Having control of the content your school counseling website is critical to the success of your program. If you aren’t able to be in control, you’d better work on your baking skills and make some cookies for you IT person, because they’ll be doing a lot of adding and editing on your behalf.
The goal of your website is to provide relevant and beneficial content for all of your stakeholders.
1. Contact Information
Ensure you have your preferred method of contact readily available. Some Counselor’s prefer phone, others email, and some savvy folks prefer a referral link with specially designed questions to streamline the information received.
2. Your Mission
People need to know more than what you do, they need to know why you do it. Be sure to include your mission and vision statements front and center on the main page. Most districts and schools have their own mission and vision statements and your school counseling department should align with those overarching goals. ASCA has developed a plethora of resources to help you refine your mission and vision statements.
Friends, you are not putting these up on your website to check a box, you need to let these principals guide your program. As a high school counselor they were tacked to my wall, as an elementary counselor they are in a packet that I carry with me.
3. Counseling Calendar
Your stakeholders need to know about events, deadlines, counseling lesson schedules, and a general time frame surrounding their educational experience. A general calendar of what to expect is especially important for high school students because one missed deadline could be the difference between students earning a lot of money and earning no money. Iron out the details for your families by linking to College Board’s “Road Map.”
4. Academic Resources
The myriad of online academic resources available to students today can be completely overwhelming and lead to decision paralysis. Narrow down your own list to 3-5 academic supports to help your students stretch beyond their classroom teachers. Websites like Khan Academy and Memrise cover a multitude of subject matters and would be an excellent addition to your site.
5. Parenting Resources
You know how they say that kids don’t come with a manual? Well, that’s true, but there are a ton of resources available to make parenting a little easier. The majority of parents love their kids and are doing the best they can with the information they have available. Provide parents with links to bedtime schedules, homework help, and healthy eating information to optimize their (and their children’s) experience.
6. Help Line Contacts
Given the mental health crisis underway in America, it is imperative to give students and parents information on accessing national and local suicide prevention and mental health supports. Every school counseling website should link to these vital supports.
You’ll build this out your website as you progress in your counseling practice, but this list is a nice start to making a transparent and inclusive environment.