Sunday, July 6, 2014

It All Started With a Mouse.....

          As I returned from the ASCA 2014 conference at Disney, it is impossible to not feel inspired by the creativity of the location, but the great work done by so many school counselors.  During the exhibit, School Counselor Central was buzzing with attention as participants wanted to know: "What is School Counselor Central?"  I also overheard some shout outs: "School Counselor Central, wow, I follow you online on Facebook!" or "School Counselor Central, love the ideas you share on Pinterest!"  Everyone seemed to be amazed when they actually met the person behind the tool, and all of the endless hours of resources provided to school counselors through different social media sites!

          I decided, why not share the background so everyone could understand what is School Counselor Central!  As Walt Disney once said: "Let's never loose sight that it all started with a mouse!"  As a great fan of Walt Disney's work and creativity, I, Dr. Deborah Hardy, would like to use the same quote, but in a different light:

School Counselor Central,, started with a mouse!

          As a many years past NYS School Counseling President, I had the opportunity to learn about the ASCA Model, and engage a team of school counselors to co-author the NYS K12 Comprehensive School Counseling Model.  A school counselor for many years, and currently a Director of K12 School Counseling as well as a Counselor Educator, I believed that if school counselors implemented a model, it could become a changing experience for the profession.  I had just defended my dissertation topic on the research related to the implementation of a K12 school counseling model and perceptions of school administrators with respect to school counselors in NYS.  Results indicated that there was a need for a tool to show the effectiveness of a school counseling program, the importance of the role of the school counselor and so much more!

          Housing all of the required information was overwhelming while servicing students and families.  How could school counselors work smarter and not harder.  I remember thinking that technology offered so many ways to support our profession other than using Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Access, and other programs.  Then trying to find everything to present to the district, also took so much time!

          Forward to 2010 and after many discussions with different groups and corporations, the idea of bringing to life School Counselor Central was no longer a dream, but a reality.  With a little help of family and friends, testing the site, developing the program, School Counselor Central is the only web based subscription program to support all of the comprehensive school counseling model components and support 7 of the 12 RAMP requirements.  The Facebook page, Pinterest boards and Twitter messages are resources to help each and everyone of my followers with incorporating new ideas into their school counseling programs.

          Now I ask my fellow school counseling colleagues:  what stops you of joining the many school counselors who have embarked on using  I heard First Lady Michelle Obama give an inspiring speech on the importance of school counselors.  I saw so many workshops related to developing data, lesson planning and RAMP.  So why not work smarter by making a difference, and showing the powerful impact school counseling programs have on assisting students with academic, social, emotional, career, and college readiness skills?

          As I left ASCA's Conference, I was proud of my vision.  I was excited to hear the positive impact I had made to the profession with School Counselor Central.  I was honored to know that everyone felt a trust in the program as it was created by a school counselor with a dream and a mouse!