Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Highlights from the New York State School Counselor Association Conference



In case you aren't a New Yorker, or perhaps you are but weren't able to attend this year's conference, here are some of the highlights from this weekend.

First, let me me say I was wowed by a fantastic performance of "Don't Laugh At Me" by Peter Yarrow.  He opened up with "Puff The Magic Dragon".  "Puff" was my children's favorite bedtime story.  We read and sang it daily at my house.  Who can't resist the story of little Jackie Paper who played with strings as a young boy and the stories of his wild imagination.  My favorite part of the song, was when Jackie grew up to be a School Counselor.  Peter had a great message, in addition to his songs.  His message was quite simple, let's find peace in this world with each other.  His program, Operation Respect--is available to schools to help do just that.   


Middleschool Screenshot
In addition, I went to some great workshops.  One in particular was on Kognito.  Kognito is an avatar-based online Professional Development training where teachers, administrators and staff learn essential skills to:
  1. recognize when a student’s behavior or appearance may be a sign of psychological distress – such as depression, anxiety or substance abuse - and
  2. manage a conversation with the student with the goal of connecting them with the appropriate support services.
The great part is if you are in New York, the Office of Mental Health has bought subscriptions for New York Schools so the program is FREE.  In New York, the Middle School Program is not currently available, but the High School Training is.  I did call today and ordered on licence to try out the high school program. 

I also enjoyed a few other workshops and networking with other middle school counselors. 

Networking is so important.  Some counselors may be lucky to work in a district where there are several counselors in one building where they can bounce ideas back and forth, but there are others, like me, who are the sole school counselor in the building.  It is important to be able to come together, share ideas, discuss concerns, and ask questions. 

Need some PD opportunities?  Join in by any of the ways below:


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