Saturday, September 28, 2013


I have been interacting with students a lot over the last few days. We held STUCO officer elections and had our first meeting along with the class representatives. It was very productive. Some of the students had really good ideas for some activities throughout the school year. I brought in some activities from previous schools I've known to be successful in other schools, too. The students seemed to like everything and having the chance to have their voice heard, which is what STUCO is all about. I have the Lunch Bunch groups all divided. We have an early and late lunch. I had to put them in groups according to their lunch period and tried to group males and females in such a way as everyone would have a friend in attendance. I found some great signs to use during these groups and some great ideas for activities. The first eight or 10 groups will be for new students only. I've scheduled a speaker for the first Career Cafe which will be this coming Friday. I will finally make a trip to the elementary to wrap up my classroom schedule there and possibly will begin classroom lessons on Thursday. If not this week then definitely next week. I have been proctoring tests for our concurrent enrollment students and getting those mailed, emailed for faxed in. Thursday evening was parent teacher conference night. We stayed until 9:00 p.m. Doing this allows us to be off on Friday. I made a home visit with supper for a family that has been struggling to keep things afloat due to one of their children being hospitalized then home in a medically induced comma. I counseled with a couple of girls on some very serious issues and made a couple of phone calls home to discuss other serious issues. I sent some post cards out to parents with some positive comments about their kids. I met with the entire senior class to show them where the scholarships are being posted and how to get to the links for them and an article on applying for scholarships in general. Once I start going to the elementary my time at the high school will look something like this: Mondays for the office, administrative and test coordinator duties. Wednesday: Lunch Bunch and class lessons in two middle school classes. Any leftover time will be administrative duties. Friday will be Career Cafe, meeting with two middle school classes for classroom lessons and any leftover administrative duties. I've started meeting with kids on the intelligible list to offer tutoring and encouraging communication between them and their teachers. Tuesdays and Thursdays will be in the elementary doing classroom lessons.I hope to get a reading group going soon there, maybe 4th grade girls, two advanced with two low level readers, at lunch time.
I'd also like to do a lunch bunch there as well maybe one day a week. Still in the works are monthly Coffee with the Counselor meetings with parents. The first meeting will be on scholarships, the second possibly middle school girls and stress. I went to a workshop Wednesday. When I got to the office Thursday, this is what me door looked like. I changed what was on the door, adding the chalkboard paper and chalk just recently. I wanted a place for students and staff to leave a note on days I wasn't in the high school offce. I didn't expect such sweet comments already. It made my day and helped me realize I'm already making a difference.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My New Group - Lunch Bunch

I have been pouring over blogs lately, lots and lots of blogs. I am amazed and very thankful there are so many out there full of ideas. They have helped me in my counseling position in the past and are continuing to allow me to improve things as the year goes by. Last weekend I decided since my Career Cafe is taking a while to get off the ground, I need to do something else in the meantime. I have three professionals lined up already to speak, but still lack quite a few students to interview for take interest inventories for a career path. Like always I started reading blogs and found great ideas. I am now working on starting a Lunch Bunch. While Career Cafe is still in the plans (I worked on it more today), the Lunch Bunch is coming together much faster. I have the names of all our new students grouped together in eight different groups of various sizes. Some groups will be allowed to bring a friend, since they are smaller, some won't. I found an invitation on a blog and modified it to fit our school. I went to the Desktop publishing class to see if that teacher would help me make it so I could just copy it on cardstock, business card size. She had her class get on that project that very afternoon! I will have one to give to girls and one for boys and I think one that is mixed. The middle school kids I think are grouped in boy/girl groups due to their lunch schedule. I didn't want to just have students come in, eat lunch and talk to them. I wanted a little more activity than that. I started looking for quick games and even googled Lunch Bunch games and Lunch Bunch activities. I found a treasure chest of things to do! I found activities for the cafeteria, like possibly having table 'groups' compete against each other by answering trivia questions using one dry erase board per table until all questions are asked and points are tallied. The winning table comes to the office for a treat. There were so many great ideas, to be used with large and small groups. I'm adding checkers to my office to hold quick games. I already have Jenga type games to use. I'm developing some "I have, who has" type games and 'get to know me' games to be used, also. Once the new students are seen through Lunch Bunch I'll start groups that are going to be retesting and use study skills games. I'm hoping to have a Lunch Bunch going next week. The week after I'm hoping to start going to the elementary two days a week as discussed in earlier posts and requested by the superintendent. I requested the teachers to send me their preferred time on the potential two days already. With that in mind, my schedule in the middle school/high school will be Monday: administrative/catch up, necessary office things. Tuesday will be an elementary day of class guidance lessons. Wednesday will be Lunch Bunch (among other things) in the high school. Thursday, elementary lessons like Tuesday. Friday, among other things will be Career Cafe. This schedule will be keep me hopping, but I'm looking forward to everything. Still in the works for my program: a girls' night out for 4-6th grades, coffee with the counselor for parents (middle school/high school), breakfast with the counselor (both building). I'm the STUCO sponsor in the h.s. and am getting that rolling this week, too!

Friday, September 13, 2013

College Fair and treats

Today was a great day though I am still handcuffed to my computer. Test reports from last year's academic testing just came in and those results have to be entered onto the students' transcripts. Some grades have three tests others have just one. Plus, there are make up test results. Each test result gets hand entered by me onto each transcript. I am far from finished with this task but, today was different. I had the opportunity to take the seniors to a regional university for a college fair. It was great. Let me just say this group was the best group of kids I've taken like this.
Their noise level on the bus going and coming was minimal. I took roll three times and the kids were quiet, courteous and helpful every time. I was so pleased with their behavior! While there, they looked out for each other and made sure the word was spread throughout the group so everyone knew when it was time to leave. The kids weren't the only ones getting great information. I was able to load up on lots of material for my office. I put the material in the black file cabinet I posted a picture of a while back. I will still have some empty drawers, too. If you don't normally take your students to a college fair day, I highly recommend you start. It is not only beneficial for the students, but it's a great opportunity for you to network with the college reps!

Today was another day of treats for the high school staff. I intended to make these several weeks ago, but the timing just wasn't right. I finally got them made this week. Our state is very pro football. We have two state teams and it seems everyone is for one or the other with no inbetween. One of those teams is finally playing their first home game this weekend. I gave everyone a cookie today with the note, "To help kick off your weekend. Have a good one!" I made the font color of the word kick alternate between our two teams' colors. The cookies were nothing fancy, just sugar cookies with brown (not even chocolate) royal icing and a little white piping to make them look like footballs.

Friday, September 6, 2013

A little boost

I gave everyone in the high school building these today! It made a great end to a trying (though short) week. I had enough to include teachers, administration, secretaries, maintenance, cafeteria and all aides! I got to school early so I could slip most of them in their boxes before they arrived. It was great to hear so many great comments throughout the day for such a small gesture. I wanted to do a baked goody, but just didn't have time this week. I'll save that for another day, another week.

I've also been trying to think what I could do to give a little boost to the students. It's not possible for me to hand out a sweet or any kind of simple treat to the entire student body. I don't see the entire student body on a daily basis so it's not possible for me to speak to all of them either. What I decided to do was make up some small posters with motivational, uplifting, or thought provoking quotes and post them around the school. I made several weeks' worth and just printed them out in black and white to save on school ink since I liked the idea of including a little graphic to go with the quote. I also like the idea of hanging them around the school when no one is present and in places everyone will be at some point. I decided on the restrooms. This week I hung them up early Tuesday morning (our first day of this week). I don't like being there so early on the first day of the week so today, Friday, I waited until the school had cleared of students and hung them up, in place for next week already.
I realize they're not loaded with lots of color, eye popping graphics, but they're just something everyone will see (I even hung one in the lounge restroom) and be a nice (hopefully) surprise, a little encouragement possibly that some are headed in the right direction and indirectly encourage others to head that way, too. It's another way for me to make a small impact on the school environment.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Gathering Data

During my drive to work each morning I pray, a lot! I pray for grace in the way I handle all things that come my way and that I will have mercy on others. I'm so glad I got into this routine during my previous drive (45 minutes one way) and have maintained it, though I have a much shorter drive now (20 minutes). It has been a trying week, time, and start to the new year. Over the past week I have worked feverishly on the computer to get courses put in the right way so that the number of red flags are decreased in our student information system. Yesterday I spent nearly half the day working on concurrent enrollment courses, creating them all, entering them into transcripts and making sure they were all the way they should be within the students' schedules. Right at the end of what I was doing I noticed a student already had concurrent enrollment class listed (what!) and I didn't enter it. I questioned the principal (who had asked me to take care of that the afternoon before) and he told me he completed three of the four courses (but didn't bother telling me). I wasted 1/2 a day doing that! Ugh. Another situation happened today that was very similar, again, with the same person. Thankfully, I'm prayed up and so my frustration level remained low. I was able to interact with the students quite a bit over the past week which got me out of the office and time away from the computer. I stepped into several classes to have students complete interest inventories on This site is great for giving all kinds of information on careers, career fields and much needed data to go with it. I usually use just a portion of it to get a general idea of careers in which middle school students are interested. I have a few stragglers that were absent. I'd like to get their information by the middle of next week so that I can start putting together professionals for career cafe. A few parents came and went over the week, I spoke to many others on the phone. I registered all seniors for a local college fair coming up on Sept. 13th. The kids were so great about changing schedules (some as many as four times - not their choice) and informing classmates who were absent or other places the day we registered or completed inventories.