Friday, February 17, 2012

Time to Pick New Groups

Back in September, I discussed the process of selecting students for our small group counseling program. The majority of our small groups run for the entire school year (October through June), allowing students to see the same faces week to week and become more comfortable in expressing their feelings. Yet some groups such as the Bookstore Group and Bereavement Groups, are based on a half year curriculum, which means we are required to reconstruct the groups in January/February.

It’s always fun putting together the small groups and meeting new students, but it’s SO MUCH EASIER in the spring. Teachers know us better and we’re constantly on their mind, so referrals come more frequently. And of course, just as a satisfied client might recommend a business to a friend, our students are constantly taking to their friends about the great activities they do with Partnership. Our students are our biggest marketer! Word of mouth passes quickly and I’m often approached by students asking if they can be in this group or another. Sometimes, it isn’t even a student who needs counseling, but just wants to participate because they know their friends do.

Of course, while we do have a lot of fun in our small groups, Partnership with Children’s small groups are not just some distraction from the regular school day.  It is important that we select students who show the highest need when it comes to social, emotional and behavior skill development. Having more detailed referrals from teachers and even getting to know students better through our full classroom push-ins allows us to select students who would best benefit from our program.

It feels fantastic to be so popular, but even more uplifting is the consistent positive feedback we receive from our students, their parents and the school administration. I feel that my team makes great strides in developing the social and emotional skills of the students we work with, but when I hear it first hand from a client, I KNOW we’re making a difference.

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