There are many topics to tackle surrounding data collection in high school counseling. When and where should I collect data? How should I use it? Where and with whom should I share it all when I’m done with it?
Consider these topics as you’re digging for everything high school counselors need to know about this important and impactful topic.
1- Understand why data matters
Before you can move forward with putting some systems in place for collecting data, you must figure out the value of data in your school counseling program and why it even matters in the first place.
As a school counselor rooted in and bound by ethics, you should be putting together your program with integrity and intentionality… not with random acts that only seem to move you from one day to the next. You’ll find more efficiency, more effectiveness, and more purpose in the way you serve your students with meaningful resources.
Data can be used as a tool to plan SMART goals for your year and to measure whether you met those goals or not. It can expose gaps and create opportunities for change that you may have otherwise missed.
2- Collect data and combat misconceptions
Can you think of a million reasons why collecting data is the absolute worst? It’s time to challenge those misconceptions!
Collecting data can, indeed, be an efficient use of your time even if you believe it’s a complete waste. You’d rather be talking to students or trying out new counseling interventions. How will you know if your interventions are effective if you’re not looking at the “before” and “after?”
Starting small is the easiest way to dip your toe into the water of data collection. I promise– it’s easy! You don’t need to do an entire overhaul of your school counseling program to start digging deeper right where you are and asking why certain trends are happening with your students or in your school.
Even if you’re not a “numbers person,” you’ll be on your way to establishing new habits and building your confidence around these numbers in no time.
3- Incorporate data into your everyday framework
Collecting and sharing perception data is probably the most natural way for school counselors to incorporate data into their everyday framework. We get to lean into something that comes easily to us: listening and reflecting back others’ stories.
Consider sharing pictures, video testimonies, panels of student experiences, or teachers’ experiences with your other stakeholders.
When your stakeholders hear about the amazing things you’re doing, they’ll be compelled to invest and support your school counseling program!
4- Share data with your stakeholders
This is the most important (and often the most unnatural part) of collecting your information.
There are so many places you can share your outcomes and results once you’ve collected it! What should you share, and where should you share it?
Consider using these strategies and sharing with these stakeholders can learn about what you’re doing and how it’s making a difference in your school community.
Summarize your numerical data with easy-to-read graphs or charts. Google Forms will be your best friend in putting this together. If you collect data in Google Forms (or even compile it in Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel), you can easily generate graphs and charts to share.
If you’re ready to level up your presentation of the graphs and charts, project those onto a screen to share with your stakeholders. You could add them in a Google Slides presentation or use Canva to put something together that looks as professional as you are! Print out pamphlets or handouts and give them to your stakeholders to take away from a presentation. Put your graphics in an email and send them out to those who support you or those who you WISH would support you!
Share your results from your school counseling goals and initiatives with anyone who will listen! Start with parents, faculty members, administrators, your local school board, and district-level leaders. Turn your results data into a presentation for your state conference or ASCA national conference! Explain your interventions on social media, and share with the world!
What you’re doing has so much value, and other school counselors and school/community stakeholders will benefit immensely from your hard work.
Download this free High School Counseling Data Collection Guide to help you brainstorm places to start collecting some simple information in your school, and let’s take some action!