What have you done that you are proud of?
As a middle school counselor, there are countless things I am proud of: from making a connection with a student who seemed "unreachable;" to convincing a parent to try a new strategy in the home; to helping a teacher feel empowered; but the best work I have done is in the area of transparency. I am proud that my counseling team meets with administrators regularly, speaks at PTSA meetings, sends out a weekly counseling newsletter, and serves on district- and site-level committees. I am excited about the work I do teaching mindfulness, preventing/addressing bullying and violence, helping kids get academically on-track, and connecting them to their future through college-and career lessons. The reason I can do all these things is because our students, parents, administrators, district, and community members know what we do and why it's important. Without transparency, we lose effectiveness. When people know what we do, and our true role, they want us to do more of it!
How has your work made an impact on your community, school, agency, classroom, clients or students?
I have been a counselor long enough now to have my groceries at Trader Joe's rung up by one of my former students. During that process, he thanked me for all of the time I spent with him to help him get on track. At the end of the school year when I am starting to feel run-down and exhausted, I get a flood of heart-felt "thank you" notes and gifts to let me know that what I do is deeply appreciated. I have a box where I keep them, and I literally have hundreds and hundreds of notes that serve as a reminder that I am blessed with the ability to change lives. In addition to the anecdotal impact, our counseling department closely tracks our data for our classroom guidance, college/career lessons, organizational boot camp, at-risk interventions, group counseling, and other programs we run to address student need. We have the charts and graphs to show that what we do makes a profound impact!
What evidence can you share that demonstrates this impact?
We collect data on everything, but one example is from our 6th grade Career Interest Inventory lessons. Below is our post-test response data referencing the following question: I am able to think of at least three jobs that would be a good match with my personality and likes/dislikes. We are thrilled that after the lesson, all of our students surveyed could think of at least one career match!