Tuesday, November 11, 2014

RAMP Reviewer

 I spent most of my "free" time the last 4 days reviewing RAMP applications.  My school Re-RAMPed last year and all schools who RAMP are offered the opportunity to have one counselor be a reviewer the following year. I was happy for the opportunity to try on the perspective of the reviewer rather than the counselor whose application is being reviewed.  I was pleased I got a chance to review both schools that are attempting to Re-RAMP and those submitting for the first time.  I also got to review applications from all 3 levels. You can't review any submissions your own state to make it less likely you would know the applicants. The applications are reviewed by 3 reviewers then the reviews go to a lead reviewer who oversees two teams.  It is a very labor intensive process of volunteers.  I do believe the RAMP process has greatly contributed to making school counseling programs better.  My district now has 4 schools who have successfully RAMPed.  I am hoping after serving as a reviewer, I will be in a better position to help other counselors in my district who want to go for RAMP.

Monday, November 10, 2014


There is growing research about self-regulation, how good self-regulation has positive academic and social outcomes, and how it can be developed. Children learn to regulate in 3 main areas: thoughts, feelings, and behavior. An important key to the development of these critical skills is watching and responding to adults' self-regulation. Further, the environment at home and school ideally is warm, organized, and predictable to develop self-regulation. Self- regulation requires forethought, performance, and self-reflection from both the adults and children. There are many programs like the Committee for Children's Revised Second Step or Conscious Discipline (I Can Calm and Shubert series) that can help a school promote self-regulation.  Resources for counselors include "Helping Young People Learn Self-Regualtion" (Chapin) and "Hunter and His Amazing Remote Control" (Copeland).  There are also children's books like Zach Gets Frustrated and Millie Fierce (Manning) that can be used in individual, small group, or classroom lessons. We run groups in K-4 to teach self-regulation and do a lesson in every grade on this important topic.  Out schoolwide Responsive Classroom approach is also aimed at this important concept. One new resource I found was a site that has songs that promote self-regulation, check it out growing-sound.com

Saturday, November 1, 2014

November is National Adoption Awareness Month

Both of my own children are adopted so I relate to this image. We also have many adopted children in my school that I work closely with their families. I also consult with teachers about how to address adoption with their students. For example, we have a new program in our school where Spanish is taught 3 times a week to all students.  They have a big unit on families and require students to do family trees for homework.  This type of assignment is often a trigger for adoptive families.  I encouraged them to teach more inclusive family terms and provide an alternative assignment if students felt uncomfortable with doing a family tree.  For resources to use in schools go to childwelfare.gov/adoption/adopt_parenting/school/teachers.cfm

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mix It Up at Lunch Day 2014

We participate annually in the Teaching Tolerance Mix It Up at Lunch Day held each fall.  The Student Services staff organizes this activity which includes all our students in grades 1-5.  We try a different way to sort the students on a rotating basis. Last year we used various colors of jelly bracelets. This year we had 5 colors of pencils engraved with "Mix IT Up Day 2014" and gave a pencil to each child as they entered the cafeteria.  They sat at a table that had a sign with the color that matched their pencil.  We had sticky notes on the tables and as they talked with a student they don't normally sit with or know well, they wrote down a few facts they learned.  For example, Noah plays hockey and the trombone.  These served as their exit tickets.  When they left the cafeteria they gave their sticky note to a student services staff member to be placed on the giant pencil on the windows of the cafeteria and got to keep the pencil as a souvenir and a reminder to tell their parents about this activity.  To learn more check out this site tolerance.org/mix-it-up

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Free online books for iPad

Educators and parents can get free eBooks on the iPad.  There are over 5000 titles. It asks for your preferences and has many related to counseling including relationships and careers. It also targets the age of the audience. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Unity Day

Make it ORANGE and make it end! Unite against bullying!
Sponsored by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center since 2011

What are your true colors when it comes to bullying? If you care about safe and supportive schools and communities make your color ORANGE on Unity Day. That’s the day everyone can come together—in schools, communities, and online—and send one large ORANGE message of support, hope, and unity. Both counselors and our school psychologist had  ORANGE scarves on today along with over 85% of sthe students and staff.