Evaluation Help...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Boba, Nov 4, 2015.

  1. Boba

    Boba Companion

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    Nov 4, 2015

    I'm an elementary school counselor but could use input from any educator. This is my 4th year as a counselor but in a new school district. The way we do evaluations is based off 3 objectives that you pick that the admin has to agree on. I selected 3 based off the national counseling standards. My admin (whom I believe I have a good relationship with) denied all of them. She wrote down "suggestive" objectives on post it notes placed on top of them when she met with me. She had 3 of them for me- I don't like any of them. The first was that I can help increase student attendance. This is probably one of the roughest schools in the county with very minimal parental engagement unless the moms want to complain. The school already has interventions and things in placed from assemblies, home visits, sticker charts, stuffed animals placed inside classrooms, ice cream parties, etc. you name it. The second one is that there will be a decrease in the number of referrals in all 1st grade classrooms due to more classroom guidance. The fate on this seems to be on the teacher's hands because they write the referrals. I could do daily guidance without the number of referrals improving. This grade level has the largest amount of students, the most students with an IEP or involved in RTI, etc. The third one she recommended for me is one that yeah I feel I have some control over. She wrote that one stating that there will be a decrease in the number of suspensions and referrals for students that I am seeing in a group counseling setting.

    If any objective isn't met, she has to hold a meeting with me. If it isn't met after a timeline she gives to me, I'm non renewed and out my job for next year.

    When she spoke to me about them I asked her saying I was confused if she basically was denying everything. She said she chose these based off the needs of the school. It seems like I am being set up to fail with 2 of these objectives.

    Does anyone have suggestions for me when speaking to her? I have a few days to redo my objectives. I don't want to go to the union rep or look like I'm a problem because overall I actually like my job and have a resume that's not the best. I feel like I have to be very careful how I work with her because I work alongside her on a daily basis.

    Please help. I've already cried 2x today at home from the stress of this =(
     
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  3. Obadiah

    Obadiah Habitué

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    Nov 5, 2015

    I've only been a classroom teacher, not a counselor, but my current thoughts reflect yours. Hmmm...concerning attendance. I wouldn't say the incentives are irrational, but at an elementary age, could it be the parents who get them ready to go to school--not the students themselves? I've known of cases where upper-elementary aged students take control of their situations, but that seems rare. Here's what I've actually observed from a parent's angle in attendance; parents sleeping in, parents on drugs, parents eyeing an outside threat against them or their child....these are out of a counselor's control. You're not magic. And concerning a child's willingness to come to school, that might reflect what's happening in the classroom with the teacher, or in most cases, the students attitude toward attendance mirrors their parents' attitude.

    Concerning a decrease in referrals, (???), isn't that what a counselor is there for? Unless you can train the teachers to do your job, to me that seems like saying to the teachers, please don't let me help you.

    Looking at this from the principal's side, I wonder if she is confused about the counselor's role and realistic abilities. Or perhaps she is under pressure to conform to an evaluation of herself from a higher up who also has unrealistic expectations of her.

    I see this as similar to how teachers are currently often being evaluated, as if we are factory workers producing a product. We are producing living breathing students, not cars or clocks! This industrial age attitude slowed down academic progress when it began and the attitude still exists. Along with it came the behaviorism philosophies, but we are teaching human students, not lab rats.

    I feel like I haven't given any real advice, but I hope I've been able to encourage you in my reflections of agreement with you. I did wonder if contacting other counselors in other schools, perhaps via email, might lead to some creative ideas that have worked for them, or perhaps they've faced the same dilemma with insights on what you might try. I don't know if this would apply to your situation, but when I'd look for creative ideas for teaching classroom subjects, sometimes I checked how teachers in other countries approached teaching that subject. Sometimes seeing things in another cultural aspect fosters a new idea. My thoughts and prayers are with you!
     
  4. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Nov 5, 2015

    I agree with you... those goals are a bunch of... hullabaloo, to put it nicely.

    I'd be upset too. This principal sounds rotten.

    Can your goals be more related to your own realm of control? For example, send out a newsletter monthly with attendance statistics and tips for getting children interested in school?
     
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  5. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Nov 5, 2015

    I agree with this at least from the principal's perspective. I'm sure that she is getting pressured from higher ups and the goals that she has provided you probably in some way mirror her own goals. At the elementary level though, it is all about the parents. Some parents do not see school has a priority over their own wants. Most will gladly sleep late and either bring their child to school late or not at all. Does your county have truancy officers available to go out to homes? Can the school file truancy charges against the parents? Even the threat of filing would probably get some of those parents' tails in gear.

    As far as referrals are concerned, I would take a look at the type of referrals that are coming in, are there a few teachers who always seem to be making referrals, and if so, what are some things that you can do to help with classroom management for those teachers.
     
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  6. Obadiah

    Obadiah Habitué

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    Nov 6, 2015

    A phrase from a song I heard when I was a teenager has always helped me in situations like this. Concerning moving a mountain, "you might need to move that mountain one shovel at a time."
     
  7. Boba

    Boba Companion

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    Nov 6, 2015

    Thanks for your thoughts everyone. I met again with the admin who is doing my evaluation and there was no way really to get out the ones she selected for me. She said she already consulted with the director of counseling to figure out what some good objectives are. The director of counseling is basically the reason I was able to get a job in the first place. I'm at their mercy. I'm on a 1 year temporary contract (basically that's how they do it for new hires due to budgets for certain jobs being cut often). I pretty much feel like I'm digging my own grave. I guess if my objectives aren't met and I lose my job because of that, on future interviews if asked about why I'm no longer at my other job, I could say I was on a temporary contract... Yeah I've already thought that far ahead. My morning started off with meeting her, realizing I'm stuck with those objectives. By the end of the day, I was then given more things to do on the job where my lunch will most likely be moved to 10AM (we are late start and start at 8:45) in order to meet the demands that they are giving me. Assuming I still am employed by the district next year, I really hope I could get a transfer ANYWHERE that isn't at this school where even if the admin are jerks, I could at least meet the objectives.
     
  8. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Nov 6, 2015

    I think the one with the attendance is going to be hard because at elementary age it's really the parents who get the kids to school. I guess start calling parents.

    The other two I wouldn't stress so much about. You can get creative. Basically all you need to do is handle your classroom within your classroom, meaning whatever disciplinary action you have to take, it has to stay in there, and not escalate to referrals. Have them earn rewards, build relationships to see what motivates the kids, take away privileges, call home, etc.
    We do this all the day long, because I could be writing 5 referrals / day, but I can't. I have to handle it myself, and I can't even give out too many detentions, because that looks bad.
     

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