head to the pool, the workload for us counselors is just now heating up…or maybe we should say it’s on fire. Ending the year well means your to-do list is no doubt a mile long as you wrap up awards days, submit scholarship reports, and chase down your kids who need summer school.
Whether this is your first year in the wonderful world of counseling or you’re a veteran counselor, consider adding these three big topics to your end-of-year checklist.
1- Build in some time of reflection on this year as a whole
As you power through your end of year tasks, don’t forget to take time to reflect on all you accomplished this year. What are you most proud of? What challenges did you overcome? Did you join the Clique Collaborative (my high school counseling membership) and implement new ideas? Celebrate the wins here and resist the temptation to overlook the fruits of your labor as you’re ending the year.
Collect simple data points from the school year to help you track your professional development and quantify your hard work. This also sets you up for year-over-year goal tracking. Here are some ideas:
- Track the promotion/retention rate and graduation rate
- Count the number of classroom lessons ran, number of advisory councils held or number of individual counseling sessions held
- Calculate the percentage of students who came to a career fair or the percentage of parents who attended individual student meetings
These are just a few ideas, but the list goes on… Check out this resource for additional ideas for data tracking. You decide what’s informative for your school and your people. The possibilities are endless!
2- Set your caseload up for success this summer as you're ending the year
Hopefully you’re planning to enjoy a little rest and relaxation this summer (amp up your self-care routine, finally read that best-seller novel that’s been on your nightstand for 6 months, take a NAP… you deserve it!). Be sure to set up your email away message and change your voicemail and throw any guilt to the wind. As you’re ending the year, rest will make you a better counselor and help you come in with some fresh energy for next year.
Once you’ve wrapped up your seniors’ transcripts, make a detailed record as you’re ending the year. If someone else will be answering phone calls or emails, leave the spreadsheet with them with details on whose transcript has been sent and where — because there are always questions about this throughout the summer.
A “pre-to-do list” about your caseload or specific students you need to follow up with at the start of the next year can also be a helpful tool as you’re ending the year. These are notes of things you don’t want to forget about over the summer and quick info you can reference as the new year gets moving in a couple short months.
3- Prep what you feel you need to for next year
Think about ways you can set yourself up for a successful back-to-school season, NOW (and if you’re ready to go deeper on this, here’s more in my back-to-school starter pack).
Be intentional with your physical space and direct your focus to your office environment. Clear out old papers, scan in documents, file papers that collected under your desk all school year. Whether you need to create file folders for students or move graduated student files to the record vault, now is the time.
Grab a staple remover and go to town on your old bulletin boards — set yourself up for the next school year with a blank slate. Your brain may be a little fried so I’m not saying you need to pour energy into your boards for next year, but go ahead and clear the old stuff away. Consider adding “Check out the bulletin board packs in the Counselor Clique TpT store” to your pre-to-do list, as you think up creative ways to build out your space next year.
Take an inventory of your resources and get organized. If you have printables or games, this is a great time to create systems that allow you to easily access resources. Label boxes, put things in binders with sheet protectors, laminate and cut things you’ll use again and again. If you’re moving into a new role or wondering what resources I’m talking about, you can head to my Teachers Pay Teachers store and filter by topic, grade, and keyword. Now is a great time to start collecting resources and building out your wishlist.
Speaking of wishlists — think about creative resources that always get pushed to the wayside or bottom of your to-do list. Maybe you’re finally ready to jump into the world of school counselor social media, whether Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. Perhaps your website needs a facelift. Or you bought some PD or trainings that never got finished. Choose what sounds the most fun and go for it. Remember, this is YOUR summer and YOUR timeline. Do the things that you need to do in order to be fresh for the year ahead (podcast alert!).
We know you’ll still keep working on student schedules for next year and enrolling new students as you’re ending the year (let’s be honest, does this ever stop?). Be diligent in building in rest for you! I promise you won’t regret it.
And as you decompress with a good book by the pool, your brain space becomes a little less cluttered and you feel the itch to start dreaming for the year to come… The Clique Collaborative is ready when you are – with tons of resources! We’re cheering for you!
For more tips on ending the year on a high note, be sure to check out this podcast episode.