Keeping Our Students Safe

As School Counsellors and educators one of the biggest responsibilities we have is to keep our students safe .

How do we do that? Very carefully and with much thought and effort as well as an understanding of the research around what works best. Bruce Perry founder of child trauma academy states that active shooter training is not always done properly , the training that occurs in schools should focus on adults. He says, “if the educators and people who are responsible for children remain calm then the students will reflect that emotional state”. Read more about what he says here.

What can be done? The answers are complex and require teams of people to assist. That is where a Comprehensive School Counselling Plan comes in. School Counsellors are always looking at ways to make school better for students, putting the psychological health and safety of students as a priority. We need to get students the help they need long before a serious threat occurs. The answers are not easy , but those who have learned before us can teach us some things we may need to know. Take a look at these recommendations from the Sandy Hook advisory committee.

As stated in that report , “There is at least one place, other than a home, in which every person, whether a child or adult, should feel absolutely safe and secure from the threat
of physical harm: school. ” I could not agree more. School Counsellors can take the lead along with staffs to make schools a safe place to be. Mental health literacy is essential for all students and staff members. Building relationships is one small step towards creating a community that focuses on what is important.

Working to ensure that we have a safe and caring school community is always on the mind of a professional school counsellor. Best practices should be reviewed and reflected upon each year based on individual school needs. School Counsellors are in a unique position to assist in preventative measures helping students to deal with stressors and social isolation. We also know it takes a team and we don’t have all the answers, but there are many things we can do and are doing already. We are but one of a community of people that make a difference. We as School Counsellors can help make our schools a safe place to be.

Connect With #SCCHAT the first Wed. of every month

SCCHAT is an online monthly chat on twitter for School Counsellors, School Counsellor Educators, grad students from across the world and really it is for anyone interested in School Counselling.

Check out our co-moderators here.

If you’d like to collate the chat you can use waklet. Check out the how to video below…

Mark Your Calendars

Sept. 4th 2019 6:30 MT 8:30 ET

It’s All About Relationships

Tonya Romine @TromineTonya and Joanne Brisebois @BriseboisJoanne

Oct. 2nd, 2019 6:30 MT 8:30 ET

Trauma Informed Schools

Kathy L’Heureux @CounselorLaroo  , Joseph Batiano@MrBatianoR1
and Susan Spellman Cann @sspellmancann

Nov. 6th 2019 6:30MT 8:30 ET

Attendance Matters: Getting Kids to School

Angela Avery @MrsAveryBMS and Kelly O’Brien @missobrienweav1

Dec. 4th 2019 6:30 MT 8:30 ET

School Counselors + Library Staff: Partnering to Promote Future-Ready Students

Angela Cleveland @angcleveland and Lakisha Kidd @kiddcounselor15

Jan. 1st 2020 6:30 MT 8:30 ET

Counsellors Role in Restorative Practices ACES 

Leanne Lazar @lazar_leanne and Shawn Adkins @sadkinsump

Feb. 5th 2020 6:30 MT 8:30 ET

Thriving School Counseling Programs – National School Counseling Week
Erin Mason @ecmmason and Angela Avery @MrsAveryBMS

March 4th 2020 6:30 MT 8:30 ET

A Date with Data: Using Data to Enhance your School Counseling Program

Rawn Boulden@rawnboulden and Nicohl Webb @CounselorPCE

April 1st 2020 6:30 MT 8:30 ET

Mental Health Literacy
Erin Luong @ehordyskiluong , Cynthia Morton @c_morton
and Susan Fuller @EElementarySC

May, 6th 2020  6:30 MT 8:30 ET

Interrupting Racism with Laura Ross @LRossSchCnslr and authors Rebecca Atkins @counselorup and Alicia Oglesby @aliciakolglesby

June 3rd, 2020 6:30 MT 8:30 ET

To be decided. Maybe YOU would like to co-moderate. Let @sspellmancann know what topic and who you would like to co-moderate with.

We look forward to seeing you in #scchat this year.

Walk Along With Me

I am always looking for ways to improve myself, but this year I am on a mission as I fully recognize that I am aging and so are those around me. I lost my dad in June to his fourth heart attack. I recognize that he had extra time to live life after each heart attack that most people don’t get. However, his quality of life had diminished greatly. His final passing seemed to be a wake up call for me.

Life is fragile and I want to live my best life being fully mobile into my 70’s 80’s 90’s and ….

So NOW is the time to take care of myself. Yes, I know I should always put myself as my top priority on the healthy living list, but haven’t always done so. I have been very fortunate to have had a positive mindset waking up each day to look at the bright side of life ( I believe I was partly born this way ). The rest was who I chose to surround myself with and the hard work on my part to take care of my mental well being.

I have always been active physically. I have loved sports my whole life and continue to find ways to exercise. This past year July 1 st 2018- July 1 st 2019 , I walked every single day and I am very proud of this accomplishment. I walked even when it wasn’t the best time to walk. Through sickness and sorrow I found the strength to walk.

Starting July 1 st 2019 , I decided that I would set new goals to be the best me I can physically, mentally , and spiritually. So each day I am putting the focus on how I can reach my goals. I am keeping a journal every day so that I can track my progress. I plan on getting a personal trainer this fall making a commitment to myself to be free of any negativity that hinders my goals.

Thanks to those of you who walked along with me last year. It truly made a difference to me knowing that you were watching the videos that I posted on twitter. You are part of the reason I was able to accomplish my goal, it made me accountable for sure. This year although I won’t be posting near as often , I am still posting knowing that you will support me as I work at living my best life.

I thought turning 60 would be hard and it was in some ways , but really I have so much to be grateful for. As I get closer to 61 I intend to make each day even better. I need to live my life to the full potential I deserve, being as healthy as I possibly can . So look out 61 here I come …

Resources

As a School Counsellor I am always looking for resources. Here are a few great ones I have found that you might like too.

Worry Box Click here for more information.

Worry Buckets Irrational Rational Thoughts … click here for more information

Printing on Post it notes . Click here for some great how to’s . Here is a free template to download. Here is Tony Vincents great instructions.

Check out this free blogging template

Creating an e book with google slides. Here is how.

You Are There For A Purpose

Each day as a School Counsellor you have an opportunity to impact a child’s life in a way unlike others are able to do. Never ever lose sight of that. It might be a small action that touches a child’s heart and makes a difference for a lifetime. You have the time to truly listen and understand what it is a child needs and how to help them in a way that can change their perceptions of themselves and the world around them. It is a gift you have been given to give away , so treasure the moments that are right there in front of you each day as you enter your school. You are there for a purpose.

Ways To Get To Know Me Better

At this time of year I know some of you are already preparing for next year, so I thought I’d add a little way to get to know your students and their stories better. If you’d like to do this yourself and share with me, that would be great too. Have a fabulous summer. You deserve it!

Inspiring Leadership Begins With Me

“There are scores of people waiting for someone just like you to come along, people who will appreciate your compassion, your encouragement, who will need your unique talents. Someone who will live a happier life merely because you took the time to share what you had to give.” Leo Buscaglia

This week I am fortunate to attend the Inspiring Leadership Form at The University of Regina. I look forward to listening to women who have had many challenges in life and turned them into opportunities to learn and grow and inspire young women to take leadership roles at an early age. As Dr. Vianne Timmons says to make sure we surround ourselves with others who lift us up.

Presently, I am running a leadership group for a group of grade five students. I recognize that in order for them to take on leadership roles, I must model positive leadership and expose students to as many leadership opportunities as I can at an early age.

Being a leader isn’t always easy. It involves being brave, having courage, love , hope, passion, risk, self awareness, strength and trust among many other qualities. Sometimes it means having a thick skin, not allowing negativity to stop us from reaching higher. Having a growth mindset helps young leaders learn that failure is not a bad word. It is how we learn and grow and gain the strengths to be positive leaders in many ways throughout life. We each have a role to play in being leaders.

As School Counsellors we are in a unique position to not only model leadership , but to provide opportunities for students to thrive as leaders of today and tomorrow who are advocates and not afraid to become the kind of people they are meant to be … not perfect, but full of potential helping to make this a better world.

Collaboration and connecting with other leaders will help us to find our voice and be the kind of leaders our young people need.

Inspiring leadership begins with me and I hope with you too.