School counselors are an integral part of a school system. School counselors design and deliver school counseling programs that improve student outcomes and help students form healthy academic and social emotional goals, mindsets and behaviors. You can often find school counselors collaborating with educators, students, families and community partners to ensure that all students' needs are being met.
In many rural school districts in our ESU 10 service area one school counselor is typically available within the district. It can be difficult for school counselors to find opportunities to collaborate, share resources and to problem solve with other school counselors. Because of this, the ESU 10 School Counselor Network was established during the 22-23 school year.
At the beginning of the school year school counselors were asked to complete a needs assessment to give input on topics of professional development opportunities they would benefit from. From this information two School Counselor Network meetings were planned and held.
The first School Counselor Network was held on October 3rd. Guest presenter, Cheryl Kreikemeier, from ESU 2 was invited to present on counseling program effectiveness and analysis. Counselors learned about setting goals for their program and how to collect data to evaluate the implementation of their programs.
During this meeting, Amy Walters also presented to the group about social emotional behavior supports. School counselors worked in groups to brainstorm and share strategies and interventions they found the most success for de-escalating students and supporting them with regulating their emotions.
Our second and final school counselor network meeting was held February 28th. Beth Reynolds and Kay Glidden from Region 3 shared their experiences and expertise on working with students with trauma. Kay and Beth also shared many resources and tools the school counselors could utilize in their own practice or share with staff members in their schools. To end the day, counselors spent time collaborating and sharing resources on various topics, such as social emotional learning, college and career readiness, program analysis, and school safety.
The school counselors have expressed they are very appreciative of the time to collaborate and the professional development that is offered based on their needs. These meetings have given them the opportunity to meet one another and provide a support system that will continue to grow and develop in the upcoming school year.
I am looking forward to continuing to work with the counselors in this network.