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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Writing it down...

The other day I was on Twitter and came along a blog post by Kara Welty (an educator I follow). She had shared a blog post about her hopes as an assistant principal, you can see it HERE.

After I read it, I was inspired. Basically, she wrote down reflective questions that will help keep her focused on her role as an administrator. I thought this was a brilliant idea! There have been so many moments that I have ran these thoughts or questions through my mind but I have never really put them down on paper. Another idea she had was to post it on her door for parents, students, and staff to see. These were questions she would ask herself and/or others. We often talk about our beliefs and philosophies but how often do we share them with our co workers and students? How often do we refer to them in our day to day?

As I reflected on my beliefs and what guiding questions I feel will keep me centered on the main thing, I came up with these.

S-Is this putting STUDENTS first?

P-Are we PROMOTING leadership (in students, staff, myself)?

A-Will this help our campus ACHIEVE?

R-Are we encouraging RISK TAKING?

K-Are we building relationships? Do we KNOW our students?

It worked out perfect because I believe our purpose as educators is to help create that spark for our students and staff we work with. We want to motivate, encourage, and inspire. We want to promote curiosity, risk taking, and innovation. 

We always talk about the importance of reflection and writing with our students. Sometimes, I think we forget how powerful it can be for us as educators.

What would be your guiding questions? What would be the words or questions you would jot down to help center your focus as an administrator, teacher, or counselor?

-Melanie



Thursday, January 5, 2017

Educator Spotlight: Melissa Ferguson

Hey, y'all! I hope if you're back to school that you are having a wonderful week back and if you haven't went back, then....I am super jealous (haha)!

I must say I am impressed and a bit skeptical all rolled into one. I blogged earlier in the week and my hopes were to have a post each Thursday. Fingers crossed I can stick with it! I am excited for a new "segment" on the blog. It will be called Educator Spotlight. I don't know about you all, but I learn the most from others. Everyday I learn from our teachers, from fellow administrators, from our paraprofessionals, and central office staff. I enjoy talking about education and getting ideas from others. It's so neat hearing a totally different perspective. My vision is to interview different education professionals to ask questions, share their ideas, and have the chance to celebrate how awesome they are. Megan and I may be doing this on Principals with Purpose (you can find that here), as well. So, be on the look out for that!

Today I am super excited to share a little Q&A with a sweet friend of mine. She is the counselor at the school I work at and is a past Kindergarten teacher (teacher of the year to be exact)! Her name is Melissa Ferguson and I thought since it was her first year as a counselor, it would be a wonderful opportunity for her to share her thoughts so far. You would never know it's her first year because she is rockin' it. She also has a new blog called Classroom to Counseling and you can check it out HERE I am beyond excited to read this. Melissa is a wealth of knowledge and I learn so much from her. I have a feeling it will also be quite witty (think Lorelai Gilmore).





So, let's start. 



1.      What has been the biggest change going from the classroom to counseling?

There are two changes that really stand out for me going from classroom to counseling. The not having anyone else on my campus that does what I do.  This is especially difficult, when it is your first year!  I remember my first year teaching, when I didn’t know something, I just went next door J. But now, when I don’t know something, it requires a phone call, email or car drive.  It really did feel like an island at first.  When you are teaching, there is always someone right there to bounce ideas off of, put out fires with,  commiserate with, look at (you know the look – “Oh, my gosh! Are they kidding me right now?!?!”), laugh with. With teaching, you have built in relationships with your class and with your team. You also have built in teacher support on every campus, in the form of administrators and specialists.  With counseling, I have to cultivate that support and sometimes it is not easy to do, when the litany of things that I trying to figure out is ever looming!
That transitions nicely to the second biggest change, going from being very confident in what I am doing, to being reminded EVRYDAY of all I do not know and still need to learn J.
All that being said, I do feel like I have won the 1st year counseling lottery by being on campus with the magical Melanie Acker, not many people get to have an AP that was a former counselor!  Also, my principal and everyone on my campus has been so supportive and welcoming, it has really helped!
2
           What's your favorite activity to do with a student on a first visit?

I love, love, love coloring/ drawing with students.  We can talk and share our drawings and it really helps to facilitate conversations.  It also gives them a chance to know me! 

3     What would be your advice for new counselors?

·         Find your person, both on campus and off.  Someone to talk to, cry with, laugh with and keep you accountable.

·         Don’t be afraid to say that you don’t know.

·         Try out as many documentation systems as you need to, to come up with what works for you.

·         FOLLOW THROUGH – no matter what.

·         SAY SORRY – when something comes up and you can’t follow through until laterJ.

·         Don’t be afraid to ask questions – LOTS OF QUESTIONS!

·         Schedule time during your day for programming.

·         Laugh A LOT!

·         If you are not humble already, you will be…and that is ok.

·         Practice empathy – EVERYDAY!

·         I could go on and on, but I leave it at that…for now J


 I love her advice for new counselors. I think it can apply to all of us in education. My favorite piece of advice that I agree with 100% is "If you are not humble already, you will be....and that is ok." I believe this statement to be so true because we make mistakes, we don't know everything, and each day we are learning together. We have to be humble and give grace because heaven knows we will sure need it some days. At least, I sure feel this way!

You can check out Melissa's blog HERE
You can follow her on Instagram: @ferguson451
You can follow her on Twitter: @clsrmcounselor
Follow her on Facebook at:  Classroom to Counseling


Also, you can now follow Megan and I on Twitter for those of you who read Principals with Purpose
@meganandmel
My Instagram & Twitter: @melroseacker
Megan's Instagram & Twitter: @megangist
 

Thank you so much, Melissa, for being on the blog today. I hope you all have a magical day and thanks for stopping by.






Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy 2017

I hope you all had a wonderful 2016! A fresh, new year and a new school year are the two most exciting times for me. I love how it signifies a fresh start and an opportunity to become better or refine what you are rockin'.

When I began this blog back in 2012 (wow 4 years), I was an elementary counselor. My purpose for this blog was to share my journey at a Title 1 school with a diverse population all while throwing in bits of fashion and lessons/ideas. God has taken me on quite a journey in those few years from an elementary counselor to a middle school counselor, from a middle school counselor to a middle school assistant principal...and now back to where my heart is in elementary as an elementary assistant principal. While my topics may have changed, my purpose hasn't and that is to share ideas and resources, collaborate with you all, and have fun.

Thank you to those that are still hangin' in there and for those of you who have recently started following the blog. It has been amazing getting to know some of you (through Instagram and Facebook) and learning from you. I look forward to 2017 and blogging often is a goal of mine.

I am also excited to share with you a new blog by my friend, Melissa Ferguson. It will be up and running soon and I will share the link with you as soon as it's ready. She has a heart for teaching and counseling and I am eager to learn from what she posts. I mean, y'all.....she is the counselor at the school I work at, loves coffee, and loves Gilmore Girls. Enough said...you will love her.


My sweet friend, Megan, and I will still be blogging over at Principals with Purpose 
Also, a big congrats to her. She was just named as the elementary principal at a new school that will open in Fall 2017 in our district. So proud of her! I know she will impact so many in a positive way!
So...what's happening on the blog you ask?

There will be scheduled posts each Thursday here!!! I haven't decided a time but will post them on the Facebook page as soon as I know!

I also have a freebie for you all to kick off  the new year! I typed this up to put in my planner. It sounds cliche but I was jotting down my "why" after watching a video of Jon Gordon speak and I wanted to have it with me. I thought it would be a positive thing to have up in an office, classroom, or planner.
You can download it FREE here.


I received a message a few weeks ago about whether or not I will be doing an Instagram challenge soon. The answer is YES!!! Below are the details. Please feel free to share!

These are always fun and a great way to get to know each other and get a peek into each other's day. If you participate in at least 4 out of the 5 days your name will be put in a drawing. The winner will get a pack of my fav new Sharpie fine point pens in fun colors (pic below) shipped right to their door (thank you, Amazon)! This is not just for counselors, this is for everyone! :)




 Hope you all have a great rest of your break!