Monday, February 24, 2014

School Counselor Wear to Work Series-Part II Places to Shop

Now onto post #2 on the School Counselor Wear to Work Series where today I'll talk about places where I get my "school counselor work gear".  I also am so excited to have Allison a first year school counselor from The Sequined School Counselor Blog to join in and share her fav places to shop for work gear. Before we get started I do want to revisit the fact that I am still on my shopping diet & closet challenge (very little shopping and wearing what I already have in my closet) but clearly that doesn't mean that I've done my fair share of shopping (which is exactly why I'm on this closet challenge).  So here goes:

-Where are your favorite places to shop for work clothes and shoes? 

 Allison: My favorite place to shop for everything is Target. I would say 50% of everything I own is from Target -- clothing, shoes, housewares, food. It is so easy to get everything at once and they have the cutest things. I also enjoy going thrifting. Some of my favorite pieces have been purchased from Goodwill or Plato’s closet. I love that you never know what you will find and that there are so many options. 

Andrea:  When I was shopping I’d always been a Banana Republic, Gap & Old Navy shopper and have many of my staple wardrobe pieces from there (they also have great sales).  J.Crew & J. Crew Factory offers a teacher discount, (15% off your purchase with your Work ID Badge) and they make the absolute best cardigans ever (the Jackie cardigan at the regular store and the Clare cardigan at the Factory Outlet, I have one in almost every color). For department stores Macy’s and JC Penny are on my (short) list.  Another place I find clothes is from thrifting!  I love being able to find fun vintage pieces from thrifting for next to nothing prices!  For shoes, I don't have one particular store that I buy shoes from, but I do like certain brands:  Nine West is especially great for work wear (I wear flats 100% of the time which are perfect for moving around as a counselor).  

Scarf: homemade (thanks Lynn), Shirt: Old Navy, Belt: Bebe, Skirt: Thrifted, Tights: HUE (Macy's), Boots: Nine West
Here's my first day of school pic (it's certainly not warm enough to wear this right now, sends warm/spring thoughts out):
Shirt & Skirt: Banana Republic, Belt & Shoes: Old Navy
Shirt, Sweater, Skirt: Old Navy, Tights: HUE, Boots: Nine West

-Are there things in your counselor wardrobe that you'd splurge on?

Allison:   I don’t splurge on much. I would say my biggest (little) splurges are on shoes, which I normally will pay full price for. Another splurge was when my sister convinced me to buy some True Religion jeans -- even then I didn’t pay full price! I got them at a department store in Charlotte for $50. They’re high waisted, super long flared jeans and I wear them more Fridays than not!

Andrea:  I'd like to begin with that as educators we aren't paid the big bucks and especially in my state where our salaries have been frozen for six years, therefore I rarely pay full price for anything.  I’ve been known to watch items for months until the price is right (for me) before I buy them.  I also believe that some things are worth spending a little extra on based on quality (because you’ll be able to keep it for years, hence my overloaded closet and hence the “closet challenge”).  I will splurge on shoes and bags (but again I’ll usually wait until a sale for a better price).  Last year I saw a pair of winter boots that I really liked, by the time the boots were the price I wanted to pay it was spring (that's ok, I got to wear them this year)!  See I'm totally capable of waiting for the right price.

Dress: Thrifted, Belt: Gap, Boots: Coach, Glasses: Kate Spade

-What educator/fashion blogs do you read?
There are also several educators that post their outfit of the day (#ootd) on Instagram where I also get ideas.  
So far 2 months into my closet challenge, it's going well.  I have NOT run out of things to wear and have become quite creative in putting my work attire together (thanks to my fashion blogs and Pinterest).  

Stay tuned for Part III.  Please share some great places you find your wear to work gear.  Pin It

Monday, February 17, 2014

Being Prepared for Your School Counselor Evaluation

Evaluations, yep we all have them but when you meet with your principal/administration team what does your evaluation entail?  Well in NC, this year our school counselor evaluation instrument was changed.  Our standards work directly with the ASCA National Model (but of course) meaning we are to have artifacts/evidence that we're meeting our standards and we have to be observed by someone from administration. If you're interested in seeing our evaluation in NC rubric click here.   So that made me think "how can I prepare myself for this new evaluation"?  So I thought of a way to keep myself (somewhat) organized for this.  Here's what I'm doing to prepare for my evaluation:

-My principal and I met to discuss the new evaluation instrument and how we would work together on artifacts/evidence and the observation (this is also great school counselor PR and lets your principal know all that we do).

-I bought accordion folders from the Target $1 Spot (just got them last week and they have new spring colors, whoot, whoot).  For each tab, I made a label (using a Brother label maker) for each standard (there are 5 standards but some standard objectives overlap).  I keep samples of activities, lessons, bulletin boards, groups, etc that I do by standard.

Accordion file folders from Target ($1 each!)
-I try to take pictures of what I do as a school counselor:  Bulletin boards, (nice) parent emails/notes,  class visit lessons, newsletters, thank you notes from organizations that you may have worked with, school projects that you may have done, professional development certificates, the list is endless.  It's better to have too much than too little to show much you do (although I'm positive that your work speaks for itself, this speaks even louder).   If you have a school Twitter account, that could also serve as an artifact (parent/community communication/collaboration/resource sharing).

Here are a few examples of things I'm using as artifacts (luckily I have this blog to refer to from time to time to remind me of things I do).  I'll also list the standard that it covers (this is for NC but I'm sure you can adjust it to fit your state/school district evaluation).  If you click on the links below each picture, they will take you directly to my original post. 

Your 3 Words Lesson/Bulletin Board:  Embrace diversity in the school community (Standard 2b) & Plan programs for the academic, career & personal/social development of all students (Standard 4b). 

Joyner Gives Back:  Develop, enhance and promote global awareness (Standard 3c). 

ASCA Conference:  Participates in high quality professional development (Standard 5b).

Smore (newsletters):  Work collaboratively with the families & significant adults in the lives of students (Standard 2)

Student & Staff pick me ups:  Establishing a positive school climate (Standard 1b)

Supervising an (awesome) intern:  Demonstrate leadership at school (Standard 1a)

RAK:  Foster a school environment in which each child has a positive nurturing relationship with caring adults (Standard 2)

Are you required to keep artifacts for your school counselor evaluation?  How do you keep track of all that you do, please share. Pin It

Monday, February 10, 2014

School Counselor Wear to Work Series- Part I

Yes, you're reading the title correctly this post is about clothes, fashion, style and of course school counseling.  I'm an avid reader of fashion blogs and Pinterest boards and I thought "I haven't seen much about fashion in the school counseling world" so I checked with another source (blog bestie Danielle from The School Counselor Blog and newbie school counselor Allison from The Sequined School Counselor) and they both agreed there's just not much fashion fun for school counselors out there.  So I decided that a series of posts on school counselor work fashion wouldn't hurt and would be something both fun and different to do.   When I did a Google image search of "school counselor" this is what came up:

Well I am excited that "school counselor" is being used (not the "G" word, yay).  However, I haven't seen too many counselors that resemble this.  I am in no way a fashion expert, although I LOVE reading and seeing fashion and getting ideas to wear for myself and I'll share with you some of what I wear to work.  From reading these fashion blogs, I also decided that for 2014, I would go on a shopping diet and do a closet challenge, which means I can only wear clothes that I already have in my closet (that's the challenge, gasp).  I know I'm not the only one that looks in my closet and says "I don't have anything to wear"!  I'll say that this closet challenge has really made me take time to put something together and has actually been fun.  

In the first of four posts about school counselor fashion I'll be giving a little background about my style at work. 

-How would you describe your school counselor work fashion style?
I’d consider my style preppy with an edge, meaning I like classic looks with just a little something “extra” in it.  I love to wear color and prints and am certainly not afraid to do so.  I feel that you should feel comfy and confident in what you wear  both in and outside of work.  

-What's the staff dress code like at your school?
Dress at my school is very relaxed, staff can wear jeans any day of the week.  I wear jeans only on Friday’s, so Monday-Thursday I dress professionally.  It’s just a personal choice, when I taught high school, I was often mistaken for a student and dressing professional was a way not to be mistaken for a student ( I don’t have this “problem” anymore working at an elementary school). 

-What you wear in the following settings? I have pics and I'll tell you where I bought the outfit from (I love when other bloggers list that info)! 
  • School Open House/Parent Event

Shirt & Cardigan: J. Crew Factory, Belt: Old Navy, Skirt: Banana Republic, Tights: HUE (Macy's), Shoes: Nine West

Shirt & Sweater:  Old Navy, Pants: Calvin Klein (Macy's), Shoes:  BP by Nordstrom
  • Day to Day School 
Cardigan:  J. Crew Factory, Shirt: Thrifted, Belt: Gap, Skirt:  Thrifted, Tights:  HUE (Macy's), Boots:  Nine West

Shirt: Old Navy, Vest: Charter Club (Macy's), Belt: BEBE, Skirt: Old Navy, Tights: HUE (Macy's), Boots: Cole Haan
  • School Spirit 
Shirt:  Staff shirt, Scarf: Gifted, Jeans: Old Navy, Shoes: Converse
Spelling Bee Day (stripes, get it) w/ my fab School Speech Pathologists.  Shirt & Pants:  JC Penny, Shoes:  Nine West

  • Professional Development/Conference/Workshop

  Shirt & Sweater: Banana Republic  Skirt:  Charter Club (Macy's) Shoes:  Nine West
Shirt: Old Navy, Belt: Gap, Skirt: Banana Republic, Tights: HUE (Macy's) Boots: Nine West, Necklace: Charming Charlie's

Stay tuned there's more to share in this series and you'll be able to share your school counselor fashion style in an upcoming post!  

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Monday, February 3, 2014

National School Counseling Week Link Party & Giveaway!

Fabulous school counselors our week of celebration is here (although I think we should be celebrated each and every day)!  I've been thinking  how to celebrate National School Counselor Week at my school for a quite a while (even more since today was my 1st day back after 4 snow days).  I can honestly say that at my school, we (counselor intern Kelly & I) are constantly reminded how much parents, staff and students appreciate what we do as counselors (we do A LOT!)

So here's how we'll be celebrating National School Counseling Week at JYJ:

-My school district will host a morning celebration for all the school counselors to and what we do!

-I made this great banner from Vistaprint to hang outside of my office to celebrate and to let everyone know that it's National School Counselor Week. On a side note I got a sweet deal on this banner last year on a Black Friday sale, for only (are you ready for this) 99 cents!

Celebration banner

Kelly & I
-I put daily announcements on our live morning television school news show on things that school counselors do and how we are here to help all students.  Both Kelly & I even plan to be interviewed during the show on Thursday (this is really a stretch for me, I'm more of a behind the scenes person).

-My principal included a little reminder on her phone message that it was School Counselor Week and also she tweeted out the picture of Kelly & I, which also got retweeted by my school district and local school board member (great school counselor PR).  

-To include staff, I made a little note to everyone (I used Avery business cards) that said "Have we told you RESSENTLY how much we enjoy being your JYJ Counselors? Celebrating National School Counselor Week from Andrea & Kelly".   I attached a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup to the note.  To get more ideas check out Pinterest and look under teacher appreciation.

Counselor treats for staff
-To include other school counselors, I sent notes to a few school counselors that I've met from this blog, conferences, professional development and even counselor friends in my district.  I used post cards & envelopes that I ordered from Vistaprint. I can't say it enough how this blog has allowed me to connect with so many amazing school counselors.  Thank you for reading and sticking with me.  Who doesn't like to receive a little note celebrating what you do?

Notes to other school counselors, you may be receiving a note from me!
-I also have another way to celebrate us by having a giveaway!!!  Raise your hand if you have a book by the fabulous Julia Cook in your counselor library?  Well here's a way to add another to your collection.  Enter in below to win a copy of The Ant Hill Disaster, which is a reactive book to read with children after a man-made or natural disaster. The Ant Hill Disaster helps assure children that through love, empathetic understanding, preparation, and effective communication, they can stand strong, even in the midst of uncontrollable events. This is a book that I think will be extremely beneficial to share with parents as well, as I've gotten several questions on how to talk about tragic events shown through the media to their school-aged children.

I'm very excited about our week to celebrate our fantastic profession!  What are your plans for school counseling week?

Happy National School Counselor Week!

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