SCCHAT … What Is It All About?

 

IMG_0030If you don’t know what #SCCHAT is . It is an International School Counsellor Chat that runs from Sept. – June 6:30 MT 8:30 ET . It was founded by the amazing Erin Mason @ecmmason in 2011. You can post in #scchat all year-long at any time of the day no matter where in the world you live. We’d love to get to know you.

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  • We are happy to have you join us this year and if you want to tell us a bit more about yourself please click here.
  • If you would like to learn more about our co-moderators this year please click here.
  • We are wanting to get to know you better so one way to do that is to add your video to flipgrid. You can do that here . 

We have some great topics . Mark your calendars and join in!

MONTH TOPIC Co – moderators
SEPTEMBER 5th 2018 The School Counselor’s Role in Suicide Intervention and Postvention Look for these in September
OCTOBER  3rd 2018 Relationships/Rapport w/ Students, Teachers and Parents
NOVEMBER 7th 2018 Bullying Prevention

“Promoting Positivity & Self-Esteem in a World of…

DECEMBER 5th 2018 Collaborating with Other Professionals in Your Building
JANUARY  2nd 2019 Counselor as Leaders: How do you Advocate for your School Counseling Program?
FEBRUARY  6th 2019 Celebrate School Counseling! (special invite for grad students)
MARCH 6 th 2019 Equity in School Counseling
APRIL 3rd 2019 Developing Positive Relationships with Challenging Students
MAY 1st 2019 The 21st Century Counselor
JUNE 5th 2019 Celebrating Our Year

 

We are so excited to get to know and celebrate you all year-long! You are doing amazing life changing work, so keep it up!

Raise Up Your Voice Canada … It’s School Counselling Week

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As soon as I entered the field of School Counselling I knew I had to be an advocate. I thought as a teacher I knew what School Counsellors did. Was I wrong!!!

Since then my colleagues and I have advocated at a district level to bring more awareness to what we do.  Has it made a difference? YES! YES! YES! Our district is one of the best in the country when it comes to supporting , understanding and recognizing the work that School Counsellors do.

I have also advocated at a provincial level by being one of the voices and president of the then Alberta Guidance Council. Today my friend Erin Luong has taken up that advocacy role in the ATA Council Of School Counsellors and they are lucky to have her.

At a national level in 1999 , I was part of the first delegation of Counsellors to go to China along with my leader and friend Maria de Cicco as part of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association . My administrator and district supported me as a School Counsellor advocate on this journey. It was a once in a lifetime experience that I will treasure and never forget.

Strong leaders are needed to be the voice along with School Counsellors . We need someone in Canada who has the same powerful, inspiring voice as Michelle Obama does here:

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Today although I am semi retired I still want to advocate. I believe School Counselling is one of the most important positions that every school still needs , maybe now more than ever.

So I say Canadian School Counsellors raise up your voices, if you want change , make it happen … be the change!!!!! We need your voice! Being silent won’t produce the changes needed across the country. You are valuable. You do matter . You are needed and you do make a difference.  YOUR VOICE MATTERS!

Want to know how to be a great advocate just follow the #SCCHAT feed on twitter to see how it’s done. Let’s join in Canadians with our world counterparts who are advocating and being the voice for School Counsellors worldwide.

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Digital Citizenship: School Counsellors Can Take The Lead

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“Nothing leaves a deeper impact on students than actually allowing students to see proper social media usage modeled daily by respected adults (parents, teachers, administrators) and by allowing students to use social media properly in the actual space” says Nikki D Robertson in her article Don’t Ban Social Media.

Digital Citizenship becomes even more important daily as students and adults figure out what matters online. As School Counsellors you can take the lead in this area. If you know how to navigate and model proper social media usage , then you will be able to assist the students you serve to do so too.

I know for me learning all the ins and outs was not easy ( and still isn’t ) , but the lessons were so important for me to learn as a seasoned School Counsellor. I am here to say we are never too old to learn and we should indeed continue to discover and educate ourselves. Every day I continue to master new ideas and believe we must start early to teach all students and all staff about digital citizenship.

Daily online, I see school administrators, counsellors , teachers and students who do not understand the basic concept of  EVERYTHING ONLINE IS PUBLIC. Even if you believe it is private … it is not. Many fall into the trap of the Illusion of Privacy.

If you’d like more articles on digital citizenship you can check out my online School Counsellor Talk weekly here.

I hope to see many more School Counsellors take the lead when it comes to this most important area in a comprehensive school counselling program plan. Won’t you join me on this learning journey?

Words Can Change The Way We Perceive Others and Ourselves

Words really do matter. I am in the process of developing an online presentation for adults on mental health and wellness so that they may assist students in their post – secondary programs. As I think about what I will say I recognize that my words matter. What I say could potentially influence educators. What they say to their students could potentially transform what happens for the students and their families. Mental health literacy matters,  stigma matters , words matter.

Sometimes I hear people use words way too loosely when describing someone with a mental illness or someone who has special needs or challenges. They may say so and so is an ADHD kid or so and so is bipolar, an alcoholic etc.  It matters to me when I hear words used inappropriately as I believe strongly that we are people first ( the labels used like ADHD are only a very small way of telling us something about someone). We are so much more. Who we truly are cannot or should not be described in a few words.

So the next time you find yourself using the label first STOP and THINK about the power of your words. Jack or Jill may have a million attributes that are positive and when you use one word to define them you are missing such huge pieces of who they truly are. So eliminate so and so is a developmentally delayed child etc. and say their name and the many wonderful things about them. When you do this you start to perceive them differently. You also begin to treat each human being , each child in your care with so much more dignity and respect.

Words really do matter

Words can bring about acceptance

Words can change our brains

Words can hurt or heal

Words can hold back or help

Words can break hearts or touch hearts

Words can build others up or tear them down

Words allow people to tell their stories

Words give people their voices

Words can challenge us to be resilient

Words can give us the strength to carry on … to give us HOPE

Words can ruin someone’s day or make someone’s day

Words have the power to change others and change ourselves

What words will you use when speaking about and to your students today?

Mental Health Literacy Training

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This week I was extremely fortunate to be Certified as a Trainer for the Mental Health Literacy Program facilitated by renowned psychiatrist Dr. Stan Kutcher

I was excited to be able to participate, as I have known about Dr. Kutcher’s work for a while. I am happy to say all four days were absolutely worth it. I left feeling I had learned many things that will assist me in my professional work and as a result impact the lives of the students we serve in our school community. I also loved his dry wit which absolutely kept me engaged during the process.

The training has fabulous resources for school counsellors, educators and mental health workers to utilize. This program is one of the best I have seen in a long time. It is rich in content, research, and resources.

When it comes to mental health we want students to:

CONNECT

  • With someone they trust like their teacher advisor , teacher, coach or other significant adult in the school who can then assist them in connecting …

CONNECTING

  • With their school counsellor who can assist them in connecting with their doctor, health care provider and or parents to assist them with their mental health concerns

One of important things that  Dr. Stan Kutcher discussed during the four days is the difference between:

  • Mental Health Distress (one example lose your keys)
  • Mental Health Problem (one example a parent dies)
  • Mental Health Disorder/Illness (one example clinical depression)

Too often we do not normalize what young people are feeling. It is normal to feel sad after a break up, but that does not mean the student is in a clinical depression. We need to teach our young people the difference between distress, problem and disorder and the Mental Health Curriculum Guide  does just that. It teaches students and educators the Mental Health Literacy that they need in today’s world based on present day research on the brain.

If you want to learn more you can take a quiz here to get you started…

Below I will share a few of the fantastic resources available. You may want to book a training in your area if you do contact @TMentalHealth

Digital storytelling:

Panic Disorder:

Coping with suicidal thoughts:

http://teenmentalhealth.org/resources/entries/coping-with-suicidal-thoughts/

Depression:

I really hope educators from around the globe will consider this fantastic program as part of any initiative that will benefit every student and family in their school and community.

There Are So Many Amazing School Counsellors Doing So Many Fabulous Things

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CC photo by Yanngarphoto.wordpress.com

School Counselling is so important in every school. It is an essential service that is often not paid enough attention to sadly. What I absolutely know is that school counsellors save lives every day in the world. Some might not think that to be true, but I know that when school counsellors are working with students who are at risk they make a difference. What they do in their offices is preventative work and may go unnoticed because school counsellors can’t tell you what happened because of confidentiality.They might have just saved the life of a child who otherwise would not be around to tell their story.

Social media is also assisting students and school counsellors in a positive way. The work of Dr. Erin Mason @ecmmason, who created SCOPE is helping school counsellors every day in every way .  Dr. Erin Mason from SCOPE is fantastic. School Counsellors in Canada and the especially the US are on board with new developments in school counselling and are connecting to even make things better for students everywhere.

Danielle Schultz @sch_counselor ,the founder of School Counselor Blog is also a leader in the field. You can often find her leading #scchat or sharing great information on her blog.

Speaking of #scchat, it always amazes me that when educational chats are listed usually school counsellor chats are not posted. I know that will change as school counsellors become even more active in many spaces on social media.

Below I am going to list some of the great leaders in school counselling and if I miss anyone I appologize as I KNOW you are doing amazing work with students.

  • Erin Luong @eHordyskiLuong (Alberta,Canada)
  • Julia V. Taylor @juliavtayor (Richmond, VA,US)
  • Kaudri Auvaart @Kadriblaster (Australia)
  • Michelle Brown @Michelle0102197 (Canada)
  • Tamica Collard @TamicaCollard (Texas,US)
  • Chris Polley @Teaching_Intl (Shanghai, China)
  • Trent Langdon @TrentLangdonNL (Newfoundland, Canada)
  • Darrell Sampson @CnslrDarrell (Arlington Virginia,US)
  • Brian Zink @Brian_Zink  (Guadalajara, Mexico)
  • Rebecca Lallier SchCounselingByHeart (Vermont, US)
  • Jeremy Goldman @MRJGoldman (Lutherville Maryland,US)
  • ABurston @jyjcounselor  (US)
  • Rick Scheibner @rick_scheibner (Hermiston Oregon, US)
  • Marci Newman ARHSCounselor (UT,US)
  • Amy Sather @AmySatherBlair (Blair Nebraska, US)
  • Jeannine Jervis @CounselorELEM (Indiana,US)
  • Susan Langan @csfml (Cedar Falls Iowa, US)
  • Carol Miller @tmscounselor (US)
  • Randi Rosenberg  @RandiCounsels (Northern Virginia,US)
  • SchCnslrsRock @SchCnslrsRock (US)
  • Fanciene Sabens @FSabens (US)
  • Marty Stevens@martylstevens (Shiremanstown, PA) who writes the Gratitude Journal
  • Jeff Ream @CounselingGeek (US)

This list would not be complete without the work of a fantastic  school counsellor advocate Russell Sabella @rsabella who is a Professor at Florida Gulf Coast University ,  or Carli Segal @carlicounsels and Dr. Kevin Kelly @EmmausKevinK who are leading #sbmhchat School Based Mental Health Chat another excellent chat related to school counselling.

If you are a school counsellor from another part of the world please connect with us on twitter as we have so much to share and we can help each other grow professionally. It is an amazing opportunity for us to learn together. Please put that you are a school counsellor in your descriptor and if you feel comfortable please put where you are from.

TOP SCHOOL COUNSELLOR CHATS 

For more information about #SCCHAT (School Counselor Twitter Chats, montly school counsellor chats on Twitter, visit http://bit.ly/scchat-info.  #SCCHAT Tweet Up!

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#sbmhchat

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I would so love to see more Canadian School Counsellors #cscchat to be active on twitter and I will do my best to encourage other educators to encourage their school counsellors to join. We are entering into a new way of connecting with each other that will only benefit our students and the educational systems even more.

Please click below to view the Haiku Deck on School Counselling:

http://www.haikudeck.com/p/wlK5Q1ceFG/why-school-counselling . Please feel free to edit and share.

There Are So Many Ways To Contribute

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It is more than a week ago that schools were cancelled because of flooding in Calgary. Calgary would be in a state of emergency  for many more days to come.

It is one of those days when you will never forget where you were and what you were doing. I was staying at my friend’s house and then off to our Bishop Carroll graduation ceremonies with my grade 12 students .We were celebrating their accomplishments and yet mindful of the devastation all around us, but not completely aware of  just how Albertans would be impacted.

I knew that Calgarians would make a difference, but little did I know how amazing the role modelling would be for our students. Our students would have definitely risen to the challenge fundraising amongst other things, but it was the end of the school year. That will come in September, as I know our city will still need help then. Within the first day I received a tweet from the YMCA that one of our students was already helping … no surprise.

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During the next week I would begin to see how much the city was impacted. I felt powerless in the beginning not knowing how I could help.

I recognized that I could give money to the Red Cross , that was easy. I could register with #yychelps, but not sure if I could do the heavy work.

Then came an email from our chief superintendant, Gary Strother, asking for volunteers to help with the cleanup efforts. I don’t usually look at my e-mail after school year ends, but this year I am more connected to my computer than ever before ,so I took it as a sign that I needed to act.

For two days I was up at 4 a.m. and to work by 5:15 because of the coordinating efforts of one of the organizers Ralph Strother along with some amazing people from  Whissell Construction .

Being in the middle of a neighbourhood at East Elbow Park made everything real. I just kept imagining if this was my home and my family, how I would feel and how appreciative of the help I would be.  I know the homeowners did, by the signs and the overwhelming thank you’s and gratitude that was displayed.

As Ralph Strother says, ”it was a huge step forward from unfathomable loss to rebuilding towards recovery… everyone worked shoulder to shoulder responding with no request too small and or seemingly too big dismantling garages, structures and even roofs, carefully, skillfully and even moving all the debris.”

Whissell construction donated dump trucks, front-end loaders, skidsters, trucks, barricades tools and amazing people who worked tirelessly to coordinate our efforts. It was amazing to see all the work being done around me. I am grateful for the small part that I would play to help out.

I have to admit it was hard work. It was back breaking work that some people do everyday (obviously something I am not cut out for on a daily basis) kudos to them, but for now they were adding to their week by volunteering. It made me very happy to be a part of it.

Ways I watched people help:

  • Driving the bus to get volunteers in and out of communities
  • Baking food for families and volunteers
  • First Aid responders
  • Organizing small clean up jobs for younger people
  • Lemonade stands
  • Raking, shoveling, hauling, demolishing, lifting, cleaning

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The list goes on…

There are so many ways people can contribute . Many people cannot contribute physically, but it is just as valuable to contribute in any way you can … JUST CONTRIBUTE.  We need to be grateful for what we have and what we can do, not to feel guilty for what we can’t do. All that we do matters and for today I am so grateful to live in a city of helpers. I do not have to look for them. They are everywhere.

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Click here :

http://www.haikudeck.com/p/U1DekWUNVC/calgary-floods-2013 

and then click on the pictures to move to the next picture in the haiku deck:

Thanks to all my fellow @CCSD_edu  colleagues especially Andrew who helped out and a special thanks to Gary and Ralph for making this happen.

Here are some resources from Alberta Health Services that you may wish to check out: Flood updates and resources…

Alberta Government’s pamphlet Support for Albertan’s Affected by Flood:   http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/Advisories/ne-pha-ahs-support.pdf

Dr. Michael Trew’s Blog (Alberta’s Chief Mental Health Officer):  http://blogs.albertahealthservices.ca/floodcope/

 Mental Health