Hi SCOPE friends! SCOPE is undergoing some dramatic updates this Fall and we'll be rolling out a new site in January 2014. I can't wait for you to see the new site!
As part of this update we are revamping the blogroll which now lists nearly 90 blogs. While there are many new blogs in school counselor-world, SCOPE wants to maintain a blogroll of those that are relevant and up to date. And...though SCOPE loves to see strong blogs for school websites and school counseling departments, the blogroll is shifting to those blogs that have a clear professional development purpose for us in the field. This means that we are combing our list and cutting it down. The 3 criteria to be on the SCOPE blogroll now include:
1) at least one post per month on average;
2) blog must be authored or run by someone in the school counseling profession - hosting guest authors outside of the field is welcomed;
3) content should target and provide information to those in the field vs. a school community.
If you have a blog that meets this criteria and you want to STAY on or be ADDED to the blogroll, please complete this form for us. You'll see the SCOPE blog change too!
Look for a new SCOPE in 2014 and help us spread the word!
Erin and Danielle
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
I'm reposting this from last year because I never want to forget what that day was like and how it change me, my students and the world we live in. I wouldn't say it any differently a year later...
The morning of 9/11/2001, I sat in a districtwide professional development for School Counselors. I remember that we were laughing at some colleagues doing a skit when suddenly our director interrupted to tell us that planes had hit the World Trade Center and that we should go back to our schools. I'm pretty sure most of us were confused and didn't know what to do next. I called my husband and he was able to further explain the news. I called my parents to check on them. Everyone was okay but we were all in shock, in many ways none of it seemed real. I stopped to get gas on the way back to school because the radio said other major cities might be evacuated. Upon entering school, a rural middle school with nearly 3,000 students, the atmosphere wasn't much different than on a typical day, except in the front office where the phone was ringing off the hook. On the way to my office I stepped into a classroom that had the TV on. Most students were watching but they didn't seem to understand that it was real and a few were being their usual off-task selves. Teachers caught my eye as I continued down the hall, some of them sticking their heads out the door to ask me what was going on. I told them the truth, I really didn't know but that I'd be back to check on them. I slipped my cell phone into my pants pocket, the first time I'd ever done that while working in a school. I called a few close friends in D.C. but the lines weren't working so I emailed them instead and I racked my brain for any connections I or my family had in New York. After I dropped things off at my office, I sought out some of the administrators who were approaching the news with a logistical approach. Emotion wasn't at the surface yet for most of us, they were just trying to determine how to adjust the school day and notify the students and staff. Somewhere just before noon, the principal made an announcement to the school about the attacks and let everyone know that the school day would continue, that parents may check students out early, but that teachers could send kids to the office who wanted to call parents, that cell phones could be used, and that they could revise what they did in their class periods as needed. He made sure to say that the counselors would be on hand and going by to check on each class. The announcement was thoughtfully simple and paid more attention to procedure than attempting to explain then still vague details. In the days ahead, there would be more emotional and reflective announcements from the principal. By this time, the front office was filling up and parents were checking kids out of school for the rest of the day. I spent most of the day checking on my classes but things were surprisingly typical other than the few classes that had opted to watch movies or play games. I had one student who was concerned about an uncle who was traveling to New York. We reached her mom on the phone and verified a few hours later that her uncle was alive and safe. A few parents called my office to check on their children: some came to pick them up, some asked to have them call back and others figured school was a safe place for them to be. Other than that, that day was more about trying to wrap our heads around what had happened and to understand the details and timeline of the attacks. There would be far more work to come in the weeks following as the aftermath unfolded and the reality set in.
The events of 9/11 and the work that followed changed the SCOPE of my work. After those events, I thought far more broadly about the work I did. I gained a much deeper understanding of my role in serving the school as a system, not just serving my caseload of students. 9/11 reignited my attention to social emotional learning, especially as we dealt with verbal aggressions towards some of the Muslim students in our school, and the lack of sensitivity of others, including parents. I understood my responsibilities as a school counselor and as potential model for universal compassion in my building in a much more global sense. I, and my co-counselors, felt the weight of our school community as it struggled to understand the events and its implicit trust in us to help them through even though we felt ill equipped. I personally experienced many a child, parent, teacher and staff member in the weeks after 9/11 who were trying to find answers to existential questions; we had deep conversations in those days, about patriotism, loyalty, fear, terrorism, rage, oppression, suffering and guilt. It was a far cry from the typical talk during a school day but it was where we were at that time. 9/11 unleashed the advocate and leader in me; I understood that my calling to the profession was far larger than I had originally conceived. After those days, I became much more involved in my district and state's school counseling organizations. I became politically active and invested in legislation that impacted students and school counselors, a radical departure from the political apathy I had previously practiced. I needed to do more. I could do more, not because I should but because I was blessed to have a unique set of skills, knowledge and gifts.
It is hard for me to explain exactly the "what" or "how" of the change 9/11 invoked in me as a professional but it was, and has been, both profound and lasting. In many ways, I found a larger sense of purpose and responsibility to humankind, both personally and professionally, that continues to this day and extends to the work I do as a counselor educator. In writing this I find myself, once again, humbled by the capacity of each human being to be fully changed by that which they experience and to enact such change on the world.
May each of us be mindful of the freedoms we have in this country, for the sacrifices that were made and the lives that were lost on September 11th, 2001. May we each find peace within ourselves and with each other.