I apologize for the throughly lame title to this post . . . but I honestly couldn’t think of a cute, witty title . . . Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, I promise this will be worth the read!
Last year, I started writing up monthly newsletters for the parents. I wanted to promote my program, so they knew what their child was learning during “Character Education.” During my first year of counseling (as the first counselor at the school), I kept battling parents who were truly angry when they heard their child came to see me or that I went into the classroom to teach a lesson. They figured if their child saw the counselor then there was one of two problems:
1. Their child was spilling all the family secrets
2. Something was wrong with their child and he would come talk to me
and inadvertently, even though he was only 4, he would spill all the family secrets.
As a disclaimer . . . I hardly EVER hear anything about a child’s family from the child. All they want is to be happy. All they want is for someone to care for them, show them respect, play with them, speak their language. So, NO . . . despite popular belief these children are not spilling family secrets to the school counselor. More than likely, he is dealing with little boy problems, like friends calling him, “BooBooBaaBaaHead,” or people knocking down his Lego castle after he worked all indoor recess time building it, or someone “stealing” his crayons from his crayon box. These are the big problems in these little heads . . .
Anyways, I wanted parents to become more comfortable with what I was actually doing with their children. So I flat out started telling them through my monthly newsletters.
Basically there are 3 important things my newsletter covers:
1. Numbers in Counseling: I show the parents exactly what percentage of my time is spent where based on ASCA standards. Since the parents directly pay for my services, they deserve to know that I am advocating for their children ALL DAY LONG!
2. Parent Growth Section: This section is any little article I find during the previous month that I think could be beneficial to parents, teachers, humans in general, etc. At the bottom, I have attached all my newsletters from this year. You can see the variety of articles I write about. Many I just find on Pinterest or on my Facebook group counseling page.
3. Monthly Lessons: Last (in a separate document), I share with the parents all the lessons (and objectives) I will be teaching that month . . . along with which character skill we are focusing on.
All of this information is placed on my website for parents to access. On my page I also feature my Kid of Character Students. I have one webpage for each different homeroom at each different grade level. So yes, that is 17 different webpages I update each month. BUT I find that is has really helped parents understand what I’m doing.
I will often get e-mails from parents thanking me for teaching a certain lesson or asking for ways to follow up with a certain lesson.
So are all my parents reading the webpage? Most definitely not! But the ones that are, the ones that e-mail me to confirm this, they spread the word to other parents and that’s all it takes. It certainly makes it well worth my time and energy.
Below are just a few examples of my newsletters – I certainly can’t attach all of them that would be 17 x 7 . . . WAY too many documents for you to read. But use my examples to get your own monthly newsletter started.
I’m curious how many of you already use a monthly newsletter. Do you have a better way of doing it? A cuter layout? Some great articles? Please, please, please share.
For those of you that don’t have newsletters, would you start one? Would it be beneficial to your program?