Tuesday, September 30, 2014


By no means do I consider myself a "techie." What I do know is, even though technology can be temperamental, technology can make things easier - way easier. As the years go by in my career, ease of use is important to me and saving time is even more important. I once wrote about my record keeping techniques...my "black book." While I still have my "black book" I have the technology tool that will help you save time and easily help you report out. While I was so fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a part of the development and pilot of the program I talk about below, I do not financially benefit from this company or from those who sign-up to use the program. I just want you to be aware of a program out there that may make the data-collection side of your school counseling life a bit easier. 

Introducing SCUTA (School Counselor Use of Time Analysis) - an easy to use record keeping program for school counselors at all levels. Visit www.counselorapp.com to explore this NEW online tool accessible via computer. While you can also access it via tablet, at this current time, some of the features (such as dragging) do not work as they are designed. 

Not only is the program based on the ASCA National Model, it measures (in real time) a school counselor's use of time. SCUTA can be used for daily/weekly/monthly scheduling, frequency counts, basic student note-keeping, and searches. All information can be compiled in a useful report to share with those who need to know what you are doing daily.

Check out this brief video about SCUTA!!

SCUTA was developed out of necessity. My colleagues and I needed a computer program that could easily compile our use of time in each of the ASCA National Model delivery categories: Direct Student Services (School Counseling Core Curriculum, Responsive Services, and Individual Student Planning), Indirect Student Services (Referrals, Consultation and Collaboration), Program Management and School Support (Program Foundation, Management and Accountability and Fair-Share Responsibility), and Non-School Counseling Tasks. Furthermore, we wanted a program that could allow us to document the specific tasks were were doing daily in each of these categories. We wanted to know the answers to these questions:
  1. Does our use of time match the ASCA recommended allotment in each delivery category?
  2. What is the frequency and time spent on each of the school counseling identified tasks? How about in non-school counseling duties?
  3. Is our school counseling program comprehensive?
  4. Where do we need to make changes as individual school counselors and as a department in order to better service all students?
  5. How can we report what we do as school counselors to our stakeholders? 
  6. Can we use this gathered data to show how we are meeting student needs?
SCUTA now comes in two versions: SCUTA and SCUTAPro. Click here to see/read an introduction to SCUTA and SCUTAPro. The video above is a brief introduction to the basics of SCUTA. The video shows you what SCUTA does - use of time data in a calendar format, frequency/time counts, and printing reports for each delivery category. SCUTAPro gives you much more flexibility and bang for your buck. SCUTAPro contains all that is in the SCUTA version but much more. In the SCUTAPro version, you will not only have the ASCA Delivery categories, but you have school-counseling specific tasks within each category. This option lets you really hone in on what tasks you are doing with the greatest frequency and amount of time. Also, you can enter student ID numbers and enter basic notes (such as: conflict mediation or behavior planning) with each student. You can also enter basic notes for each of the tasks (such as: meeting regarding Career Day). You can then print the search reports. Click here to see the Features of SCUTA and SCUTAPro.

Here are my thoughts on SCUTAPro: I love how everything is color-coded (easy to read), point and click, and the use of time is in real-time. I love how I can use each week's calendar page as essentially my appoint book as I once used in my "Black Book." Using the Student Service Log feature, I can get a list of all services I provided a student. With the Activity Log, I can choose any date or any range of dates and get a log of all I did in that period of time. The Topic Delivery Log will list all I did after choosing a specific task. For example, if I choose, Responsive Services-Individual Counseling, up will come a log of all I did within that task. This is fabulous!!! I can find out the frequency and time spent in each of the school-counseling tasks (by day, month, week, year, etc.) within the Descriptive Statistics page. I can print!  I can print out my calendar and reports, then stick them in a binder. While I like technology and it's ease, I still like seeing things on paper (where I can highlight and put my own handwriting). Yes, I know, "old school", but for me, printing is important. Overall, I appreciate having the statistics at my fingertips, that I can get a log of my services and work within a particular category and/or task, that it is color-coded with point and click, and finally that I can print out reports. No more going through my "black book" at the end of the school year and counting (only frequency data) each and everything I did! 

So, you are probably wondering, how much does this cost? Being an urban school counselor, cost is always on my mind. SCUTA costs $75.00 per year, SCUTAPro costs $125.00 per year and SCUTASD (School District) costs $1500.00 per year (beginning rate for all school counselors in a district). Depending on your situation, you can find a version that meets your needs and is affordable for you and/or your school district. Keep reading for some big news!

I love a great sale and/or coupons that give me significant savings. So, as a reader of Entirely Elementary...School Counseling, you can get SCUTA or SCUTAPro at a discounted rate! Just enter the corresponding Coupon Code found below when you get to the payment page or checkout! Incredibly exciting!

Monday, September 01, 2014

Homework & Positive Behavior Signs

As school counselors and other educators, we are always looking for ways to motivate our kiddos. I made these signs as an option for teachers to use in conjunction with our SWPBIS program. The idea is to have the signs hanging on lockers, placed on desks/tabletops, or hanging from closet cubbies for when the recognized students arrive in the morning. What a surprise they will have!!

The Homework Signs could be used to recognize those kiddos who struggle with returning their homework - but did so on one particular day. Or, they could be used for those kiddos who faithfully return their homework. 

The Positive Behavior Signs could be used to thank those students for the fabulous job they did that day or as a pick-me-up for a student who showed an act of kindness. The possibilities of use are truly endless!

All of the signs can be printed out on cardstock and laminated. For use on lockers, put magnets on the back. For use on desks, either put a magnet at the top to hang off of the front of the desk OR just leave magnet free and put on top of the student's desk or table space in the morning. When laminated, they could also hang from closet cubbies! 

You can purchase these cute signs by clicking here or by clicking on graphic below. Print, cut-out, laminate, add magnets if need be and you're all ready to go! 

The downloadable document includes:

  1. Homework Signs (Homework Hero) with Superhero girl and Superhero boy
  2. Homework Signs (Homework HotShot) with Pencil
  3. 2 Different Positive Behavior Signs with Owl (2 different owls - one holding pencil/paper and one holding a book)
  4. 2 Different Positive Behavior Signs with Boys (faces only)
  5. 2 Different Positive Behavior Signs with Girls (faces only)

Click below to purchase the printables!


Fonts by: Kimberly Geswein
Graphics By: Jessica Weible Illustrations, Melonheadz Illustrations, and JC Sweet Pea Designs

Friday, August 29, 2014

Theme for 2014: Make your Mark!

The new school year is just beginning this week for some of us and for others, it's not too late to get into those classrooms to introduce yourself and inspire your students. Each year I try to find a book that is just the right length, but leaves an important message. This year's theme: Make YOUR Mark!

I found another fantastically simple, but powerful book in Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld. The book talks about how Exclamation Mark looked different from everyone else and wanted to be more like "them." Until one day he met Question Mark who began to bother Exclamation Mark with all of his questions. Annoyed, Exclamation Mark found his powerful voice when he exclaimed, "Stop." He found himself, happy and amazed at what he was able say with gusto and went off proud as a button to "make his mark!"

This is a perfect theme for not only school counselors, but also classroom teachers and principals. This book would be great to use at a faculty meeting with staff. Teachers could read this book and do some related activities in their classrooms. I explain the printables that are available for purchase below...items for school counselors, teachers AND principals! Check them out!

Using the Book and Creating a Theme
1. I will be reading it to my elementary students during my beginning of the year introductory lessons.


2. I made a bulletin board in the hallway by my office that focuses on this concept. I made a giant Exclamation Mark out of fadeless construction paper and then laminated it. Tip - always use FADELESS construction paper. If you are going through all this trouble to make something really cool, you might as well make it to last! Then, I printed out the words/signs on cardstock. These words/signs are available for purchase by clicking on the picture at the end of the post. See the picture below.

3. I made a beginning of the year teacher gift. I utilized Staples $.97 Crayola marker sale and made these adorable exclamation marks. You could also buy Mini Smiley Cookies and tape the individual packages to the smiley face portion of the exclamation mark. Draw in a smiley face, cut two small slits in the paper and carefully slide the marker through the slits. Using a paper punch, punch a hole in the tag, insert a small piece of ribbon and tie it onto the marker. See the picture below.

4. Using those same markers from the sale ad, I made an Open House night parent gift that I will hand out at my table. I printed out the same exclamation marks above and attached the following tags.

These tags could be used by teachers and principals for Open House night! 

Short on Time??

The above printable items are FOR SALE!! Click the graphic below to purchase these items! While you'll have to do some printing, cutting, and assembling, having these printables at your finger tips will be a time saver! 

The downloadable file includes:

  1. Staff Tags #1 (in blue) and Staff Tags #2 (in red)
  2. School Counselor Tags #1 (in green): A School Counselor...
  3. School Counselor Tags #2 (in hot pink): As Your Child's School Counselor...
  4. School Counselor Tags #3 (in orange): Your School Counselor...
  5. Teacher Tags #1 (in jade): A Teacher...
  6. Teacher Tags #2 (in purple): As Your Child's Teacher...
  7. Principal Tags #1 (in yellow): A Principal...
  8. Principal Tags #2 (in navy): As Your Child's Principal...
  9. Large Exclamation Mark (size of 1 sheet)
  10. 3 Smaller Exclamation Marks (for the parent/staff gifts)
  11. Bulletin Board Wording: Go..., Make, YOUR, Mark, On This World, In This World, !

Click This Picture for the Printables!


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Linda's Lessons #5: Summer

My guest writer is back with another Linda's Lessons blog post for Entirely Elementary...School Counseling! I find I always seem to ask her for another blog post when I need a little educational "pick-me-up." The end of summer vacation is upon us and for this installment, she has written about her summers as a teacher (and a mom). Enjoy!

As summer vacation comes to an end, I’ve been reflecting on my previous summers as a teacher. Summer was always a time for me to be a full time mom again. It was time for me to do fun things with my sons, but I also made sure that I did some things to recharge. I’ve thought about it and made a list of some of the things I tried to do for myself each summer in order that the following year would go smoothly. Compare them to your list, and I’m sure you could add to mine.

1. Being a full time mom in the summer to do special activities with my sons was absolutely precious to me. We often went to breakfast or lunch, to the beach, and to family picnics. Summer also included plenty of sleepovers with friends without the thought of school after a fun weekend. In fact, sleepovers could be any night of the week in the summer!

2. Attending a workshop to learn something new to attempt in my classroom the next year was important. I’ve participated in workshops relating to reading, writing, math, behavior programs, inclusive classrooms, and team building. These workshops were always more relaxed, and I was much less stressed and open to learning something new.

3. Organizing/cleaning at home to assure that the upcoming year go smoother was also part of my time. Purging/organizing closets and drawers, shampooing carpets, anything that I could do that would help make the school year go more smoothly was done because I knew I would not have the time to spend on these things when I was teaching.

4. Spending time with neighbors and personal friends was also important. I have many fond memories of impromptu and planned clambakes, Friday night backyard parties, and afternoons at the pool.

5. Strengthening relationships with colleagues on a social level was important, also. It was vital to keep connections with friends at work and relate socially. It often helped when relating professionally.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the stresses of teaching during the school year. It is important to make sure to relax in the summer and take time to recharge physically and mentally. It helps start the next school year with a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm.