The Spirited School Counselor

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School Climate: It’s Important

School ClimateOne of my last assignments in graduate school was to pick an area of concern in the field of education. I chose to focus on school climate. This topic is something that I feel is extremely important and there are many reasons why. The primary reason is that it impacts everyone within the school and can have major implications if the school has a negative climate and can create huge gains if it is positive. The good news is that we, as school counselors, can do something about it. School Climate is made up of 4 different areas: safety, relationships, learning, and institutional environment. In my paper I focused on safety & the Olweus Bullying Program; however, there are so many more ways we can focus on school climate. 


I thought to post this information after Beth Mertens (@mertensminute & tweeted out a question looking for examples of school climate surveys. Here are links to examples of (free) school climate surveys:

Teaching Tolerance:

Ontario Ministry of Education:

Survey Monkey (I am not sure what school made this):


Take a peak at what I wrote on the topic here (my online portfolio). 


Thanks for stopping by!




Summer Reading for School Counselors

Summer ReadingDisclosure of material connection: Some of the links in the post below are “affiliated links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item I will receive a small commission. With that said, I only recommend items that I have found useful as a school counselor and educator. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


I recently tweeted out a question to school counselors: “If you were asked to recommend 1 book to a new school counselor what would it be?” I received some excellent book recommendations! I actually just placed an order for 2 of the books, but wanted to share the list here.


1. The Use of Data in School Counseling: Hatching Results for Students, Programs, and the Professionby Trish Hatch (@TrishHatch &

This book received rave reviews from school counselors and was suggested several times. The @CounselingGeek made a great point: “data is key and best to use from start.” I can’t wait to receive my copy tomorrow!

2. 101 Solutions for School Counselors and Leaders in Challenging Times by Stuart F. Chen-Hayes, Melissa S. Ockerman (@MSOckerman), and E.C.M. Mason (@ecmmason).

This is the other book I decided to order. It looks like it is going to be especially helpful since I am new to the profession. According to the table of contents it covers a variety of topics including solutions to the achievement gap, technology solutions, and safety solutions.

3. Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard by Liz Murray (facebook)

This was recommended to me by Lori Morrell (@LoriMorrell1). She shared that the school counselors used this in their after school book club (what a great idea, by the way!).  The book is a memoir of Murray’s story from homelessness to Harvard. This is on my summer reading list, for sure. It sounds like such an amazing story worth sharing with students.

4.  Impact Therapy: The Courage to Counsel by Ed Jacobs and Christine J. Schimmel (

I actually already purchased this book following the Virginia School Counselors Association (@VSCA) conference in March. Several of the school counselors I met there mentioned this book and it was mentioned again as a reply to my tweet. The school counselors emphasized how helpful these techniques have been with students. I haven’t finished the book yet but I already cannot wait to put these techniques to practice next year. If you are looking for ways to reach your students and have an impact then check this book out.


I also received several suggestions that are more focused to working with students at a specific level. Once I am hired as a school counselor I will definitely be adding these to my bookshelf if they apply to the age group I am working with.

Grab Bag Guidance: And Other Small-Group Counseling Topics for Middle School Students (grades 5-9)

Any Julia Cook book (elementary)

Hunter and His Amazing Remote Control (elementary)

Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids (Bucketfilling Books) (elementary)


Looking for even more suggestions? Head on over the The Helpful Counselor’s blog. She has a great list too!


What books would you suggest for school counselors to add to their reading list?

Thanks for stopping by!


Check out the 2016 summer reading list here!