A little over a year ago, I shared some slides from a presentation I gave on SMART goals for school counselors. Goal setting is important to me for three reasons: 1) I gotta practice what I preach and I tell the kiddos to set goals, 2) in a world of Pinterest, blogs, and TpT, goals keep me focused and 3) goals help us make sure our program is effective.
This year, I made three kinds of goals: personal school counseling goals, program process goals, and student outcome goals. I learn best through example so for those of you that do too, here are mine!
Personal School Counseling Goals
These are goals I have for myself as a counseling professional.
1. Improve my individual counseling.
Refresh myself on solution-focused strategies, incorporate more art, and bring back some client-centered play therapy. This was my strength but as they say – use it or lose it – and I think I’ve lost some of my non-CBT strategies and skills.
2. Incorporate academics more into whole group lessons.
I want teachers to infuse SEL into their instruction and reinforce my messages – I can model this (and help our schools’ low reading scores) by doing the reverse.
3. Be a Positive Patty.
Our school is undergoing some significant changes. That paired with ever increasing pressures and a shrinking budget is a recipe for negativity. I need to be the light.
4. Apply to Present at Another Conference
Last year, I applied to (and was accepted to) present at a semi-local conference for school counselors and administrators. It was an awesome experience and I caught the ‘presenting bug’. In the spring, I challenged myself to apply to present at a different conference this school year. I submitted my application a couple weeks ago and should hear in 11 days if my proposal was accepted!
Program Process Goals
These are our goals for improving our school counseling program and making it the best it can be.
1. Rock small groups.
Conduct pre/post surveys (or collect pre/post data) on 50%+ of my small groups. A couple years ago, I tried to collect data on every group I ran – and much of it was meaningless. Last year, the pendulum was too far in the other direction and I collected next to no data. My goal this year is to be more intentional with small group data. I am also going to give myself more grace in small group session planning and remind myself that the consistency and relationships of it are more important than the activities I come up with. If I come up with super cool plans? Great! If I just build strong relationships and model high expectations? Also great.
2. Do more for the teachers.
Morale among faculty dipped too low at the end of last year. While I certainly don’t think positive faculty culture and climate is the responsibility of the school counselor, I think we are in a unique position to assist with it given our training and our broader view of the school.
3. Start an advisory council.
While I don’t think we are willing to devote our time to applying for RAMP yet, my co-counselor and I want our program to be ‘RAMP Ready’ and we realized that an advisory council is one of our only missing pieces. This is a tricky task at a school with super duper low parent involvement and a mostly ELL parent population, but we see value in this and want to give it a go. (Is it a little backwards to make all these goals before the first advisory council meets? Maybe. But I needed goals in place ASAP and we haven’t been able to convene the council yet).
Student Outcome Goals
These are goals that answer the question: How are our students measurably different as a result of the school counseling program?
1. Following the MTSS model, 80% of students will show mastery (as reported by teacher) of newly taught SEL skill set at completion of each unit/theme.
Our school (and district) values SEL and this is the core of our program. I’ll write more at another time about how we assess social emotional learning.
2. Contribute to the schoolwide goal of each student making 18 months of academic growth.
Talk about a big, hairy, audacious goal! But our new admin is adamant that it can be done and by all means, my co-counselor and I are going to do our part to work towards this.
3. Reduce the number of general education students with 2+ behavior incidents by 33%.
This goal allows us to provided targeted intervention to students identify from last school year as at-risk for behavior difficulties, and to continue to provide quality consultation to teachers at a prevention and early intervention level.
4. Decrease the number of students with 20+ tardies by 20%.
This is our first year making an attendance goal; our school’s attendance is actually one of the best for our quadrant (our district is huge and divided into quadrants and clusters). That said, we hear from teachers all the time about the negative impact these tardies have on students who would otherwise be on grade level academically.
Would I bet money on achieving all of these goals? Nope. I am going to give myself grace. Am I gonna bust it and do my best to remind myself of these goals every day? Yup! For me, this means printing them in a pretty format and having them as the very first page in my planner/binder.
Want your own printable to put your AMAZING counseling goals on? I have one for you! I also included a ‘tip sheet’ to help guide you along, plus some example outcome goals. Fill out the form below to join the email list. And then please comment with some of YOUR goals for the year!