Friday, January 31, 2014

Superintendents making time for counselors!

Going along with the theme of these last few posts, I am continually amazed by how large this district is. We have 106 elementary schools alone that cover the city of Jacksonville. The superintendent has a very big job, making sure everyone is abiding by the local, state, and national laws, and try to educate dozens of thousands of little people who will one day be running this country.  When you think about how many different jobs make up a district, the counselors are sometimes left to the waste side, trying to cover 10 different bases all at the same time.

I was pleasantly surprised last week to sit down with the Superintendent himself and ask face to face questions. He invited about 15 counselors  from elementary, middle, and high schools across the district to give him the good, bad, and ugly of what we are experiencing during the day to day of our jobs.

He asked simple questions:
1. What has been your high and low of working in this county.
2. What are your concerns?
3. What do counselors need in order to be successful at their job?

It can be easy to invite people to a meeting, it can easy to ask questions; what I was impressed with was that he actually LISTENED and HEARD what we were saying. There are some things that are going very well, but there are others that need help, and he wants to change that.

Advocating for "your people" is crucial, and I am thankful that he wanted to hear what we had to say.

What works in your district?! What needs help?!

Loving this career,
Your Floridian Chick!

Thursday, January 23, 2014


From previous posts throughout the last 2 years, you can see that I work for a big..big district. While there are pros and cons to the big district, I am happy to report that I have some great news to share. Earlier this month was the School Choice EXPO. The district invited every school to promote what they are doing and share with future students what the school has to offer. In prior years, this was only for magnet and charter schools, yet this year they opened it up to everyone! I work at a neighborhood school, so MOST of our students come to us because they live in the area. We do have the opportunity to a few "special assignment" spots for those out of the area to come to our school. It was a neat opportunity to show our Bobcat pride and let others know what we do for and with our students.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Advocacy in our community

This past Friday goes down in the books as one of the more wild mornings we have had in a while. Our school was nominated by parents to win "Cool School of the week" on our local news station. A large group of students got to school bright and early and production time went into high year. They filmed 4- one minute clips featuring our music program, safety patrols, gifted program, and our very own morning  news production team. While 4 minutes clearly is not a long amount of time, it took over 2 hours to practice and record everything!  It was a great event that students really enjoyed and were proud of.

BUT, it got me thinking about advocacy...promoting what you do or what others do and letting the world know what is great about it. As school counselors, it is critical that we advocate for ourselves. The "Cool School" event advocates for great schools who are trying their best and working hard to achieve their goals. I want to put it out there and see what you all are doing:

What advocacy do YOU do in your community for people who do not have a child at your school, or work in the school system? How does your community know you exist?

what it is with kids and Krispy  Kremes?!
For me, honestly, I am starting to wonder.. does my community know what I do? How can I get the word out there that we are NOT guidance counselors, that we do not sit at our desk all day with a cup o' joe, and we do more than paperwork?!

Can't wait to hear answers and/or to get you wondering the same thing!

Learning new ways to advocate,
Your Floridian Chick!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

January 2014 Goals!

Happy New Year to my favorite blogging friends! The start of the new year brings about some reflection, and a time to look forward to things we want to do and how we are going to do it.

SO, with that said, each first of the month, I will be sharing my goals for the next 30 days. Some will be specific and data driven, others will be subjective and only determined through "the gut feeling". I give all the credit of this idea to the blog The school counselor kind. She is making goals for 2014 and it gave me the kick in the tush I needed to make some difficult goals and push myself.

1. Start the  Speak Up Be Safe in our seven  4th grade classrooms.
2. Finish lunch bunch with three 5th grade classes
3. Start the SS GRIN small group for my 3rd grade boys.

Sitting back on my couch, with the Christmas tree still on, and the television talking to me in the background, it is easy to make set these goals. January 6th I head back to work, it is my intention to complete these 3 goals. I will check back in come February 1st and let you know how things went! This not only shares my counseling ideas, but it holds me accountable to myself, my students and YOU!

Lets get a movin'!
Your Floridian chick

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Holiday presents to staff

I wanted to share a simple, inexpensive present I gave to staff members this holiday. Being the school counselor gives us the ability to work with literally.. everyone.. in the school. I love this part of the job, but when I think about how to buy presents or make presents, I wanted to stay within my budget, but also let people I know that I appreciate them. While the homeroom teachers get presents from their students, many of the "resource" teachers, front office staff, special education teachers, aids, etc. might not get as much love as they should!  I got jelly jars from the local grocery store (the Dollar store also has these!), and made candied pecans.

Candied Pecans:
1 Tablespoon Water
1 egg white beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 pounds of pecans

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Mix together the ingredients and add pecans with a slotted spoon. Place pecans on cookie sheet with parchment paper on single layer.  Cook for one hour. Let cool, separate pecans and store in container. They freeze well too!

I doubled the recipe and made jelly jars for 16 people and had  left overs too:)

The hardest part was waiting an hour to "taste test" these little treats.

It was a little something that staff members enjoyed and I hope you will as well!

Nuts for school counseling,
Your Floridian Chick!