Friday, June 24, 2016

Mentors" Hope Dealers"

As I reflect on my year some of my best memories were mentoring a brand new counselor and co-leading our district's first group mentoring cohort for new elementary counselors. We had 8 counselors new to our district this year and some brand new mentors. To be sure the newbies all got the basic information and met folks they needed to know for collaboration (like CPS), we offered both individual one-to-one mentors and a monthly cohort meeting. The individual mentors follow the district model that is really designed for teachers, but we had total freedom with the group sessions. We did a needs assessment in the fall and planned our skill based sessions on what most of the newbies said they need: 1) how to set up groups; 2) how to construct and assess class lessons; 3) how to create a core curriculum action plan; 4) how to complete a closing-the-gap action plan... We ended the year with a 10 item reflection survey. The new counselors all appreciated the individual mentors AND getting to know the other new counselors and having the opportunity to discuss cases and "what is going on at your school?" "how do you handle ___?" Mentors are encouragers, models, motivators, and hope dealers. I always try to be the mentor I wish I had. I would have loved the group cohort. Mentoring the next generation of school counselors is very important work.

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