Wrapping Up Your School Year and Setting Next Year’s Goals
In this month’s post, I have lots of ideas on wrapping up your counseling or social-emotional learning (SEL) program and getting prepared for the next school year! This time of year brings lots of closure as well as thoughts of what exciting programs to start in the fall! Here are some resources to help you with ending your sessions, wrapping up your programs, and planning for the upcoming year!
During lunch or off-times, enlist your students to help you pack up your office (minus any confidential student files, of course). Spend an afternoon organizing various jobs for various students, give them a 30 minute training session and let them go! While your student helpers are working, you can use this time to research some dynamic guidance lessons and group sessions for next year!
Make a List
Start writing down any changes and additions you would like to make in your teaching or counseling program on a “Things to Change Next Year” list. Anytime you have a revelation about something that might work better for you and your students, write it on the list. Then, at the start of the next school year, spend some time transferring the changes you most want to implement into your planner, smartphone, master counseling calendar (here’s mine if you need a template), Outlook calendar, or whatever you use to organize and plan out your year. Once you’ve done this, pick 1-3 of the most important ones and turn them into SMART goals to guide your program planning for the next year!
There are many different ways to effectively wrap up your counseling sessions with students, but all should include discussions throughout counseling of when the final session will be and also discussion about how students can make future contact with the counselor, if needed. Here is a link to a great article about how to end your counseling sessions.
Make a list of those students with whom you didn’t quite finish your work last year; include a note about where you left off with them and what more you can do to support them. Spend some time checking in with them in the beginning of the year to help them get started on the right foot. Often just knowing that someone cares and is available is all the support they need.
Evaluations and Data
Have students, staff, and parents/community fill out a survey during the last month of school to show what they have learned, how they or their students have grown, and ideas on future topics to learn next year. There is a link to my free surveys at the bottom of this post! Principals and administrators love data and data is THE way to get more funding, resources, and staff buy-in to enrich your program. Have every student on campus complete a counseling program evaluation. Additionally, use all of the data you’ve collected as a sort of needs assessment for future lessons and counseling sessions. Collect data on all your groups and lessons through pre-/post-tests, analysis of members’ academic and discipline records, and student surveys. For help with the seemingly overwhelming task of compiling group and guidance lesson data tools, just click the “Group and Guidance Lessons Tools” link on the Resources page of my School Counselor Stephanie website. Present your data to your school leadership team and post your data (with all identifying student info removed!) in hard-to-miss locations like above the copy machine or in the bathroom! FYI- there’s no rush on this- it is perfectly fine to present your data from this year’s program at the beginning of the next school year in August or September.
Unless you MUST be in your office or classroom during your break, STAY AWAY! Think of it this way- batteries don’t recharge themselves while still in the flashlight.
Summer Reading List
I thought I’d end this post with a fun list of the most interesting and thought-provoking books you can read over the summer to brush up on your SEL skill set. Here you go:
- Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown
- Lost at School by Ross Green
- Building School Culture from the Inside Out by JC Pohl
- American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Nancy Jo Sales
- Mindset by Carol Dweck
- The Upside of Stress by Kelly McGonigal
- The Kindness of Strangers by Katrina Kittle
- The Pact by Jodi Piccoult
- Brief Counseling That Works: A Solution-Focused Approach for School Counselors and Administrators, by Gerald B. Sklare
And Last but not Least…
Free Surveys: Student, Staff, & Parent/Community
In closing I’d like to leave you with some free student/staff/parent surveys and needs assessments that you can use to evaluate your programs and gather information on important topics that need to be addressed next year. That’s all for today, Folks. Have a great summer!
School Counselor, TEEN TRUTH