Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Why Every School Counselor Needs a Magic Wand

This post is dedicated to Dr. Charles Easton...thank you a million times over!

Waaaayyyyy back in mid-1990's, I started my internship for school counseling. I was placed at Eastern Alamance High School in North Carolina. My site supervisor was Dr. Charles Easton. A robust man with a thick salt and pepper colored beard and glasses. He had a great spirit, a hearty laugh and a good heart. The students loved him. I enjoyed my months with Dr. Easton and he taught me so much. The next semester a long-term sub position opened up at one of the local elementary schools and I was able to finish my internship hours there. I was blessed to be paid as a sub and complete my hours at the same time. When it was time for me to start at the elementary school, Dr. Easton gave me a present. He gave me a magic wand. I looked at him like he was strange. It was a clear stick with a substance in the middle. The substance had glittery orange and gold stars in it. The top...Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame character with a cape, crown and staff. It also has some turquoise and purple ribbons tied to it. He told me that when in doubt, all I needed to do was use my magic wand with the students or for myself and everything would be ok. Well, sixteen years later I still have that magic wand. It sits in my pen holder on the desk of every job I have ever had. When I worked at a high school, the students would grab it and ask me what it was and why I had it. I would tell them it was a magic wand and that it makes things ok. I never received a snide remark. I believe everyone needs a magic wand. Pat, an elementary counselor in my division has a bright pink/purple one that lights up and makes a brrrnnng sound when she pushes the button. she uses it during her lessons to create "magic".  She waves it over the class to see if the students are ready to start. She waves it over students when they need courage to answer a question. She waves it over the class to see if they exhibited good behavior during her lesson. The students all wait to see if it lights up and makes a sound. If it does, then she lets the teacher know and they get a chance for whatever the teacher plans for the class when they are good. She uses it all the time. Magic wands protect you, they give you extra strength, special powers and make all the bad, negative stuff go away! Hint...that's why my logo has a magic wand in the design. 

Consider adding a magic wand to your tool box. My magic wand was gift from someone who believed in me and saw my potential...and that's the best kind of magic to give someone. Now, who doesn't need that?

Enjoy and be extraordinary!

Above and Beyond - Embracing the 4C's

Above and Beyond is a great short animanted video about fostering "super skills" in our students for the 21st century! It's a great clip to show students to get them inspired and to start thinking outside the box!

In an increasingly complex, demanding and competitive 21st century, students need to learn more than the 3R’s they are tested on in school. It’s time to help them go “above & beyond”, by embracing the 4Cs – communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.  - taken from website

The 4C's is a part of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills

Tools and Resources

Friday, March 1, 2013

Get Your FERPA Knowledge On!

Over the past six years, I have become a friend to FERPA. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 is an amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. This amendment, most often referred to as the "Buckley Amendment," became law on November 19, 1974. Simply stated, the law provides parents and students 18+ access and privacy to their school records and the right to inspect the same institutional records.

If your school division does not have a FERPA waiver you may want to create one so that parents can pass rights on to someone else in their absence. Also be sure to check your school board policy.

Below are a several free links that you may find helpful. The US Dept of Ed link has free webinars and be sure to click on the hot topics link as well.

US Dept of Education


Code of Federal Regulations

US Code

Resource for Schools

Brochures for Parents

Rights of the Non-Custodial Parent