August marks the beginning of the school year and one of the busiest months for school counselors.
- Review your personal calendar to be sure that you have recorded all dates for conferences and counseling events that you plan to attend.
- Check to see that you have recorded all dates for parent presentations, test administrations and any other activities on your school and district calendars. Reserve your times now. Don't forget to reserve any rooms in your building that may be critical for your presentations or testing.
- Unpack and organize all ACT and SAT test registration materials. Place fee waivers, disability forms, extra order forms and other important materials in a secure place.
- Prepare and distribute a calendar listing test dates for the year for faculty and staff. Include: ACT, PLAN, PSAT, SAT, AP, and any tests required by your district or state.
- Prepare a schedule of classroom visits for the first month of September, and disseminate the schedule to the appropriate teachers whose classes you plan to attend. They will appreciate the advance notice.
- Make final adjustments to student schedules to resolve course conflicts and to reflect summer school attendance and credit earned by examination results or completion of correspondence courses.
- Review information regarding schedule change policies/procedures, first day plans, and other critical early school year events with campus administrators.
- Review new student information and folders and prepare their schedules.
- Conduct new student/parent orientation events or sessions.
- Prepare and distribute a list of new students for your faculty and staff. This will alert them to these students to assist with a positive transition. Review this list carefully with your nurse, as new students frequently visit the nurse's office if they are having adjustment problems and do not feel well.
- Meet with new students near the end of the month to monitor their adjustment.
- Meet with new faculty and staff to present information regarding the counseling department and services. A nice touch is to include food or candy. During the meeting, supply the staff with a handout of frequently asked questions about counseling issues. The following questions are listed as examples of situations that a new staff member may encounter:
- What is the procedure a teacher should follow when a student requests a schedule change?
- How does a teacher access student information such as test scores or a previous year's grade in a course?
- How is a teacher to handle a request from a student who asks to go see the counselor?
- Prepare bulletin boards (or enlist parents or students to help) with pertinent counseling information such as college nights, test dates, etc.
- Post (or enlist parents or students to help) all test dates, parent sessions and other pertinent counseling information on your school's Web page.
- Prepare a senior information sheet to use in visits to senior classes.