The Annual Agreement creates an understanding between the school counselor and the principal on the role and responsibilities of the school counseling position. If the services a school counselor provides is not clearly understood by the principal a lot of misconceptions can occur and result in added duties or higher caseloads. As a result, school counselors may not be utilized in the most effective way to benefit all students. Therefore, your relationship with your principal is vital.
Full disclosure, I have been married to a principal for the last 11 years! I get the inside scoop on what his job entails in its entirety. I will say they have a complex position (just like a school counselor)! Here are 3 ways to connect with your principal:
1. PACKET OF INFORMATION
One way that we were able to connect with our principal was to put together a school counseling packet at the end of the school year. The packet included;
- Master Calendar
- SMART goals for the next school year
- Action Plans
- Program Audit
- Annual Agreement
Then we would set up a meeting in the fall to sign the annual agreements and answer any questions. This established passive communication between us. The principal could look at our packet at his leisure or wait for us to explain it in the fall. Every year he would get our packet and know that we had plans for the following school year.
2. BI-WEEKLY MEETINGS
Another way we were able to connect with our principal was to set bi-weekly meetings. We could give updates on our school counseling program and he would communicate with us on any updates from administration. These meetings helped us form more of a team approach.
3. YOU ARE INVITED TO…
Lastly, we always invited our principal or an assistant principal to our Advisory Council, District meetings, Guidance Lessons, or any event we coordinated. This created transparency with the counselors and administrators.
Don’t be discouraged if you feel you do not have a good relationship with your principal. It takes time and communication.
Here are some great resources that the College Board and ASCA have provided to help you with your principal/counselor relationship:
The College Board (2011). Enhancing the Principal-School Counselor Relationship: Toolkit.
The College Board (2009). A Closer Look at the Principal-Counselor Relationship.
I also want to provide you with a link to the course “Completing the Principal/Counselor Annual Agreement.” This course will take you step-by-step through the process of completing your annual agreement. Each step will be evaluated as you go at your own pace through the course. At the end of the course you will be able to meet with your principal to finalize the agreement. Feel confident walking into your meeting with a completed annual agreement.
Let me know if you have found other ways to connect with your principal.