4 Ways to Make the Most of Your High School Counseling Budget

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Whether you’ve just been given a pool of funds or you’re brainstorming ways to advocate for more dollars in your high school counseling budget, let’s talk about how to get the best bang for your buck. I’m here to tell you that professional development is critical to the life and health of a high school counselor.

We need to constantly be challenged with top-of-the-line strategies and ideas that help us better support and care for high school students. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, YOU are your best advocate! Don’t be bashful. Ask your administrator early and often for budget dollars. Read on for some ways to spend them.

Going deeper: If this is a topic that makes you a little squeamish, I talk more about what I’ve learned about PD opportunities here and also unpack relevant PD opportunities for counselors in this podcast episode.

high school counseling budget

1- Restock office necessities using your high school counseling budget

Let’s talk about those must-have items that all counselors need in their offices. This is a bit of a laundry list, but trust me when I say they make life as a high school counselor much easier.

  • Storage bags: There are so many uses for these. Fill them with pens and office supplies, or put your small group materials in these at school. A great way to stay organized!
  • Label maker: Introducing nice, neat, color-coded labels for every drawer, folder, and file cabinet. Yes, please!
  • iBayam Pens: My all-time favorite pens. They are super affordable, high-quality, and come in a rainbow of colors.
  • Fun magnets: Try these emoji faces or fun rainbow squares on the side of your filing cabinet to hang up papers for quick reference. I also use Scotch washi tape to hang important papers on my wall.
  • A charging station: Put this out for students to incentivize them to plug their phones in and not be distracted by notifications or messages during your meetings.
  • Basic office supplies: Refills of staples, paperclips, or bigger paper clamps like these pastel clamps or these clamps with smiley faces on them. Sticky notes, of course. (They may or may not be exploding on my desk and walls at all times.)
  • Thank you notes: I use these for colleagues in my department, administrators, teachers, guest speakers, and even students. A thoughtful note is easy to do and makes a big impact
  • On the Desk: Giant hand sanitizergiant lotion, and tissues on your desk are must-haves if you’re a school counselor. I always kept a basket of fidgets for students like sphere toys (also great for teaching breathing and mindfulness), stretchy stringsplay-doh, a Rubik’s cube, a magic 8 ball, and more. 

Listen to this podcast episode all about prepping your office for back to school (and really ANY time of the year) or read this blog post for a complete list of office ideas!

2- Build up your personal library with your high school counseling budget

Don’t overlook professional development in book form! Helpful counseling books are great to have on your shelf for quick access and reference. Some of my favorite high school counseling books are tagged on my Amazon storefront. The ASCA online bookstore is riddled with must-have books to add to your office collection.

3- Use your high school counseling budget for memberships and conferences

Your state school counseling membership or the ASCA national school counseling membership are productive ways to allocate funds from your high school counseling budget. The ASCA membership specifically grants you access to their monthly magazine, research-based journal articles, as well as a discounted conference registration. Make plans to attend your state school counseling conference or the annual ASCA conference. The good news about these is that you can plan in advance since you know when/where they are and how much admission will cost.

4- Continue learning with a Clique Collaborate membership

My Clique Collaborate members gain exclusive access to an array of professional development opportunities, as well as special deals on all the resources in my TPT store. You can hop on the waitlist here (doors open in August and January).

Check out this personal testimonial from one of my Clique Collab members, Katie, on how being part of our membership family has really elevated her high school counseling program.

Additionally, here is a video that goes into further detail about all you gain by becoming a Clique Collaborative member.

When it comes to getting money for professional development, you have to be a squeaky wheel. Don’t give up if you receive pushback from your administrator. Be proactive as you consider when the budget starts over and how early you need to submit requests by. Because I want to make this as easy as possible for you, I put together an advocacy PDF along with a customizable advocacy letter for your administrator that highlights benefits and encourages your principal to invest in professional development. This will come to your email when you sign up for the Clique Collaborative waitlist!

Professional development is crucial to the health of your students so keep pushing for more dollars. I’m cheering for you!

high school counseling budget

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