Tuesday, October 10, 2017


It has been a looooooooooooooooooooooong time since my last post.  A few years of experience have passed by and now there just isn't as much time to write.

Today I feel compelled to write because I AM OVERWHELMED.  So much is going on with our kids.  Here is just a snippet of my day (details and names have been changed to protect confidentiality).

First thing this morning I met with a boy who has been teasing another one and pushing things too far.  The other boy asked him to stop, but he didn't so we had a brief conversation.  To protect the kids I tend to blame the teachers or adults in the building, "I've gotten some reports from teachers that you aren't being kind and respectful to your peers..."

After that I saw a girl crying in the office and brought her to my office to chat.  She is one of our strong-willed 8th graders who has come a long way.  What I love about her is she is always honest.  Lisa was having trouble with her Spanish teacher...again!  She wasn't participating, so the teacher said something to encourage her and Lisa said, "Well, I've got a good grade in here." to which the teacher responded with, "Ummmmm no."  This caused Lisa to explode and run out of the room rather than tell the teacher what she really thought.  It took us a few minutes, but Lisa was able to get herself together and go back and apologize to her teacher.

While Lisa and I were working through her issue, another student, Max, knocked on the door.  He waited patiently till we were through.  Max is also an 8th grader.  He struggles with reading social cues so his perception doesn't always match that of his peers.  Today he and Bri got into it in Drama class.  Seriously, these two have been nothing but drama the last two years.  Max claims Bri is bullying him, but the truth is that he continues to insert himself wherever she is.  If she walks by and says something, he immediately has to ask those around him, "What did she say?"  It is EXHAUSTING.  Today though, I feel we made more headway than ever before.  We worked through some issues that have been going on for 2 years.  It got a little loud and heated for a minute when Bri told Max that he couldn't read people's emotions.  Max admitted that it was difficult for him and if he wronged Bri, he wanted her to tell him directly what he did wrong.  Most productive mediation between those two ever!

Next up was the parent phone call I got from a dad who no longer had custody of his kids telling me their step dad was about to be convicted of abuse and that he too was soon to be serving some jail time for his alcohol addiction.  Could I check in on his son and make sure he was ok.  The son did start outside therapy today.

Then I fit in lunch and maybe spent 10 extra minutes catching up and laughing with my principals and fellow counselors.  I needed that!  :)

Soon after lunch my student who has cancer came in with her dad so we could fill out homebound paperwork so Staci can have a teacher come visit her while she is going through chemo treatments.  Two down, only four more to go.  By the way, Staci looks AMAZING in her shaved head, scars from her surgery showing and all.  She and dad thought she might come to school tomorrow.  We applied for intermittent homebound, meaning that she can come on days she feels well enough.  

Right after I finished with Staci and her mom it was time to coach Heart & Sole, the middle school version of Girls On the Run, a social/emotional running group for girls.  We have 15 girls on our team.  This week our defiant girl with depression didn't show up.  Makes me wonder if she couldn't be successful for the entire day.  That happens sometimes and then she gets sent home.  :(  Our girl with ADHD whose meds have wore off was able to make it and she couldn't focus for more than 20 seconds, causing so much distraction for the other girls.  Another girl in our group told some girls at breakfast some very disturbing things causing her to be put on suicide watch with her grandparents last week.  Our outreach counselor worked with the family on a safety plan and recommended she be assessed at the hospital, but grandma only could commit to staying by her side all weekend long.

Augghhhhhhhhh!  What a full day!  But it doesn't end there.  I then scarfed down a salad and went to our board office for the World Language Committee Meeting where teachers were so passionate about their own languages but made comments and researched topics about other languages that caused offense and lots of heated words.  I just sat there thinking how this meeting was not good for my mental health and that I seriously could have told them I couldn't make it that I needed to take care of myself so I can recharge and be ready for tomorrow.

Mean behavior, impulse control, incarceration and family disfunction, cancer, ADHD, depression, suicidal ideation, lack of social skills, the list goes on and on!!!!  Today these kiddos have stolen my heart.  I love them all so much, but just cannot imagine what challenges they face.  And tonight I pray for each and every one of them.  That they find their strengths and use them to push them forward.  It is an uphill battle for so many of them; fighting battles no kid should have to fight.  I pray that they always have a cheerleader behind them, pushing them to do their best, to shine.  I just want them to have a chance for a better life.  Love them so much...

Monday, July 25, 2016


Today was one of those have-to-wake-up-early-in-the-summer kind of days.  Technopalooza year 4!  I go every year and I always learn something new.  This year I learned about Schoology, Dropittome, Plickers, EdShelf, App Smashing, Augmented Reality, Newsela, Rewordify, Lego Movie Maker, YouTube Converter, and I got some tips on making instructional videos.  Plus I got to see friends, eat scrumptious food truck fare, and win a $50 Amazon card.  School?  #bringit

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Today I had the opportunity to participate in a panel of middle school counselors as we shared our career paths and more with university students in the Masters in School Counseling program.  There were four students, four school counselors, and one instructor, serving as the facilitator.  I wore this shirt:  

I love being able to share the intricacies of my job with future school counselors.  :)  What I realized today is that the information the others shared was also very valuable to me...an unexpected bonus! One of the main points I wanted to share with these students is the importance of networking and keeping current.  I was super excited to hear that the four students plan to attend our state conference in the fall.  Yay!!!

Why do I think conferences are important?

  • Opportunities for growth
  • Leadership potential
  • Amazing professional development
  • Networking
  • Change in scenery
  • Fun!  Fun!  Fun!

This year our state is hosting two phenomenal school counselors for our Saturday Institute.  They are none other than Jeff Ream:  The Counseling Geek and Carol Lawson Miller!  I am so excited to have them in Missouri!!!

Attending conferences and becoming involved in professional organizations is an excellent way to stay abreast of new and changing information as well as to let lose, have a little fun, learn, and share!  Definitely a Win!  Win!

Follow me on Twitter:  @LangeCounselor

Friday, April 8, 2016

PBIS Collaboration

Yesterday our PBIS team went off-campus for a collaboration day.  We looked at what we are doing now and what we would like to accomplish for next year.

Let me just say...we are only looking at tier 1 supports at this time.  As a team, I think we are anxious to move on to learn some intervention strategies to support our tier 2 kids, but at this time, we still need to build a solid foundation school wide.

Let me be honest here...I have been at my current school for three years now.  This is just my second year as a member of the PBIS team.  My first year was a complete whirlwind!  I was new to the building and had just switched from classroom teacher to school counselor.  I was learning the ropes and acclimating to a new school climate.  That first year I saw a lot of misbehavior.  I was confused about our discipline policy.  I knew if I was confused, then surely the kids were too.  While I loved my new position and the people I worked with, I saw a lot of room for growth.

Enter year two.  The PBIS team started strong, asking teachers to use the school wide expectations posted in their classrooms.  Then, we started getting PD once a month on PBIS strategies to support our expectations.  I could see a big difference...and so could the kids.  I joined the PBIS team this second year.  Becoming more involved in the process is something I enjoy.

Now it is year three and I am just pumped about the progress we have made and the growth we still have to come!  I can't wait to go to the Summer Institute and hear from model schools.  :)

One idea I have for next year is to start a new club that will serve as the student side of PBIS.  I would like it to be a service club that models our school-wide expectations.  Since we are the Leopards, the name will be...LEOPARD PRIDE.  So excited!!!

In the meantime, we are working to finish this school year on a positive note.  It is good to be excited about future growth, but sometimes I need to be grounded back to today.  Anyone else like that?  :)

Friday, December 18, 2015

We are an AVID school!

Do you know about AVID?  It stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination.  The mission of AVID is to close the achievement gap by preparing ALL students for college readiness and success in a global society.  Sounds like that fits right into a school counseling program, doesn't it?  :)

My school district has adopted the AVID program district-wide.  Each month we have AVID professional development within our grade level meetings.  After the PD, the teachers are challenged to implement at least one of the strategies learned into their classroom.

This is our third year implementing AVID both in the district and in our school.

We incorporate school-wide strategies for Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, and Reading and we have two AVID classes:  one for 7th graders and another for 8th graders.  Students go through an application and interview process to be selected for the class.

This year our AVID classes have worked hard to market the program to anyone walking in our building.  They have created several signs which are hung all over the building.

The signs serve two purposes:
1.  to educate others about the AVID program
2. to motivate and inspire our students

I love walking through the building and feeling the college and career mindset!  :)

Didn't the kids do great?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Stressful times

I love my job!  I love working with kids and I also enjoy the warm comraderie that we adults share at my school.  I truly feel like I have found my niche.  :)

Let me just say that while I love my job...this post is going to steer into the personal this time.  So...if you are looking for school counseling ideas, this time I will be writing about something very different from my normal blog post.  It might seem a little negative.  I just want it to be honest.  This is what I'm dealing with right now and I thought I would share.

As I continue to learn more and more about being a school counselor, I am given more responsibilities.  This makes me feel confident in my abilities and a little proud that I am being trusted with more.  Along with the positive comes more stressful days.  This year I have my first practicum student.  She is truly AMAZING!  She is enthusiastic and motivated, and very reliable.

 I start to get teary eyed just thinking of the end of semester.  I also realize that along with a practicum student comes even more responsibility...I need to model what a comprehensive guidance and counseling program looks like and carry the burden of proving this through my day to day interactions. 

And here is where it gets personal.  I am recognizing that I need to write down what needs to get done or sometimes I forget to complete it.  I also realize that when my responsibilities increase, the length of my "fuze" decreases.  Add to all this my personal life...and the personal life of my siblings and now I have a knot in my stomach that is hard to release.  I notice that when I talk things out, I tend to feel better, but if I really want to talk all this out, it would be more fair to set up an appointment with a counselor/therapist than to talk it to death with my family and friends.  

So, right now I am super overwhelmed and having a hard time because the stress of the job compounded with family situations all lead to a greatly affected school counselor.  Sorry for the negativity in this post, but I really wanted to share that it truly can feel awful at times, but I am in the HELPING profession and most likely have some connections.  :)  

Can I handle all this on my own?  NO way!  Here is where I need to realize that I am important and so is my health (both physical and mental).  What is the next step?  I think a few counseling sessions might be helpful to work through what I am feeling right now.  

Moral of the story?  Please take care of yourself so that you can help others!  :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

New counselor in year three

This is my third year as a school counselor.  While I believe I have a much better understanding of what it means to be a school counselor now, I still feel like a newbie in many ways.  I still ask lots of questions and warmly welcome collaboration.

This year I do notice that I am taking on a lot more responsibilities. Maybe it is because I feel more comfortable or maybe it is because others believe I am capable (that's a good thing!).  Not sure...

One of my new repsonsibilities is being a mentor to practicum students.  Let me just say that I have a FABULOUS practicum student who is knowledgeable and motivated.  Together we have started three lunch groups to sharpen relationship skills.  We are in week three now and the groups are really coming together!  Since our first progress report just went out on Friday, we are also getting ready to tackle the D & F list togehter.  It is so nice to work with Rebecca and to share what I have learned.  In no way do I consider myself an expert, but I do believe in sharing experiences to help one another.  I know I have learned so much from my co-counselor that I feel whenever I can give back, I should.

Speaking of giving back, last night a few of my grad school buddies and I were asked to come talk with the practicum class.  What an energizing evening!  I remember how helpful it has been for me to read blogs and learn from more experienced counselors.  Now I am getting a chance to pass the baton!  :)

I will say that passing that baton would never have been possible without my two amazing "coaches":  my practicum instructor Ann and Carolyn.  Between the two of them is a wealth of knowledge!!  Not only have they shared their knowledge, but they have also taken us to regional and state conferences and even got out on the dance floor with us!  I really cannot say enough positive things about the Stephens College Guidance & Counseling Program and it is because of everything they have done for me that I will give back whenever I have the opportunity!  Thanks Stephens!