October 2017

Tips to Start Your Year

By Sharon Todd and Britane Swank

Wearing the Collaboration Hat

By Sharon Todd, Elementary Vice President

Collaboration is essential in our profession. The short definition of collaboration is working with someone to create or produce something. Each day, we work with others to ensure our students are academically, socially/emotionally and career ready! Without the ability to collaborate, accomplishing these goals is an overwhelming task.

When collaborating, don't be afraid to think outside the box. Collaboration goes far beyond the relationship between a classroom teacher and support staff member. Two years ago, I had to change my thinking and come up with a different way to meet the social/emotional needs of a student. I spoke with our SLP, who also worked with this student, and we decided to co-treat. We saw amazing results and it truly was a win-win experience for all involved in the process. The student didn't have to be pulled out of class by each of us at different times and we were able to combine our areas of expertise to best meet the needs of this particular student. I recognize this would not be an ideal situation for all students and circumstances; however, I challenge you to think about the students in your social skills groups. Now think about other professionals in your building who service the same students. Let’s work smarter, not harder, to support our students!

This year, I encourage you to be a collaborative leader! During the course of the school year, be committed to finding a way to work with families, mental health agencies, social services, teachers, administrators, school psychologists, the school nurse, coaches, the attendance clerk, FRC, OT, PT, SLP, SRO, DPP and other school counselors in your district. And, of course, you can always utilize the board members at KSCA. Happy school counseling!

Contact Sharon Todd at sharon.todd@boyle.kyschools.us.

My Three Back-to-School Rules

By Britane Swank, Middle School Vice President

The beginning of a new school year allows us to get a fresh start every 12 months, with the opportunity to recharge and readjust if needed However, starting the school year can also be challenging in different ways; getting to know new students, staff, administrators, schedules, and all of the other changes that occur during the summer.
To help combat these potential hurdles, I like to begin my year by following three rules when working with staff and students: Be positive, be visible, and be present.

Be Positive
What’s better than a positive attitude and work environment? You, as a leader in your building, can be that driving positive force. Introduce yourself to new staff, offer any help or assistance that they may need, and welcome students to your building with energy and a positive attitude. These small things can really set the new year off in the right direction, and delivery important initial impressions that your staff and new students will carry with them throughout the year.

Be Visible
I want staff and students know where to find me if needed; I want to be seen in the hallways and cafeteria to offer assistance and direction. I try to not schedule meetings during the day the first few weeks of school so that I can be accessible and out of my office as much as possible. I want students to know I am around to help; whether that is to assist with opening a locker, find a classroom, or help calm an anxious or upset student.

Be Present
Walk around the hallways and cafeteria and really pay attention to developing dynamics, get to know your students, and engage with your staff at training and back-to school-meetings. I really focus on establishing connections and relationships as soon as the year starts so they can begin to develop and strengthen as soon as possible.
I hope these tips will help with getting your year off to a great start. I couldn’t be more excited to serve as your middle school vice president for these next two years.

Contact Britane Swank at britane.swank@campbell.kyschools.us.