As school counselors, we all want to see students succeed, so how can we reach all students and help them grow to their fullest potential? Just like every student will learn classroom material differently, students will respond to counseling approaches and techniques differently. And, as a school counselor, you only have so much time to meet ALL of the different needs of ALL of your different students. (No pressure, right?!) It’s important that we do that nonetheless.
My high school counseling team sometimes fell into the rut of doing things one way “because we’ve always done it this way,” but I’d challenge you to THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX!
Here are 3 ways to invest in your school counseling program so that your students will ultimately grow:
Take time to examine what your students truly need help with and build your plan around this. This can reinspire you to work towards putting your time into things that will actually be relevant to your students and your school’s population. From here, you can develop classroom lessons, small groups, and individual counseling strategies to reach the true needs of your students.
2. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone.
If your program is getting stale because “we’ve always done it this way,” maybe this is the sign you need to jazz it up. Start small. Pick one new thing a month to implement. Try one new digital lesson or commit to doing one small group for a semester… just to see how it goes. Determine how students are different because of what you are doing, then monitor and adjust. You’ll never know the impact you could potentially have on students until you try something new!
3. Take a new training or professional development that you’ve been interested in.
If you see some new training you’re interested in, sign up for it! This might be the kick you need to try something new in your program to reach students!
Here is a professional development video training I created for school counselors called “3 Ways to Level Up Your School Counseling Stakeholder Relationships” that you can watch at your own pace and submit hours to your school district for participating. You can also check out the full listings of the ASCA U courses. (I’ve done the School Counseling Leadership Specialist and the College Admissions Specialist trainings, and I’d highly recommend them!)
You could also read a book on your own like “Motivational Interviewing for School Counselors” by Reagan North to develop your counseling skills or “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together In the Cafeteria” to increase your cultural competency. Take that a step further and start or join a school counselors’ book club to read it in a professional community.
I am confident that no matter what direction you move in to put the right tools in your students’ hands, you will find success. Needs assessments, new programming, and energizing professional development can all reinspire your school counselor drive in exciting ways.