Monday, September 30, 2013

Creating Community

A few posts ago, I shared I was out of school because I was sick. Being that we are counselors, relational people, who love exchanging  information, I might as well share with my "online counseling family" that I have been out sick with my first attack of Multiple Sclerosis.  I missed 6 school days but heading back to work is a beautiful thing!  I have had some serious time to reflect on the loving, empathetic staff I work with. 

It got me thinking: How is community created? It will never be measured by test scores or a school improvement plan. It will never be given a grade and it will certainly not be measured by the state standard.  The role of community is created in between the lesson plans, the lunch breaks, and the hallway chats. It is created in times of crisis, great sadness, and in times of pure joy.
When I think of how my school community has been formed and how it is possible that after just one year, I can feel the pure love from these 50 individuals, I wanted to write a "how to love your staff" handbook and give it to every school in the district.There is no clear cut answer as to how to create community but I think there are a few things that can make a difference:

1. Go out on a limb- Go talk to someone, or join a committee that you do not know about.
2. Cover for your friends, and cover for people who aren't your friends. There will be a day when a colleague can't make their duty, or has a meeting. Help them! That 30 minute coverage you are doing for someone else will be remembered far longer than 30 minutes. It all makes a difference.
3. Complement others. It is easy to judge and say how you would have dealt with this student or that student, but everyone is trying, and a good complement goes a long way.
4. Empathize- Know that everyone has a different story to tell and a history that may or may not be written on their sleeve. You never know what goes on behind closed doors. My entire staff just found out on Wednesday I had MS. The number of texts/emails/conversations that went " BUT I had NO idea?!" are too many to count at this point.
5. Leadership is key- having a strong leader (principal) makes it easier. If he/she is promoting the love, others will follow.
6. Make cookies- I don't know what it is about a little brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla, but it seems to work. Bring them to your work room, put them in the teacher's mailboxes. People who have treats are usually happier- it's just that simple.

Well, I could be wrong, but I think community is the single most important part of work. I will be on Twitter on Thursday October 10th on #ESCChat (Elementary School Counselor Chat) on chat about how to create a healthy community in your school. I would love you to join and share your ideas too!  Tweet me-@SCfromAZ!

Feelin' the love,

Your Floridian Chick!

Reading Kick off!

We are going to hang up this sign outside the library !
Each year our school has a reading kick off to encourage our students to reach their reading goal. Our reading coach created an exciting environment to get students pumped to read a total of 33,000 books from the start of the school year through the end of May. If the goal of 33,000 books is reached, the principal, vice principal, and myself will get PIED in the face by over 500 students! Luckily I enjoy pie, so I will clearly be encouraging our kiddos!

In addition to the school goal, each individual student has an individual goal to read over 25 books.IF they are able to read 25 or more books, they will have a FULL day filled with pizza parties, bounce houses, games, and arts and crafts. I saw this come to life last year for the first time and was amazed by the hard work and planning that was involved by the committee.
Over 500 students, 50+ teachers, and a TON of energy!

 Dreaming of pies,
Your Floridian chick!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Time Capsule!

It is funny how time works.. one minute you are the student, then the next you are the teacher.. or counselor in my case. When our school opened, I was still a student! The first "graduating" class of DBE are just a few years younger than me, but I feel very removed from the year 2002 and what life was like then. In addition to our reading kick off, flag raising, and retirement party dedication, we figured we might as well throw in another event to go along with our theme of the year "Learning takes you places". We opened up the time capsule to find hilarious objects, including a LARGE "cell phone"- which really looked like a house phone, a list of the top 10 movies, TV shows, and games of the year. Our school song was discovered, a newsletter from our first month of the opening of the school, and a price list of lunches offered.

In some ways, life has changed 180 degrees, and in other ways, it seems that time has stood still and that DBE is just as it was in 2002.

Does your school have a time capsule? We will be filling ours again this school year and I would LOVE some ideas on what to put in it! What do you think of when you think of 2013-2014?

Time traveling away,
Your Floridian chick!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Character Train!

Since our theme this year is "Learning takes you places" I decided to incorporate the theme into Character Education! Our Character Train will be growing car by car each month as we work on a different character trait.This bulletin board is in our front office, giving parents, teachers, students, and staff members the opportunity to see our train in action!

What are YOU doing for Character Education this year?!

Chugging along,
Your Floridian Chick!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Getting creative with ways to see our students!

It seems that each different quarter of the year has its own challenges and hoops to jump through. The beginning of the school year is filled with unfamiliar faces, scattered schedules, and meetings galore. With that said, Iit is difficult to see our students during the school day!

We have an after school program at our school called Extended Day (very creative, I know!).  I decided to sign up for this program to help my own guidance program out even a little bit. Each day I spend from 3:00pm-5:00om with about 120 of our students. During this time, I can meet with them individually, in small groups and in their classroom. It adds a little bit more to my day, but it also makes the regular school hours SO much less hectic, and gives me the opportunity to get to know our students even more!

What do you do to make your day less hectic?

A little less stressed,
Your Floridian chick!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


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