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!

I Want to Shout It From The Mountain Tops School Counsellors Make A Difference

As we come up to School Counselling Week I reflect on the difference that School Counsellors make and want to thank each and every one of you for what you do no matter where in the world you are.

All too often people do not truly know what School Counsellors do. I recognize you go about your days silently helping a child, so thank you. I think about the many colleagues I have know who worked tirelessly to promote the profession , but more importantly who did small things daily that may have gone unnoticed. They each found ways to do what was in the best interest of a child hoping that life could and would be more positive for them in the long run.

I have been fortunate to surround myself with professionals who notice and know that School Counsellors matter.

There are too many School Counsellors to thank, but know that I am truly grateful for all your support, resources and ongoing help whenever I need it. I know that you are just a click away thanks to #scchat. 

Below you can find some daily announcements that you may wish to use during School Counselling week or make up your own using these as a guide.

FOR YOUR DAILY ANNOUNCEMENTS

Monday: This is Canadian School Counsellor Week / National School Counselling Week. Today we challenge each student and staff member to express your gratitude to someone at school by telling them thank you for… You could even write a post card to them. The cards will be available all week in the Counselling area. Being grateful improves your overall happiness. Do it today! You make a difference.

Tuesday: It is Canadian School Counsellor Week / National School Counselling Week. Today we challenge students and staff to do one small good deed and when you do please post it to twitter, instagram or facebook using your school hashtag. Have a fabulous day. You make a difference.

Wednesday: This week is Canadian School Counselling Week / National School Counselling Week. We challenge you today to take 10 mins. out of your day to exercise or practice mindfulness. Have a great day! You can make a difference.

Thursday: It is Canadian School Counsellor Week / National School Counselling Week. Today we challenge students and staff to let one of your family members know how important they are. Pick up a card in Student Services and tell people what a difference they make in your life and give it to them. Remember you can make a difference today.

Friday: It is the last day of School Counselling Week / National School Counselling Week. Your School Counsellors want you to know we are here for you anytime. Come see us. Today we challenge you to show an act of kindness and try not to get caught (that’s the best kind of kind) . Recognize that you can make a difference.

This week is a time to be grateful and reflect. I am so grateful I have a principal who fully supports a Comprehensive School Counselling Program and if you do too , make sure you take time to thank them.

To you my dear School Counselling friends and colleagues without you I never would be able to do what I do. Together we are undoubtedly better. So join us whenever you can in #scchat . Post often to the hashtag and tell us what you are doing. Sharing , connecting and chatting with colleagues from across the world is the best PD ever.

I want to shout it from the mountain tops that School Counsellors are working everyday to help students in numerous ways in schools across the world even though you may not understand what it is that they truly do.