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.
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. Even if you cannot make the monthly chat because you are in a time zone that just won’t work, jump into #scchat any time of day so we can connect with you and please tell us where you are from. Connecting with School Counsellors from across the world makes us all better!
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 Kristina Holzweiss @lieberrian 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.
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
Check out this free blogging template
Creating an e book with google slides. Here is how.
“You cannot change others ,but you can change yourself.”
Joanne is a High School Counsellor in Calgary, Alberta and got her Education degree from the University of Saskatchewan and her Masters degree in Counselling from the University of West Alabama. Did you know that she loves hiking, connecting and laughing with her team as well as travelling and learning new things?
She wants all her students to know that the most popular students to successful adults – all have had struggles throughout their lives, and not everyone or everything is at it seems. You might tend to think that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, well it is not. As well, she wants students to know that accessing support or help is considered a strength, not a weakness. We all learn from each other. There is always a solution or steps to move towards that solution each day.
Her message to other School Counsellors listen, support, access help for others and yourself, and take breaks. Counselling is so difficult yet so rewarding. draining and energizing. Empower your students, and your peers — it’s amazing what happens when students/colleagues feel supported and valued. Lastly — love yourself, and look for the positives in people and life — it makes your journey so much more fun. You can find Joanne in #scchat and on twitter @briseboisjoanne.
I am grateful to work for a district that supports School Counsellors and School Counselling . Today I get the honour of presenting to my colleagues who make a difference every day. Thanks for all you do! You can find the link to my slide deck here.
Canva is an amazing tool for School Counsellors. You are often the one to help organizes special events, make posters that are relevant to School Counselling , share ideas etc. Canva can help you create all the resources you need.
Twitter is one of the best resources there is for School Counsellors . You can connect with and share resources with other School Counsellors worldwide. Access is immediate and you never know what great connections you can make that help you be better at what you do. You can follow the ATA of School Counsellors and the president of the Council @ehordyskiluong. Check out #scchat here .
Teacher Pay Teachers is an inexpensive wonderful resource for School Counsellors. I did not always support this resource as I felt educators needed to share freely, but now I understand what hard work goes into making these resources and really they are very inexpensive for the work being done. School Counsellors why reinvent the wheel when it is already invented? Check it out on TPT .
Haiku Deck : This is and always has been my favourite app to use for so many reasons. School Counsellors Put A Positive Spin On Your Day .
APPS: There are so many apps that can make a School Counsellors life easier. Here are just a few.
RESOURCES: There are so many great resources and people are the best resource so get connected and share share share. School Counsellor Online Professional Exchange is a resource that you won’t want to miss thanks @ecmmason for creating it! SCOPE
Check out :
Bridget Helms on pinterest .
Carol Miller on pinterest .
Susan Spellman Cann on pinterest.
Other School Counsellors on pinterest.
More resources on pinterest.
Blogging: There are so many fantastic School Counsellor Blogs. Each one is different ,but most have tips and resources you can use tomorrow. Creating your own blog can help other School Counsellors and students
I have been an educator since 1980 and a School Counsellor since 1999, but never have I been so passionate about School Counsellors across the world having a collective voice for the students we serve as well as being a support for each other. As I get ready for retirement I am no less passionate about what I do and what we do in this profession.
I am so hoping during Canadian School Counselling Week and National School Counselling Week #NSCW17 that others across the world will step up and let us hear their voice. Be an advocate for this profession. A special thank you to my American colleagues who often step up to be heard and have made transformative changes in attitudes and practice for School Counselors.
There are so many ways to do this .
- Speak up in your district
- Take on leadership roles at the district, local , provincial, state, and national levels
- Get someone like Michelle Obama to be an advocate for you “School Counselors You Are Heroes”
- Post ideas on twitter, facebook, instagram
- Blog, vlog, and/ or podcasts
- Share your BIG ideas on advocacy
- Share, share, share (we are better together)
- You can make a difference
- You do make a difference
- You can make change
- You can stand up for students and your profession
I am a better person because I collaborate with other School Counsellors. Collaborate with others in your own school, others on-line and others who are and are not educators who all want the same thing a better life for our students.
Let your voice be heard. There are so many counsellors who are focused, determined and willing to give hope to School Counsellors and their students. I would love to see more School Counsellors from across the world STAND UP, SPEAK OUT, and SHARE your wonderful knowledge to others across the world who care as much as you do.
You can if we collaborate with others and one of the best ways to do that is to join us each month as we chat on-line using the hashtag #SCCHAT
Most importantly be grateful for all those who work together to make this a better profession. The unheard heroes who work tirelessly everyday to be the best School Counsellors they can be.
- help the most vulnerable of our populations
- that go the extra mile in the caring department
- assist students across the finish line of graduation
- do small things that matter , but they never find out until years later
- save lives, but are silent
- spread HOPE daily
Remember you are that leader. Don’t wait to be asked , take action TODAY! Yes you, no matter where you are a School Counsellor in the world ,YOU have a voice. Don’t just listen … be that voice so that together we can make not only the positive changes in our own communities that we want , but maybe we can make a change and a difference for some child somewhere in another part of the world that we never imagined we would.
TOP SCHOOL COUNSELLORS TO FOLLOW : here
Worth saying again:
Celebrate what you do with students. Celebrate other School Counsellors and educators every chance you can.
Five years ago I did not paint and now thanks to great friends and my experiences in ETMOOC , I have more confidence and find it one of the most rewarding , therapeutic experiences that I can imagine. I take mini courses and I watch lots of youtube videos to get tips. It is so much fun.
I have keratoconus a progressive eye disease, ( I was diagnosed later in life ) so I think partly that diagnosis has driven me to create visually in case my vision ever gets really poor. Painting is therapeutic and healing for me. I have played sports all my life and I absolutely love to read, both which can bring me flow , but nothing brings me the kind of flow that painting does.
Painting brings me flow the kind of flow that was discovered by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Fifteen hours can feel like five minutes for me. I love that it brings me joy and that I am completely absorbed in the process. It is fun and easy and yes I think anyone can benefit from art and painting. If I can you can too.
I plan on using the painting that I did above, thanks to the online instructions from theArtSherpa ( see below) with our students. Art and Counselling definitely go together . Paintings tell stories often times with hidden messages.
Process for students:
Today we are going to embark on a journey of letting go of any negativity and go with the flow. For the next two hours you are not allowed to say to yourself I can’t . If you hear yourself speaking those words take your note pad and write I can … I will.
So let’s begin this process by being mindful and breathing. Lead students through a short mindfulness process to begin. Let them know that they are going to create a special painting today and that there are no mistakes. They can create their trees and painting anyway they like even if it is different from the paining they see. Like mine birch trees do not produce multi coloured leaves , but I did just because I wanted to visually and I love the effect. This seminar is about being yourself and letting go.
If they would like to follow the step by step instructions here they are:
- Write messages of hope and their dreams for their future in pencil on their canvas.
- Ask students if anyone would like to share their hopes and dreams with others.
- The size of canvas it up to the student. Have students bring the size of canvas they want to work on.
- Divide your canvas into six equal sections. They don’t have to be exact and you don’t have to measure them. Tell students they can estimate. So begin by saying Today we are going to create . We are going to start by painting a rainbow with trees, you can use any method you like to paint your colors on your canvas. I used upwards stokes, but really any would work. Start with red, orange , yellow, greens, blue and purple.
- Guide students through the process being as creative as you like in explaining what they can do next. Constantly remind them it is ok to make mistakes ( really there are no mistakes, but they may perceive them as such). Remind them that their perceived mistakes lead to more creativity and it is ok to be as creative as they wish going with the flow and what their heart wants to paint.
- Trees can be very symbolic and you can discuss this with students.Trees are strong and unique just like each of them. Birch trees can mean new beginnings. You can discuss with students what they believe their trees mean for them. I chose nine trees, but they can choose any number that means something to them. I also chose to add flowers and really birch trees have no colorful flowers, but I like the effect. The lovely thing when you create art just for the sake of it is that there is no right or wrong . There are no mistakes. It just is … creative , how wonderful and freeing.
- The rest of the directions are below in the video. You can watch and create your own instructions.
- Most importantly have fun and trust the process.
Check out the video below for detailed instructions:
If you decide to do this process with your students , please share your creative ideas with me @sspellmancann.
Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life