#ReachHigher

As many of you know, First Lady Michelle Obama has started the #ReachHigher initiative to encourage every student to go beyond High School and completing some kind of post-secondary education.

As School Counselors, we play a significant part in this initiative- whether working in an elementary, middle, or high school. This was made even more clear when Mrs. Obama made a wonderful speech at the latest ASCA conference.

On top of that, Erin Mason, a mover and shaker in the School Counseling interwebs, began her own initiative encouraging School Counselors to share how they would #ReachHigher this year in their schools. Of course, both Krista and I jumped at the opportunity to share our goals to help students prepare for post-secondary life.

I thought it would be cool to post these pictures outside of our office so that our school knows exactly what we will be striving for! Talk about accountability and getting energized every day with purpose!

 

Check out the video showcasing tons of School Counselors and their #ReachHigher goals. It's pretty amazing to see what people are working towards >>>>>>

                              

Getting Rid of the Desk


When Krista and I met for the first time, one of the things we talked about was our office. I had been contemplating something crazy and wanted to see what she thought of it. So, I asked,

"I want to get rid of the desk. How do you feel about that?"

To my surprise and joy, she was all in. (Can I just tell you how much this woman rocks? I can't believe I get to work with her!!)

For some of you, this may be cringe worthy. Believe me, this wasn't some spontaneous decision that came out of the blue.

But, the more I weighed the costs and benefits, the more the idea grew on me. Here are a couple of reasons why I am going deskless this year.

1) More Space - Getting rid of the desk allows us more room to work with our kids in groups and in individual counseling.

2) Less Paper - I have been consolidating for the last couple of years and have gone mostly paperless. I use dropbox, google docs, wiggio, and notecounselor for nearly everything. I am down to required paper documents such as 504 paperwork and student notes. All things that can be put elsewhere.

3) Atmosphere - we are truly a student oriented office without a desk. It is clear upon walking in what kind of work we do in there.

4) Need - Honestly, I hardly used my desk anyways. As counselors, we shouldn't be sitting behind a desk as we counsel and for me it simply became a landing place for my messes. The only time I was there was for paperwork and computer work and those are things I can do at our group table. I am generally on the go and want to keep it that way. Not having a desk also forces me up and out - something I sometimes need help with.

I am really excited about the prospect of this and can't wait to report back on how it goes. Have any of you ever gone deskless? What was it like for you?




Working in Groups

As I mentioned last night, I am now a Mom!!
Needless to say, things have changed because of our little addition.
Not just at home, but at work too.

I am really excited to not only be going part-time at my school but was also blessed by my principal with a counselor colleague! Both of us will be working three days each, with a day where we will be together. I already adore her.

I can't tell you how much I have longed for this day... to share the workload with another. Double the School Counselors... Double the Fun!

For those of you that have been following along the last couple of years, I have mentioned how tough it has been being on my own with 730 students - which is why I adore the online community. Its kept me sane.

Now I realize that we are still not at the ASCA ratio - but with two energetic and passionate people I truly believe that we are going to make some positive waves this year.

With the addition of a another School Counselor, my biggest concern was our communication. How in the world were we going to be able to keep up with one another - besides weekly meetings? I did a little research and stumbled across this free and pretty incredible website.


Wiggio makes it easy to work in groups. Essentially, it is like ASCA Scene, but with your own smaller group. Features of wiggio include: 
  • Shared Calendar
  • Shared To Do Lists 
  • Shared File Folders  
  • Capability of creating documents (word, excel, polls) in site.
  • Communication Capability (chat, virtual meetings, conference call, text, email) 
  • Updated Feed on Dashboard 
We have been using this site for a couple of weeks now, and I am in love. Its easy to use, quick to access, and all in one. 

The uses for this site are endless. From administration teams, school counseling departments, classes, sports teams, leadership groups... whatever, you name it! Once you have an account, you can be a part of several groups. All quickly accessed from the side bar. 

Here is a quick screenshot of what the dashboard looks like when you log in. 


I hope some of you find this as useful as we have. I have learned in my last couple of years in education, that thing that makes me the most successful is effective communication and seamless organization. Wiggio helps you achieve that.