School Counseling Needs Assessment

Thursday, December 21, 2017
This is the second in a series of posts all on how I map and plan my core curriculum; the first was on my vision for curriculum mapping.

I posted a quick pic on my instastories about my needs assessment this year and got a few requests for more info after. Questions about my needs assessment were also the number one thing I got emails for after I presented at a local conference. I cannot claim to be an expert with them but I am happy to share more about how I create mine, what's on it, what's worked, and what hasn't.

While I'll use google forms for my pre/post surveys regarding less effectiveness, I needed my needs assessment to be hard copy. I was creating it a little last minute this year and could only conceptualize it on paper. Some fast facts about my needs assessment:

  • It's only for 2nd-4th grade. My co-counselor services "the littles" and did something separate for them. Our district mandates Second Step be used for our Kinder core curriculum so that's a whole different thing all together.
  • I give my needs assessment at the very end of first quarter for the following reasons:
      • The first month or so of school is a 'honeymoon' period. Issues and problems and areas for growth aren't as evident then.
      • It gives my teachers time to get to know their students.
      • I do my 'must do' lessons for the year in first quarter, and do small groups first quarter based off of lingering concerns in May, so I don't need the results for curriculum mapping until right before Q2.
      • Our end of the year program evaluation in May also provides us guidance for first quarter.
  • It has three parts:
      • Classroom Lesson Needs: I get pretty specific here about what types of topics might be covered under a particular theme because I've realized that 
      • Small Group Needs
      • "Etc" Needs

Looking for specifics? Here are some pictures of one I got back from a fourth grade teacher.

Some counselors are hesitant to be as specific as I am in listing out potential themes/topics that I could cover, because it feels a bit like a teacher "selecting" lessons they want. While I understand this concern, 1) I feel like there's still a lot of room for my discretion in this and 2) I'm actually not totally opposed to teachers "telling me what to teach"! While I certainly have a different perspective on the students, I may be aware of additional needs, and I have an objective view of whole grade levels, my teachers are still the experts of their homerooms.

Also, teacher investment in a lesson = teacher reinforcement of a lesson = student's apply the learning and grow!


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