This year I was new to what felt like everything… new school, new grade levels (switched from middle to elementary), new area, and a very different population in terms of needs and background.
My first instinct was to settle in for a little while and build relationships with some staff members before jumping into data. I know some may disagree with this approach but I felt like I needed to earn at least some of the staffs trust and get some buy in before sending out a needs assessment.
This school year I sent out 3 needs assessments – 1 towards the beginning of the year (about 9 weeks into the school year), 1 following winter break, and 1 at the end of the year.
My initial one had a broad focus to give me an idea about what the staff felt was needed in the school. My mid-year assessment stemmed from learning that there was a high need for a social-emotional focus. My end of year assessment asked for feedback from staff, provided information for my annual goal, and gave me a great amount of direction for next school year.
I was a little nervous about getting feedback from the staff but overall it was really positive. This year I made it anonymous but I think in the future I will ask for names. This was actaully a suggestion from my admin. I sent out the needs assessment and a reminder email but I still didn’t get full staff participation. I am assumming this is due to end of year testing and busyness in general. If I ask for names I will be able to send out a reminder email to those staff members who didn’t complete the form. It will also allow for staff members to know whether or not they actually completed the form since google allows you to limit 1 response per email.
You can see a copy of my end of year needs assessment below:
As I built this needs assessment I looked at several school counseling needs assessments I found online. I borrowed a lot of The Helpful Counselor’s categories and format. I asked teachers to check off the 5 most important topics instead of using a likert scale. I used the 1-5 scale in my first 2 assessments but found that many topics came up as a high need. I decided to use check boxes so I would get a better idea for the most important needs of our school. Exploring School Counseling blog also has a few needs assessment examples for students, families, and staff.
As I was working on this blog post I found another format that really emphasizes the ASCA model within the needs assessment. I may consider using Alachua County Public School’s format in the future.
Not sure how to create a google form? Head over to Educational Technology for a step-by-step guide to build your first google survey.
With that said, I really like using google forms as a base for my needs assessment. Not only is it user-friendly, but it also analyzes the data for me!
I’d love to hear how you create your needs assessments and what works for you.
Thanks for stopping by!