Monday, September 26, 2011

NJ New Anti-Bullying law makes the New York Times

Have you read this article about NJ's new anti-bullying law?

What are YOUR thoughts?  If you are a school counselor in NJ how has the law been effecting you?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sorry I missed you!

A challenge I often encounter is missing students when I'm not in my office.  It seems that I am always on the run giving lessons, or attending meetings, etc etc.   So I decided to hang this box outside my office so students can write me a message!

How do you connect with missed students?

Monday, September 19, 2011


"If we are to have real peace, we must begin with our children" Ghandi

Picture taken from

Friday, September 16, 2011

Back to School Night!

Back to School Night is a GREAT opportunity to market your program with parents.  I have a table set up with a tri-fold to display information about my Counseling Services program. Below is the middle section of my tri-fold presentation.

I also have brochures of community resources, parenting, study skills, and other hot topics for parents to peruse. It is ALWAYS a good idea to have tangible take-aways for parents.

This is a terrific chance for parents to see how wonderful you are.  Let your personality shine!   Make a personal connection with them by commenting about a POSITIVE experience you have had with their child.

A word to the wise.  Do not let one family monopolize your time.  This night is about meeting all the parents you can, and getting the word out about your program.  I have a sign up sheet on my table for parents to make appointments with me.

What are your Back to School Night plans?  How do you plan on connecting with parents?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mission Statement

I thought it was important that I create a mission statement for the Counseling Services program I created at my school.  I use this statement to shape my program and it is the very essence of my beliefs about school counseling.

The Counseling Services Department at ANY School USA aims to create a “Community of Peace” by helping all students, staff, and parents capitalize on their strengths, and reach high levels of academic and personal achievement. The program consists of a variety of proactive services including individual and group counseling, classroom guidance, parent and teacher consultation, referral services, and community outreach. 

This statement is displayed on my school website, and in my office. 

Do you have a mission statement for your program? 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

PEACE Leaders

Another component to my PEACE program is to engage 7th grade students in a leadership role. I asked teachers to nominate students they felt embodied all the C.A.R.E.S. traits, as well as demonstrating leadership amongst their peers. I call these students PEACE LEADERS.

This is the first year I have student leaders, and I am still working out how to best utilize their skills. My goal is to have them engaged in some type of community service project for our school and/or community. Additionally, I would like to start a peer mentor program. Lastly, I would like to provide them with leadership training, and team building activities.

Do you have students leaders? How do you capitalize on their talents?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Peace Pals

Every month I ask teachers to nominate one student they feel best demonstrated all the traits(C.A.R.E.S) emphasized in the Peace Pledge.  These students I call Peace Pals.  Peace Pals are celebrated by receiving a prize from my prize box, their pictures are placed on the Peace Pal bulletin board, an opportunity to recite the Peace Pledge over the morning announcements, and a special pizza party!

It is my philosophy that if we want students to stop bullying each other, we must teach them HOW to be nice.  It is simply not enough to say stop being mean.  As school counselors I feel its our role to create a school climate where students feel HAPPY & SAFE to come to school.

Do YOU agree or disagree with my philosophy?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ice Breakers are FUN!

One of the first things I do in every group is an icebreaker of course!  Icebreakers are so important as they help put students at ease, and set the tone that group is a fun place to be!

One of my favorite icebreakers is Two Truths and a Lie. It is played as follows:

1. Ask students to think of three statements about themselves.  Two of those statements should be something true about who they are, what they like to do, eat, or play. The other statement should be a lie.

2.  Have one student at a time announce their three statements to the group.

3. The remaining group members guess which statements are true and which one is the lie.

Students just LOVE this!

In any group,  it is always a goal of mine to make it feel different then class, more special, more intimate, more fun! Icebreakers are so important in achieving this goal.  What is your favorite icebreaker?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What does a School Counselor do?

I use the heart box below to talk to students about my role at school.  I fill it with different items that are symbolic for a school counselor's responsibilities. 

The HEART BOX is a symbol for loving and caring. School counselors love and care about ALL students

An ICE PACK cools you off when your hot.  School counselors cool you off when your angry or mad.

A WATERING CAN helps flowers grow.  A school counselor helps students grow and learn about themselves!

SUNGLASSES protect your eyes and see things in a different light.  School Counselors protect their students, and help them see their problems in a new way.

TISSUES are used to your dry eyes.  School Counselors wipe away your tears when your sad.

EARPHONES are used for listening to music.  School Counselors listen to students when they are happy, angry, sad, etc.

BAND-AIDS are for when you get a boo boo. School Counselors can help you when you have a boo boo on your heart(Place band-aid on heart box for a visual).

This is a fast and effective lesson to market yourself and program!!! Let everyone know ALL the WONDERFUL things you do!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world" Nelson Mandela

WELCOME BACK! Are you energized and ready for the school year ahead?

Friday, September 2, 2011

C.A.R.E.S Peace Pledge

 Every Morning the following pledge is recited during the morning announcements. A pledge is a FANTASTIC reminder to of the behavior we expect at school.

I pledge to keep the peace at ---- School
I will show Cooperation my listening to the rights of others
I will be Assertive, respecting my own rights and other peoples rights
I will be Responsible doing what I must
I will show Empathy by caring for the feelings and rights of others
I will practice Self control, having control, over my thoughts and actions
Every day, everywhere keeping the peace buildings my character

The "peaceful" character traits emphasized in the pledge spell out the word CARES(how great is that). Also, notice the picture of the world with children holding hands around it.  Does this look familiar to you? It is the same logo on the carpet in my office!  Stay tuned to find out the programing and the marketing I have done using the pledge as my foundation.

Does your school have a pledge?  How do you remind students of the behavior expected at school?

Parents & School Together

One my goals last year was to create a parent bulletin board where parents could view important notices or information about things going on in the school and community.  Unfortunately, this goal got pushed to side and never made it to fruition.  So it was top of my list this year!  Check it out below:

Do you have a parent board at your school?  If so, how do you utilize it?

**A shout out to my Aunt who helped me create this board -thank you**

Thursday, September 1, 2011


I mentioned in my first post that organization in the school counseling world is everything! I can't emphasize enough how imperative it is to get organized and set the foundation in the beginning to prepare for the second half.  To help set my foundation I like to sketch a tentative timeline of the important things I want to accomplish each month. 

Nothing gives me more joy then crossing a "to do" off my timeline at the end of each month :)

Here's a peak of some of my "to do's" for September:

1. Hold a lunch group for students new to school

2. Organize after school groups

3. Class lesson to introduce myself, program, and Bucket Filling Campaign

4. Communicate to parents and staff my goals for the coming school year

5. Set up bulletin boards

I can check off number 5 already.  Check out my character word of the week bulletin board below!