Sunday, July 14, 2013

Component 5 - Annual Agreement

The Annual Agreement is a management tool that outlines how each counselor will use his/her time, specific responsibilities, reflects the school counseling program's mission and program goals, and identifies areas for professional development. It is created and signed within the first two months of the school year. It stipulates the counselor's caseload and scope of work.  The percentage of time aligns with the recommended use of time with 80% allocated to the delivery of the school counseling program or there is a clear explanation in the narrative why it does not. This document ensures formal discussion and agreement about what the program will look like and how each counselor will be working. Some principals may resist signing the agreement initially because they want the counselor to do tasks during the school day that are non-school-counseling duties.  The agreement may need to recognize that re-assignment of tasks takes time.  For example, if the counselor has been spending time chairing student council, an appointment of a co-chair and a plan for that person taking it over the following year could be noted on the agreement and discussed in the write-up.  Some counselors have used the agreement as a way to lessen the time they are pulled away from the counseling program to proctors tests.  It is very helpful to discuss with the administrator the plan for professional development.  Frequently, school counselors are forced to sit through a lot of teacher professional development when it would be more helpful for them to seek other opportunities that build counseling related skills. It can be very useful if the district has informed principals that it is a system wide decision to implement the ASCA model and this is part of the process.

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