By: Rebekah Murphy

The relationship you have with your principal may be the most important and influential work relationship you have. Not only are they the leader of the school, but they are also the ones who are likely to make important decisions regarding your school counseling program.

Far too often I hear from other school counselors that their principal does not value their school counseling program or appreciate their work. If that sounds familiar, or if you'd like to increase buy-in from your administration, I recommend asking these three questions to your principal/administrator over the summer. Your principal likely will be working most of the summer at your school, so there is sure to be ample opportunity to have this conversation before another school year is in full-swing.

1. What will be the main goals for the next school year?

Chances are likely that your principal has been reviewing school data from the previous year over the summer and crafting student-centered goals to make next year even better than the one before. By asking your principal this question, you are communicating to your principal that you are on their team and that you want to do your part in working to meet those goals.

School Principal

2. What are your desired outcomes of the school counseling program next year?

The answer to this question is going to give you insight into what your principal values most about your position. Do they value tier 1 SEL lessons? Have they seen the positive student outcomes from small groups? Do they appreciate how you have helped students in individual settings? Or maybe they have questions about one of the areas of your program. This question is likely to start a conversation that could provide an opportunity for you to clarify the services you provide.

classroom counseling

3. What school counseling data is most valuable to you?

If you have a data-driven principal, this question is your golden ticket. Maybe he/she appreciates how student progress is quantified after classroom counseling lessons, small groups, or individual sessions. Maybe he/she wants to see the numbers of your program (how many services you provided) each quarter. This question gives your administrator the opportunity to communicate what is most valuable to them.

Asking these three questions to your principal over the summer is sure to open up the lines of communication, increase buy-in, and improve your relationship.

Did you take my advice? If you did, comment below to let me know how your conversation went! I can't wait to hear all about it!

About the author: Rebekah Murphy has nearly a decade of experience working with students holding various titles such as third grade teacher, K-5 school counselor, and K-12 gifted and talented teacher. She enjoys developing curriculum for Bright Futures Counseling and writing in her free time.


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