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A school’s guide to human trafficking The United Nations defines human trafficking as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons by improper means (such as force, abduction, fraud or coercion) for an improper purpose including forced labor or sexual exploitation. Human trafficking has no boundaries. It is not limited to third-world countries, and  an estimated 200,000 American children  are at risk for trafficking into the sex industry.  This happens to children all over America, in urban, suburban and rural areas alike. How do human traffickers find our children? The primary answer is the internet; they lurk on ...
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What educators need to know about ‘13 Reasons Why’ "13 Reasons Why" is a popular book and Netflix TV series that is stirring up a lot of emotion and conversation around suicide. However, in some instances, it is seen as a glamorization of suicide. I want to take a look at the events in the book and how can we as educators can speak to the young people we work with about this book and subject. I would first like to state that this book-turned-TV-series is a work of fiction. Yes, it deals with a real-life topic, but the book is not a historical account of an actual person's life. The main character of "13 Reasons Why" is Hannah Baker, a junior ...
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Sexual Orientation: taboo, unspoken, silenced. Although society, and some legal systems, is beginning to recognize and speak about the LGBTQ population, major gaps in understanding and support still exist, especially with students that are struggling to establish their self-concept and understand their role as a member of the LGBTQ community. School counselors are charged with the difficult task of communicating, advocating, and supporting these adolescents in both understanding their sexual identity and their career maturity. Both of these tasks are equally taxing on the adolescent when isolated; however, when that adolescent attempts to simultaneously navigate ...
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13 Reasons Why

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Hello Middle and High School Counselors,  Has anyone felt the need to address this Netflix series with their school/parents/kids? If so, how did you go about addressing it? Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated it!
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GSA clubs are powerful tools that can transform schools making them safer and more welcoming for LGBTQ youth, youth with LGBTQ parents, and straight allies. What is a GSA? A Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) is a student-run club, typically in a high school or middle school, which provides a safe place for students to meet, support each other, talk about issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, and work to end homophobia and transphobia. There are three typical functions of a GSA club: Support, Social, and Activist. GSAs Provide Support: Many GSAs function as a support group and provide safety and confidentiality to students who ...
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It seems like we hear about large-scale tragedies on a daily basis from someone tragically dying at the hands of the authorities to terrorism overseas. No one seems to be safe from news like this, including our students. We were once able to say that school is a safe place for our students, with people who care about them. It was their safe haven from everything on the outside. Well, it has been proven over and over again, that is not the case anymore as we see school violence and shootings on the rise nationwide. With a building full of both adults and students who feel less safe, how do we then provide some healing and strategies on how to deal with our ...
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A former colleague of mine (now retired) at South Philadelphia High School once compared working in an urban high school to being on a rescue ship that goes to the scene of a sunken ship with many kids in the water. "Some of them are really close to your boat, and it is easy to just reach down and put them in the boat with you. Some are farther away, and it takes little more effort to go and get them," Valarie Howard said. "Others are very far away and would take so much time and effort to get to that other closer kids would drown while you're taking time to save them. Sometimes you see something in the kids that are very far away from you, and you decide ...
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School counselors must have many tough conversations with students. However, if we do some ground work in creating a caring relationship with students, then those conversations become much easier to have. What is a relationship of caring? I consider it a relationship of mutual respect where one party (the student) knows the other party (the counselor) has the student's best interest in mind even when the latter is holding the student accountable for his/her actions. How do we build such relationships? We as counselors must first show students we have a willingness to help them and be supportive. We want them to feel and see our concern. On the ...
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School climate has a direct impact on both how well students learn and how they interact with their peers. We as school counselors are seated in a unique, and quite powerful position, to have a positive impact on our school climates. Consider our roles; we are sought out by teachers to aid with academic performance, administrators will consult with us about various behavioral circumstances, and students and parents frequent our office, inbox, or voicemail with a barrage of questions about their current path in school. By having direct access to nearly all stakeholders in the school we hold the power to create positive change. We work diligently every ...
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Emotional Intelligence..... It Does Exist! Understanding emotions may be similar to trying to find other life forms on Mars, but the reality is they exist! Before I dive into why emotional awareness is important, let me address what emotions are. This may seem like a simple phenomenon, but is it? Think about this for a moment; when a person asks you, how are you doing today? and your automatic response is fine, what does that mean? What is fine in relation to how you are actually feeling. That answer comes automatically for various reasons, but it isnt the truth. The Miriam-Webster dictionary defines emotion as a conscious mental reaction (as anger ...
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Sum of the Parts is Greater than the Whole Amanda Sterk www.unmaze.me After fifteen years in education, I have worked on all sides of the fence: teacher, counselor, and administrator. I have also had the privilege of teaching students from elementary through college level, allowing me to see the many different facets of growing up and how the educational system helps, and sometimes deters, that process. Being a high school / college counselor now, I see daily the lack of resources available to parents and students today that are reliable and easily organized for the needs of students. I am often looking for a one-stop shop to guide parents ...
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I was wondering if anyone had a sample schedule that could be shared to show how to schedule classroom lessons for my K-5 classes for the year.
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At my high school we are trying to bring back small groups. Once a staple of school counseling programs, small groups have fizzled out at the secondary level. The reasons small groups have disappeared are numerous. We are making an effort to revive our small groups because, among other things, they are an essential component of a comprehensive school counseling program and an efficient way to deliver responsive services. If you would also like to bring back small groups, I have a couple of suggestions. Calendar The first thing I would recommend you do is decide when you plan to run your groups and add this time to your annual and weekly calendars. ...
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When utilized properly, an advisory council can shape the goals and activities of your school counseling program and serve as powerful advocacy for the profession. Here are some quick thoughts on how to leverage the power of an advisory council. Round up your stakeholders To begin, your advisory council should have representatives from your core stakeholder groups including parents, teachers, administrators, students, and community and school board members. As you begin to think about possible stakeholders, keep in mind folks that are (or could be) powerful allies for the promotion of your school counseling program. Especially consider what Malcom ...
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Preventing the “SUMMER SLIDE” As educators, we are quite familiar with the ever- popular challenge of the “Summer Slide”. The “Summer Slide”, as we have always known it, is when students lose vital academic skills during the summer months. These skills are learned, groomed, reviewed, polished and remediated throughout the school year by hard- working teachers and specialists. For many school districts that have adopted a year-round school model or educators that strongly support it, year-round school is a marketable solution to this challenge. According to the National Summer Learning Association, “ To succeed in school and life, ...
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MEETS The idea of this post came from a few years ago when I had a visit from our district's elementary support school counselor (shout out to Brett Welch!). During this visit, she gave me a suggestion that was passed down from my district level counseling director (shout out to Regina Brown, Henrico County Public Schools!). The impact of this suggestion has changed so many aspects of the delivery portion of my comprehensive school counseling program! She suggested that instead of teaching students about careers solely during a career emphasis period ("Career Week"/ "Career Day") to instead, integrate career concepts through character education ...
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This article was written by graduate students, Gretchen Selzer and Lavon Robinson, in collaboration with Dr. Erin Mason, all members of the ASCA Technology SpIN. Use #ascatech to ask your questions about technology on the SCENE and in social media! In an era of flooded inboxes and endless Google searches, it is ever so important to infuse technology thoughtfully into how our profession communicates. In order to be effective school counselors, we must ensure that students, staff, and families have an avenue to efficiently communicate with us. Creating such an avenue not only enhances our productivity but it can also lead to deeper trust and rapport ...
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What do you want to be when you grow up? As kids, we were asked that all the time, and I bet no one answered, “information security analyst,” “operations research analyst” or “web developer,” just a few of the top jobs for 2016 . When counselors direct high school students to vocational assessments today, students might still not be able to mention those specific careers, only because they don’t know the wide variety of options out there. And that’s the problem with current high school vocational assessments: they don’t point kids in the right direction for modern career paths. The most-used high school vocational assessment is the “Strong Interest ...
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In the media today, there is a wealth words that stigmatize people coping with mental illness: crazy, psycho, nut, whacko. These words can be painful to all those affected. Back in October, ABC chose to re-air a Halloween episode of Modern Family in which the main characters erect a mental hospital themed haunted house (including a sadistic nurse, a patient tied to a bed, and a child in a straight jacket). Many organizations, including the American Psychologist Association, wrote letters to the network asking them to remove the episode from tv (ABC declined). To find out more, check out this article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3295765/ABC-slammed-health-organizations-claims-Modern-Family-s-insane-asylum-themed-Halloween-episode-mocked-people-mental-illness.html ...
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Counselors should support the use of an evidenced based schoolwide program in their schools to address bullying.
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