Monday, April 14, 2014

Roadmap to College and Career Program

      Building a Roadmap to College and Career Program

      I apologize for the delay in the blog posts.  Since having hand surgery a month ago, I am taking time to recover and be able to return to posting everywhere and keeping you inspired as a school counselor!

      Last month, we did a program called Roadmap to College and Career.  The goal of the program was to provide workshops on transition issues, financial literacy, and other topics related to college and career.  What lead us to create yet another evening program?  Data!
      You might be thinking "here goes that data word again!", however, as a department we, along with major stakeholders such as central office and the PTA, had seen a major decrease in attendance over the past two years.  Those who attended our programs felt it was beneficial but when you offer a workshop and 20 parents attend when the class has over 270 students, it is important to find out what causes the decrease!  The final result was a program that supported:
       * Increased attendance
       * Collaboration with central office and PTA
       * Workshops targeted to all levels and identified topics
       * Recognition of school counselor expertise

          Step 1: Identify a date that does not coincide with major events in the school.
          Step 2: Establish the workshops and schedule for the program:
               - Began with a keynote from 6 pm - 6:45 pm on the topic of Internet Safety.
               - Made three workshop sessions with 4-5 workshops in each time session.
           Step 3: Work with the department and each school counselor was responsible for obtaining speaker or running the workshop.  Counselors actually ran most of the workshops: Common App, Finding the Right Fit, From Interest to Major, and Transitioning to HS.  We also selected a number of students to participate on the transition panel.
           Step 4: Utilize a system such as Eventbrite for parents to RSVP and the department to get data on attendees.
           Step 5: Send off a survey on the event and always remember to ask about future topics!

       I also would recommend video taping a few of the sessions, with permission, so the community can view some of the workshops they were unable to attend.  What was the outcome?
             * Set budget for the counseling department for speakers for the program.
             * Using counselor time effectively: one evening event instead of several evenings.
             * Infusion of technology resources into the counseling department increasing PR for the department.
             * Collaboration with the community and clear understanding of school counselor expertise!