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Old 06-14-2013, 11:24 AM   #1
brockash
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School Counselor's Help

Hello,
I'm working towards my Master's in School Counseling. One of the assignments I have this summer is to interview an elementary school counselor as well as a secondary school counselor. All of the schools around here have been out for almost a month and I'm finding a hard time getting in contact with any schools/school counselors. Would anyone on the dis, who is a school counselor, be able and willing to help me?

Here is some of the info. that would really help me out:

1) Can you describe your typical day at work?

2) What are work responsibilities and what is your job description?

3) What kind of paperwork, if any, are you required to complete on a daily/monthly/yearly basis?

4) Do you consider yourself a "leader" in your school?

5) How do you address your students key development areas?
-academic?
-career?
-personal/social?

5) (b) On average, how much time would you say you spend with your students on each of these area's?

5) (c) How do you address these issue's with your students (individually, small group setting, as a class etc.)?

6) What, if any, rewards/benefits do you find in your role as a school counselor?

7) What would you say are the most challenging parts of your job?

8) Why did you become a school counselor?

9) What suggestions do you have that would be beneficial or would help prepare someone coming into the field of school counseling?

If you could let me know what level of students you counsel (K-5/6; 6/7-12), also what type of school you are a counselor at (private, public, charter etc.), and what part of the country you're in, or if you're comfortable with it the school name and city/state.

I know it's a lot of questions, but I would really appreciate it. Thanks so much!
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Old 06-14-2013, 08:33 PM   #2
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Old 06-15-2013, 05:17 AM   #3
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Sorry, I'm a high school math teacher, not a counselor.

But consider emailing some schools in the Northeast. New York schools are in session through this week, as kids are taking Regents exams.
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Old 06-15-2013, 12:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aliceacc View Post
Sorry, I'm a high school math teacher, not a counselor.

But consider emailing some schools in the Northeast. New York schools are in session through this week, as kids are taking Regents exams.
Thanks, I'll try that.
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Old 06-15-2013, 02:02 PM   #5
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A lot of schools in Maryland just closed yesterday but unless they're vacationing, counselors (at the minimum the counseling department chairman) are still in the building throughout the summer.
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Old 06-15-2013, 07:42 PM   #6
unbeknownst
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I don't post a lot, but I just finished my first year as a school counselor. I work at a public high school in Virginia. We are grades 9-12 and have around ~1600 students. My caseload is ~400.

1) Can you describe your typical day at work?

I get to work at 7:45am. I have a clipboard with a "daily agenda" that I use to track my day. As soon as I get to work, I file the previous day's agenda and make sure today's agenda is up to date. I use the agenda to track what students I am meeting with, phone calls I make, and any meetings on my calendar. I prepare a paper copy, but I also try to put everything into my outlook calendar.

By around 8am, I've started to write passes for the students I need to see that day. The morning is a busy time in our office, so I normally have several students come before classes to ask a quick question.

I try to start returning e-mails around 8:30am. I wait to make any phone calls to parents until 9am.

Majority of the day: I see students, return e-mails, call parents, and/or am in meetings. When I'm not performing direct student services, I'm working on paperwork - checking grades for struggling students, updating check sheets, etc. I'm AP Coordinator so the month of May was dominated by AP testing and I had a lot of paperwork to do. It ebbs and flows.

I do have a lunch duty everyday.

I normally have meetings everyday after school. I do try to leave by 4 everyday, but will stay late/come in early depending on what's going on. It's a job where you have to flexible.

2) What are work responsibilities and what is your job description

Direct Counseling Responsibilities

- Individual counseling to students on as needed basis
- Group counseling periodically throughout the year (really tough to do in a high school)
- Classroom guidance lessons (as a counseling department, we try to do two lessons per grade level each year)
- College/Career Counseling.
- Academic Counseling

Other Responsibilities

- Scheduling College Visits
- Planning Parent Night Program (college related)
- AP Test Coordinator
- Lunch Duty
- Attending IEP meetings on an as needed basis

My job never was posted publicly, so I never received an official "job" description. The counseling director walked me through the "other" job responsibilities prior to the start of the year; I was very well prepared for the counseling aspects in graduate school. This will vary heavily based on your school/school division.

3) What kind of paperwork, if any, are you required to complete on a daily/monthly/yearly basis?

- "Check sheets" for graduation requirements. Complete for all students and update at the end of each school year.

- Graduation requirement letter mailed to parents of juniors/seniors once a year.

- Failure Letters. Mailed home after every grading period.

- Scheduling Meetings, once a year per student (officially... you'll meet with students and their parents about it much more than that).

- Schedule Verification Sheets, mailed once per year per student.

- At-Risk lists. Complete once per year for grade levels 9-11. Complete multiple times per year to track graduation progress of senior students.

- Credit Recovery list. Complete once per year for students that may benefit from online credit recovery.

These are my major paperwork projects. There are likely more that I'm putting out of my head.

4) Do you consider yourself a "leader" in your school?

Not at this time. I just "finished" (student's are gone, I still have a few more weeks) my first year. I'm still learning the culture of my school. I hope to become a leader in the next few years.

5) How do you address your students key development areas?
-academic?

We print failure lists after every grading period. I meet individually with students that are are struggling to see if we can identify the problem. We then do some goal-setting to see if we can improve performance next grading period. I also communicate with teachers and parents and schedule conferences as needed.

-career?

Career discussion at least once per year in their individual scheduling meeting. If students don't have a clear career plan, I refer to our career counselor. We also have a lovely online program with some career assessments we can use with students. We also have at least one classroom guidance lesson per grade level each year that centers around career. The career counselor has at least three lessons per year with each grade level.

-personal/social?

This year, this has been done almost solely through individual counseling but I desperately want to run some groups next year. I think groups are great with this age level and they are time efficient.

Most of my individual counseling is tailored to that specific student, so it's hard to elaborate on.

A lot of students write notes to see me for help with a specific issue that is occurring at home or in their social group. Solution focused counseling is my best friend.

5) (b) On average, how much time would you say you spend with your students on each of these area's?

Majority (50%) is spent on academic counseling. Personal/social is second at around 35%, while only ~15% of my time is spent on career. If we didn't have a career counseling, my percentages would probable me different.

On average day, I probably spend at least 1 hour on personal/social issues. At least 2 hours on academic counseling and less than an hour on career.

5) (c) How do you address these issue's with your students (individually, small group setting, as a class etc.)?

Majority of my time is spent in individual counseling. We have some classroom guidance, and I would like to run some counseling groups.

Personal/social is almost always individual.

Career/academic is individual and classroom guidance.

6) What, if any, rewards/benefits do you find in your role as a school counselor?

I just got to watch my seniors walk across the stage and receive their diplomas. There were at least two there that I didn't think we were going to make it. Getting to hug them and say "YOU DID IT" was one of the best moments I have had all year.

I LOVE working with my kids. I love getting to know them and I'm excited to see how they change as they go through high school. I also enjoy getting to know the families.

I also feel like I make difference. It may not always be the biggest difference and I may not always get to see the results - but I work hard to advocate for my students and I try to teach them to advocate for themselves.

7) What would you say are the most challenging parts of your job?

Education can be very politically, especially with budgets being the way they are. I'm also a very young counselor and it has been hard to get some of my colleagues/parents to take me seriously.

You also cannot make everyone happy and you can't help everyone. You can try, but you are only one person. I have over 400 students and it can be a struggle to do my job that I think it should be done with that many students.

8) Why did you become a school counselor?

That is a hard question to answer. I knew I wanted to work in a school and considered trying to get a teaching degree in elementary education or mathematics. I ultimately ended up volunteering with an organization where a lot of the volunteers were school counselors. It is an amazing group of people and it made me research the profession more.

My passion is college and career counseling and I love getting to help my students with that process. I just wish I got to do more of it!

9) What suggestions do you have that would be beneficial or would help prepare someone coming into the field of school counseling?

You cannot make everyone happy. Therefore, you need to develop a thick skin. Make the most out of your internship and practicum assignments because they are like months long job interviews.

Make sure you can learn to love to paperwork aspects of the job if you decide to go secondary.

Join a professional organization and connect with other school counselors.

I hope it helps!
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:39 AM   #7
brockash
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unbeknownst View Post
I don't post a lot, but I just finished my first year as a school counselor. I work at a public high school in Virginia. We are grades 9-12 and have around ~1600 students. My caseload is ~400.

1) Can you describe your typical day at work?

I get to work at 7:45am. I have a clipboard with a "daily agenda" that I use to track my day. As soon as I get to work, I file the previous day's agenda and make sure today's agenda is up to date. I use the agenda to track what students I am meeting with, phone calls I make, and any meetings on my calendar. I prepare a paper copy, but I also try to put everything into my outlook calendar.

By around 8am, I've started to write passes for the students I need to see that day. The morning is a busy time in our office, so I normally have several students come before classes to ask a quick question.

I try to start returning e-mails around 8:30am. I wait to make any phone calls to parents until 9am.

Majority of the day: I see students, return e-mails, call parents, and/or am in meetings. When I'm not performing direct student services, I'm working on paperwork - checking grades for struggling students, updating check sheets, etc. I'm AP Coordinator so the month of May was dominated by AP testing and I had a lot of paperwork to do. It ebbs and flows.

I do have a lunch duty everyday.

I normally have meetings everyday after school. I do try to leave by 4 everyday, but will stay late/come in early depending on what's going on. It's a job where you have to flexible.

2) What are work responsibilities and what is your job description

Direct Counseling Responsibilities

- Individual counseling to students on as needed basis
- Group counseling periodically throughout the year (really tough to do in a high school)
- Classroom guidance lessons (as a counseling department, we try to do two lessons per grade level each year)
- College/Career Counseling.
- Academic Counseling

Other Responsibilities

- Scheduling College Visits
- Planning Parent Night Program (college related)
- AP Test Coordinator
- Lunch Duty
- Attending IEP meetings on an as needed basis

My job never was posted publicly, so I never received an official "job" description. The counseling director walked me through the "other" job responsibilities prior to the start of the year; I was very well prepared for the counseling aspects in graduate school. This will vary heavily based on your school/school division.

3) What kind of paperwork, if any, are you required to complete on a daily/monthly/yearly basis?

- "Check sheets" for graduation requirements. Complete for all students and update at the end of each school year.

- Graduation requirement letter mailed to parents of juniors/seniors once a year.

- Failure Letters. Mailed home after every grading period.

- Scheduling Meetings, once a year per student (officially... you'll meet with students and their parents about it much more than that).

- Schedule Verification Sheets, mailed once per year per student.

- At-Risk lists. Complete once per year for grade levels 9-11. Complete multiple times per year to track graduation progress of senior students.

- Credit Recovery list. Complete once per year for students that may benefit from online credit recovery.

These are my major paperwork projects. There are likely more that I'm putting out of my head.

4) Do you consider yourself a "leader" in your school?

Not at this time. I just "finished" (student's are gone, I still have a few more weeks) my first year. I'm still learning the culture of my school. I hope to become a leader in the next few years.

5) How do you address your students key development areas?
-academic?

We print failure lists after every grading period. I meet individually with students that are are struggling to see if we can identify the problem. We then do some goal-setting to see if we can improve performance next grading period. I also communicate with teachers and parents and schedule conferences as needed.

-career?

Career discussion at least once per year in their individual scheduling meeting. If students don't have a clear career plan, I refer to our career counselor. We also have a lovely online program with some career assessments we can use with students. We also have at least one classroom guidance lesson per grade level each year that centers around career. The career counselor has at least three lessons per year with each grade level.

-personal/social?

This year, this has been done almost solely through individual counseling but I desperately want to run some groups next year. I think groups are great with this age level and they are time efficient.

Most of my individual counseling is tailored to that specific student, so it's hard to elaborate on.

A lot of students write notes to see me for help with a specific issue that is occurring at home or in their social group. Solution focused counseling is my best friend.

5) (b) On average, how much time would you say you spend with your students on each of these area's?

Majority (50%) is spent on academic counseling. Personal/social is second at around 35%, while only ~15% of my time is spent on career. If we didn't have a career counseling, my percentages would probable me different.

On average day, I probably spend at least 1 hour on personal/social issues. At least 2 hours on academic counseling and less than an hour on career.

5) (c) How do you address these issue's with your students (individually, small group setting, as a class etc.)?

Majority of my time is spent in individual counseling. We have some classroom guidance, and I would like to run some counseling groups.

Personal/social is almost always individual.

Career/academic is individual and classroom guidance.

6) What, if any, rewards/benefits do you find in your role as a school counselor?

I just got to watch my seniors walk across the stage and receive their diplomas. There were at least two there that I didn't think we were going to make it. Getting to hug them and say "YOU DID IT" was one of the best moments I have had all year.

I LOVE working with my kids. I love getting to know them and I'm excited to see how they change as they go through high school. I also enjoy getting to know the families.

I also feel like I make difference. It may not always be the biggest difference and I may not always get to see the results - but I work hard to advocate for my students and I try to teach them to advocate for themselves.

7) What would you say are the most challenging parts of your job?

Education can be very politically, especially with budgets being the way they are. I'm also a very young counselor and it has been hard to get some of my colleagues/parents to take me seriously.

You also cannot make everyone happy and you can't help everyone. You can try, but you are only one person. I have over 400 students and it can be a struggle to do my job that I think it should be done with that many students.

8) Why did you become a school counselor?

That is a hard question to answer. I knew I wanted to work in a school and considered trying to get a teaching degree in elementary education or mathematics. I ultimately ended up volunteering with an organization where a lot of the volunteers were school counselors. It is an amazing group of people and it made me research the profession more.

My passion is college and career counseling and I love getting to help my students with that process. I just wish I got to do more of it!

9) What suggestions do you have that would be beneficial or would help prepare someone coming into the field of school counseling?

You cannot make everyone happy. Therefore, you need to develop a thick skin. Make the most out of your internship and practicum assignments because they are like months long job interviews.

Make sure you can learn to love to paperwork aspects of the job if you decide to go secondary.

Join a professional organization and connect with other school counselors.

I hope it helps!
Thanks very much!
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Old 06-20-2013, 12:44 PM   #8
DawnM
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I am going to tell you that school counseling varies depending on where you live and what sort of job you take.

Here are a few School Counseling jobs I have had.

1. Regular High School Counseling (hated this one the most, not because of the students or the school, but because my job seemed to entail more of a glorified admin. assistant job. I had over 600 students on my list and in a low performing school 90% of my job seemed to involve paperwork. Scheduling and rescheduling students was on-going as students failed classes and had to repeat. I did d lot of credit checks and called in students who were not going to graduate on time and scheduled them for school outside of the regular school calendar year to make up classes.

I still did ind. counseling and small group counseling, which I loved, but the paperwork was a huge kill joy and bored me to tears.

2. Federal Grant Program for students who had strong potential to be the first person in their families to attend/finish college.


Loved this job. Met with students and families individually and in groups to explain GPA, Credits, Graduation Requirements, College entrance information, and the like.

I followed the student through high school, took them on college tours, helped them with college applications, and gave them as much encouragement as I could.

3. Another Federal Grant Program called "Beyond the Bell." This one I also loved. We pulled all students' names of those who had scored in the lowest 20% of their standardized test scores and provided them with Saturday School. I did have to work Saturdays but I was in the counseling office organizing schedules and was available for students and teachers. During the week, we met with students and called parents and contacted teachers to work added hours, etc....

In all 3 of the above jobs I still had to:

1. Have lunchyard and nutrition break duties (CA had breakfast for students called "nutrition break."

2. Come in 30 min. before school began and work in the attendance office taking in absence notes/excuses and giving kids passes to go to their classes.

3. Supervise some after school actives and dismissal periods.

4. Meet with parents about various issues or concerns.

5. Keep records of students.

6. Some discipline.
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Old 06-20-2013, 06:36 PM   #9
brockash
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnM View Post
I am going to tell you that school counseling varies depending on where you live and what sort of job you take.

Here are a few School Counseling jobs I have had.

1. Regular High School Counseling (hated this one the most, not because of the students or the school, but because my job seemed to entail more of a glorified admin. assistant job. I had over 600 students on my list and in a low performing school 90% of my job seemed to involve paperwork. Scheduling and rescheduling students was on-going as students failed classes and had to repeat. I did d lot of credit checks and called in students who were not going to graduate on time and scheduled them for school outside of the regular school calendar year to make up classes.

I still did ind. counseling and small group counseling, which I loved, but the paperwork was a huge kill joy and bored me to tears.

2. Federal Grant Program for students who had strong potential to be the first person in their families to attend/finish college.


Loved this job. Met with students and families individually and in groups to explain GPA, Credits, Graduation Requirements, College entrance information, and the like.

I followed the student through high school, took them on college tours, helped them with college applications, and gave them as much encouragement as I could.

3. Another Federal Grant Program called "Beyond the Bell." This one I also loved. We pulled all students' names of those who had scored in the lowest 20% of their standardized test scores and provided them with Saturday School. I did have to work Saturdays but I was in the counseling office organizing schedules and was available for students and teachers. During the week, we met with students and called parents and contacted teachers to work added hours, etc....

In all 3 of the above jobs I still had to:

1. Have lunchyard and nutrition break duties (CA had breakfast for students called "nutrition break."

2. Come in 30 min. before school began and work in the attendance office taking in absence notes/excuses and giving kids passes to go to their classes.

3. Supervise some after school actives and dismissal periods.

4. Meet with parents about various issues or concerns.

5. Keep records of students.

6. Some discipline.
Thanks for the help!
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