“If you aren’t at the table you are on the menu.” – Michael Enzi I heard this quote several times at the American School Counselor Association Leadership Development Institute prior to the conference. This has really stuck with me as I have begun to plan out my year. How can a school counselor make sure they have a seat at the table? I am very lucky that at my school that I chair the school climate committee which means I get to be a part of the school improvement team. At the school level it is important that school counselors are a part of their school’s school improvement team. This is where the building level decisions are made and where a school counselor can be instrumental. However, there are so many other opportunities for school counselors to be a part of the conversation in education.
The best place to start is to become a member of your state’s school counseling association. Most school counseling associations offer opportunities for school counselors to get involved through various events such as Legislatures in Schools Day, Hill Days, Legislative Day, and many others. In North Carolina, the Department of Instruction’s School Counseling liaison depends on the association to make sure that there is representation on every type of committee that would involve a school counselor at the state level. If your state has a Student Services liaison then subscribe to their list serve.
Most importantly keep up with your data! Data can be an important tool when advocating for yourself as a school counselor. Present once a year at a faculty meeting with your results, ask to present to your school board, participate in school counselor week, and most importantly don’t be afraid to speak up! We are our best advocates.
As you begin to plan your school year add one thing to your list of “to dos” that involves advocating for the profession. It may seem like just one more thing to do, but if it in the end it can help you to advocate for your role it’s worth it!