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!