STUDENTS USE TECHNOLOGY TO "CATCH" THE COUNSELORS
It's no secret school districts across the state are facing budget crises that require extreme cuts to programs and staff. Counseling departments are no exception and most campuses no longer have two full-time counselors. The impact to students is limited availability. It's common for students to find an empty counseling office or come when the counselor is with another student, parent or staff member.
So when Jill Adams learned about LEF's Campus Excellence Grants*, she took her vision for increased connectivity to students and ran with it. After securing the support of campus administrators and collaborating with surrounding West Zone middle school counselors, which includes Briarhill, Downing, Forestwood, Lamar, McKamy and Shadow Ridge, Jill and her team applied for LEF's funding and won $4,908 for implementation.
Their project, "Catching" the Counselors: Using Technology to be Accessible to Students All Day, Every Day!, uses added technology and the Ident-A-Kid program so that students who come to the counseling office will be heard expediently while maintaining confidentiality.
The Ident-A-Kid program, a free program already utilized on many LISD campuses, will be configured for students, staff and parents to electronically sign in and request an appointment, report an issue or see the counselor. The sign in process produces a record for the counselor but not one that is visible to others using the computer. This preserves the need for confidentiality and allows students to leave sensitive information. With a pre-selected menu to explain the reason for contact, counselors then can prioritize student follow-up based on need.
The laptop computers, Dymo printers and software provide up-to-the-minute data in the form of reports, as well as hall passes for students returning to class. It aids counselors in measuring accountability and workload by documenting traffic to the counseling office. Additionally, this program enhances counselors ability to manage students needs efficiently so they can provide the best programs and services.
With a potential for district-wide implementation, all eyes are on the success of this new program! Congratulations Jill Adams and your team for striving for excellence to support student success!
*Campus Excellence Grants are made annually and available to LISD campus principals and curriculum supervisors. LEF awards one grant each fall for an amount not to exceed $5,000. LEF's Program Allocations Committee subjects each application to a blind review process and looks for projects providing improvement to various aspects of the campus or curriculum (i.e. academic achievement, community support, parental involvement, student attendance and civitily in the campus environment).