I posted a quick pic on my instastories about my needs assessment this year and got a few requests for more info after. Questions about my needs assessment were also the number one thing I got emails for after I presented at a local conference. I cannot claim to be an expert with them but I am happy to share more about how I create mine, what’s on it, what’s worked, and what hasn’t.
While I’ll use google forms for my pre/post surveys regarding less effectiveness, I needed my needs assessment to be hard copy. I was creating it a little last minute this year and could only conceptualize it on paper. Some fast facts about my needs assessment:
- It’s only for 2nd-4th grade. My co-counselor services “the littles” and did something separate for them. Our district mandates Second Step be used for our Kinder core curriculum so that’s a whole different thing all together.
- This fall, I didn’t give out a needs assessment to parents. I have done it in the past, but parent engagement at my school was pretty low and it was a lot of work to have…wait for it…5 parents respond. That said, I think it’s really important to include parent voice and I will be giving it another try next school year.
- I give my needs assessment at the very end of first quarter for the following reasons:
- The first month or so of school is a ‘honeymoon’ period. Issues and problems and areas for growth aren’t as evident then.
- It gives my teachers time to get to know their students.
- I do my ‘must do’ lessons for the year in first quarter, and do small groups first quarter based off of lingering concerns in May, so I don’t need the results for curriculum mapping until right before Q2.
- Our end of the year program evaluation in May also provides us guidance for first quarter.
- It has three parts:
- Classroom Lesson Needs: I get pretty specific here about what types of topics might be covered under a particular theme because I’ve realized that
- Small Group Needs
- “Etc” Needs
Looking for specifics? Here are some pictures of one I got back from a fourth grade teacher (this is the “quick and dirty” one I made just for this fall, before I upgraded it for the following year):
Some counselors are hesitant to be as specific as I am in listing out potential themes/topics that I could cover, because it feels a bit like a teacher “selecting” lessons they want. While I understand this concern, 1) I feel like there’s still a lot of room for my discretion in this and 2) I’m actually not totally opposed to teachers “telling me what to teach”! While I certainly have a different perspective on the students, I may be aware of additional needs, and I have an objective view of whole grade levels, my teachers are still the experts of their homerooms.
Also, teacher investment in a lesson = teacher reinforcement of a lesson = student’s apply the learning and grow!
Start your comprehensive school counseling program off strong (and save!) with this bundle of editable curriculum maps and needs assessments! These EDITABLE school counseling curriculum map templates and sample themes make planning your core curriculum for the year easy peasy.