Georgia School Counselors Association conference

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I am thankful for wonderful professional development! Last week, I had the privilege of attending the annual Georgia School Counselors Association conference in Jekyll Island. Upper School counselor Rose Harper and I spent two and a half days attending sessions focused on everything from redefining multiculturalism to utilizing bibliotherapy to incorporating technology into a school counseling program. We connected with counselors from all over Georgia, learning about programs they’ve implemented in their schools and sharing our own successes.

The keynote speaker during the opening session of the conference was Maureen Costello, director of Teaching Tolerance. Her words were inspirational. She spoke about being upstanders instead of bystanders — everyone should stand up for the rights of others when they see injustice. Her illustrations of children facing prejudice of all kinds in schools were heartbreaking; her stories of noble students and teachers standing up for others were beautifully uplifting.

Some breakout sessions’ topics were perfectly aligned with specific situations happening around Love Hall, and I have felt very lucky to return to school this week with tools to help Westminster’s youngest Wildcats (and their siblings, parents, and teachers) celebrate their successes and navigate their current difficulties.

Welcome to the 2013 annual conference!

Welcome to the GSCA 2013 annual conference!

Keynote speaker Maureen Costello, director of Teaching Tolerance

Keynote speaker Maureen Costello, director of Teaching Tolerance, telling us that we’re advocates, lifeguards, and bulldozers (of social barriers) for our students

One of the most popular breakout session was "Book-a-Holics," where we learned about the latest publications to use with students to meet their needs. Pictured is Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, a story about how each kindness done -- or not done -- can have a long-lasting effect. A second grade class recently used this book to bring their  students closer together.

One of the most popular breakout sessions was “Book-a-Holics,” where we learned about the latest publications to use with students to meet their needs. Pictured is Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, a story about how each kindness done — or not done — can have a long-lasting effect. In a second grade classroom recently, the teachers read this book to the class to bring their students closer together.

Each student is so much more than "strong in math," "Asian," "so-and-so's younger sister," etc. How do all of the parts of a child intersect?

Each person is so much more than “strong in writing,” “a violinist,” “Asian,” or “so-and-so’s younger sister,” etc. How do all of the parts of a child intersect? How do we make sure we see, appreciate, and value the aspects of every student and how they combine in different ways to make each student unique?

Westminster school counselors love GSCA!

Westminster school counselors love GSCA!

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