How I Schedule Sessions With Students

 

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When students are in crisis, of course I shuffle around any meetings or appointments so that I can attend to the student(s) in need. However, for students who want to talk to me without any immediacy and who do not want to miss any core classes to do so, I have a system in place to schedule individual sessions during the week.

Keep in mind that I have plenty of walk-ins, but as the only counselor at my school, scheduling students tends to make things run much smoother. I’ve also found that many students would rather make an appointment with me than constantly stalk my office hoping to find me at a time that I am not with a student, in a classroom, or in a meeting.

 

Referral System

I’ll start off by sharing the ways my students can refer themselves to individual counseling.

Lower School

In the lower school (which is housed in a separate building from my office), there are a few ways that students can make an appointment to see me. Most of the lower school students tell their teachers that they would like to meet with me; then the teacher e-mails me the child’s request. This is helpful in the scheduling process because I already have a line of communication open with the teacher to ask for the best time to pull the student.

Lower school students can also simply ask to make an appointment with me when they pass me in the halls or see me at recess. {After which I immediately hurry back to my office and write it down because I can never seem to remember anything anymore!}

Middle School

Middle school students have a few additional ways to refer themselves to counseling. Since I am in the same building as the middle school {and directly across from the only water fountain in that hallway}, I tend to get a lot of foot traffic outside of my office. Most middle school students will stop by my office to schedule an appointment on their way to get water or on their way to class. If there is not a pressing issue, and especially if they are adamant about not missing time in core classes, we agree on a time to meet during recess, lunch, or a specialist {i.e. library, music, study skills, etc.}.

Middle school students can also fill out a referral form in person or online. I have paper referral forms directly outside my office door that students can fill out and slide under my door if I am not available, and middle school students have access to the same form on Google docs {which is great for the students who don’t want others to know they’ve requested to see the counselor}.

 

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Another reason I make appointments with the middle school students {other than it makes life easier} is that I think it builds responsibility for students to make and keep appointments. If a student forgets, I will go get him/her from class, but most of the time my students remember their appointment times and show up for their sessions.

 

Keeping Track of It All

With 500 students and 1 counselor, the list of students I need to meet with per week is a long one. Having a system to keep track of these students is crucial for me to ensure no one slips through the cracks.

Throughout the week, I keep a running list of the students I’m supposed to see in my to-do list notebook. Each time I have a session, I cross a child off of my list {which is such a nice feeling!}

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I also keep a weekly calendar to keep track of all of my student appointments, parent meetings, classroom lessons, etc. I would be TOTALLY lost without this.

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Every time I make an appointment with a student {or retroactively after I see a student}, I write his or her initials and grade level next to the time of the session. This system helps me visualize and organize my days, and it is also a great way for me to keep track of case notes. After I finish my notes for a session, I put a check mark over the child’s initials to indicate they are completed. I also do this after I write notes for parent meetings and phone calls and after I present a lesson to a class. Check marks just make me feel as if I’ve accomplished something, so it is also motivation to get to my case notes in a timely manner.

 

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Of course a big part of the school counselor job is being flexible, so I always write my appointments in pencil so that they can change as the needs of my school change.


How do you schedule your students? Comment below with your ideas!


 

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