Although I am not a newbie at technology, I still consider myself a novice. Over the last three years, I have learned a lot from Danielle Schultz, Erin Mason, Jeff Ream, Jeremy Goldman and Susan Spellman Cann about how to be more savvy at using different modes of technology as a school counselor. Now that I am feeling more comfortable with using different types of technology for my school counseling professional development, it is time to extend my “skills” to my students and parents by creating a educational and functional website.
Last year, Jeff Ream and Jeremy Goldman presented on branding your school counseling program. What is branding? According to Jeff and Jeremy, branding is the promise or big idea about your service.
How do you brand your school counseling program?
1. Create your school counseling message.
2. Market your message to your audience.
3. Gather your data.
One way to market your school counseling program is to create a school counseling website. During ASCA13, Stephen Kennedy put together a presentation on how to develop a “great” school counseling website.
Here is an outline of his suggestions for creating a great website:
Step 1: Decide if you want to use your school’s website or another outside template. Some examples include:
Social media sites like Blogger or WordPress. See Jeff Ream’s post on Building a Better Blog for great tips!
Step 2: Pick a title
Remember ASCA encourages us to use the term school counselor; however, many counseling webpages use the term guidance counselor.
Step 3: Divide the website into categories
Categories can include:
- Class pages
- Career, personal/social, & academic resources
- Parent page
- Group counseling resources
- Individual counseling resources
- Classroom Guidance
- Financial Aid
- Test Prep
- Study tips
Step 4: Link to Outside Resources
1. Choose resources that parents and students ask about regularly. Some that my families ask about include:
2. Consider creating and adding a live binder of all your websites for easy access.
Step 5: Define your role into ASCA mindsets.
Step 6: Consider diversity when putting together your website. Include resources based on:
- Socioeconomic status
Step 7: Formatting
- Limit text to 1000 words.
- Put important information in the center of the screen.
- Limit scrolling.
- Avoid using blinking, entirely capitalized, or scrolling words.
- Colored or underlined text may be mistaken for hyperlinks.
Step 8: Add a calendar
- Classroom guidance sessions.
- Important meetings, tests, and conferences.
- Deadlines for financial aid, scholarships, and applications.
- College tours
Step 9: Add a survey
Step 10: Add a newsletter. A great newsletter to add to your site is High School Counselor Week.
Step 11: Add your own app or other technology apps
Remind – Allows student and parents to sign up for text reminders.
School Counseling Website Development, Stephen Kennedy
In my obsession to create a better website for our school counseling department, I did an extensive high school counseling website search. Using words like best, top, and excellent, I found an expansive list of high school websites. These sites have expansive lists of resources, creative ways of reaching out to parents & students, important information, and much more. Although, I could not include all the websites I found to be great, I thought these schools & districts followed the majority of Kennedy’s recommendations.
Please contact me if you want me to add any additional websites!!
California High School
Cambridge High School
Cary High School
Cedar Falls High School Livebinder
Central High School Counseling
Charlotte High School
Chief Leschi High School Livebinder
Cibola High School
Clarke County Schools Counseling Site
Cypress Ranch High School
La Costa Canyon High School
Lakeshore High School
Lake Travis High School
Lanier High School
Lassiter High School
Lebanon School District
Lehman High School
Linn Mar High School
Louis Dieruff High School
Lynn English High School