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School Counselor Appreciation Week - 12 Special Ways to Honor Them


We Love Our School Counselors!


According to the America School Counselor Association (ASCA), School Counselor Appreciation Week is held the first full week in February every year. This special week is solely dedicated to those passionate caretakers who do so much for our school community.


From supporting the social and emotional development of our students, to often being a principals' right-hand person ~ our school counselors are indispensable. It seems fitting that, much like our amazing classified staff and beloved teachers, these important school teammates are celebrated for an entire week.


(When is School Counselor Appreciation Week this year? Click here to visit the ASCA website and find out.)


The Many Hats of our School Counselors

What hats won't a school counselor wear? That's been my experience with this talented group of educational professionals. I've had the privilege of teaching along side and leading dozens of school counselors of all ages and backgrounds. Their unique traits are what make them "the go-to person" for so many students.


Celebrating Counselor Appreciation Week

There are lots of amazing and fun ways to say "thank you!" to our school counselors. Counselors are often the first people contacted when a student or their family are in need of support. Time after time, they selflessly step in to help.


These TWELVE ideas will hopefully inspire you and your school to show your gratitude throughout the entire School Counselor Appreciation Week.



1) Decorate their office doors.

This is SUCH a creative and fun idea, and over the years, my teammates have shared how much this small act of appreciation has meant to them.


I've compiled a great list of examples here for you to draw your inspiration. I work closely with my Leadership Team and Student Council to design and execute these door project.


Fortunately you can make these anywhere (like in an art classroom) and then simply hang the finished product. Simply tear off a door-sized piece of butcher/rolled paper as your backdrop and attach your door design on top of that. This makes it very easy to create early, then attach at the last minute.


2) Have flowers delivered on Monday.


Fresh flowers from a local business are always appreciated! Go with something fragrant like lilies or lilacs. Everyone will notice as they enter their office throughout the week. Flowers are such a special treat and very unexpected. I have yet to meet any educator that didn't appreciate a beautiful bouquet delivered in their name.


One year, we did a candy bouquet instead, like these. Instead of flowers, the bouquet was made of yummy candy bars and treats. Our team graciously shared them with the students they love so much and hopefully kept one for themselves!



3) Host brunch or a luncheon just for them.


While leading at a comprehensive high school, we were fortunate to have a Career and Technical Education program, Culinary Arts, that attracted hundreds of students to our high school each year. This CTE program often took center stage for great celebrations in our school and community, and produced career-ready high school graduates.


Our students, under the direction of a professional chef-turned-teacher, created meals to rival that of top restaurants in our city. From front-of-the-house decor to the last crumb on the plate, these students consistently impressed their guests. It was always a proud day when our Culinary classes were cooking for others.


Consider hosting a delicious mean for your school counselors. Invite students to share what they've meant to them over the years. This special celebration can easily be adapted for students of all ages.



4) Provide lunch, on you. Better yet, let them bring their +1.


If you have a program within your school or district that can create food, great! Otherwise, it's always a hit to give them a menu from a local restaurant and tell them that "lunch is on me." Regardless of what you serve, this will make them feel special and make for one less meal to plan on their part.


Another variation on this idea is to allow your counselor to invite a "plus one" to dine with them. Counselors, like all educators, likely bring their work home with them - at least in their hearts and minds. Allowing them to invite a loved one to celebrate with them is a way to honor that counseling is a career that impacts the whole family.


5) Five Days of Appreciation


Many of us like to do something small and special for the full five days of School Counselor Appreciation Week. I like to think of it as sprinkling on the gratitude and helping them feel special all week long. Consider mapping out these fun events with your choice of these options listed here.


Ideas include...

- A few of their favorite things

- Coffee delivery

- An appreciation parade (they walk the halls to a round of applause)

- Swing-by thank you's from classes

- Adopt a Counselor (where staff or classes adopt and celebrate each one)



6) School Counselor Swag


School counselors are some of the most-recognized faces in town! And what better way to keep the positivity up than to keep the counselor in school gear?! Cute t-shirts and gear are a great way to show them your appreciation.


I love to give our school counselors gear from our school! Lanyards, T-Shirts, hoodies, ball caps, logo pens and pencils, coffee mugs. Even better is when they get special custom gear that is specific to them as school counselors.



My favorite gift to give is an embroidered shirt ~ one with our school's logo on the lapel that is classy and professional, and their name embroidered on the other side.


I like to buy really comfortable, classy clothing that I know they'll be proud to wear. Your school secretary can perhaps help you with sizes for each member. Swag is a great way to celebrate School Counselor Appreciation Week and lavish them with gear to show their pride.


7) Virtual Thank You Card


Always a favorite! Check out these detailed step-by-step instructions for creating personal, meaningful Virtual Thank You Cards. This is a relatively easy project, especially for one of your secretaries to help facilitate.



8) Student and Staff-featured Thank You Video


Another one of the best ways to say "Thank You!" during School Counselor Appreciation Week is to create a video montage specific for the counselor.


I like to use Canva.com and WeVideo.com for all of my media needs. You can get Canva Pro free for 30 days by clicking the link. WeVideo is a user-friendly video editing software that is a staple in our school, second only to the Pro version of Canva.


A gift like a Thank You video provides flexibility for the counselors - you can email them a digital link so they can watch it on their own time, and savor the appreciation in private or as a small group. We like to post these videos on our social media page so that the community can show their love and gratitude, too! Check out these helpful tools for mastering social media as the school principal.


9) Giant Dynamic Thank You Card


One of our favorite gifts to show appreciation is a HUGE "Thank You" card in our Commons/Cafeteria. Using a very large piece of bulletin board paper, we paint a giant THANK YOU message to our counselors and invite students and staff to sign it throughout the week.


Depending on the layout of your school, you could also hang this at the entrance so that all visitors, students, and families see this sign of appreciation when they enter your school. The sky is the limit on how to use these giant cards for appreciation.



10) VIP Status All Week!


VIPs, indeed. There are countless ways to elevate your counselors' status throughout the week. Consider ideas like...

- Announcing them in the lunchroom or during morning announcements

- Highlighting them during sporting events

- A coffee run or delivery just for them

- Spotlight on your school's website or social media pages. (Psst! Never miss a Recognition Week again with this helpful calendar.)

- Showcase them in a staff meeting



11) Intercom Announcements


Morning or daily announcements are another great time to showcase your school counselors. Invite students and staff to be part of the celebration by highlighting this special week, all week. Remind students how important school counselors are by giving them a special shout out.


It's fun to invite students to do something special for counselors. One year, I challenged students to give them a gentle fist bump every time they saw the counselor this week. It became a pseudo-competition among my middle schoolers! They lined up during lunch to give my mighty team of two a fist bump on their way out to recess. This activity is helpful for students to put a face to a name, especially if you have a large counseling team.


12) The Gift of Time


The most precious commodity in education is time. And it's one of the best gifts to give any teammate. Consider ways that you can celebrate your school counselors by helping them with a time-saving gift.


Consider...

- Covering their lunch or bus duty

- Working on scheduling

- Ask them if you can help with a task; take something off their plate

- Green-light them taking a longer, off-campus lunch or have a late arrival/early departure

- What tasks can you take off their schedule or support that will truly be a time saver?



Celebrating School Counselor Appreciation Week


Share your ideas in the comments below of how you and your school are celebrating School Counselor Appreciation Week. We can all learn from one another's brilliant ideas ~ to thank a group that gives so much for our students and community.

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