Conducting a school counseling needs assessment is an imperative step in running a successful counseling program. I have written about how counselors should conduct a needs assessment at the beginning of the school year and I have also written about the importance of school counseling interns participating in the needs assessment as well. Now I’ll show you how I go about conducting my needs assessments.
While creating a needs assessment it’s important to keep in mind the following questions:
What do I want to know?
A comprehensive guidance curriculum is, well, comprehensive and you run the risk of overwhelming your staff if you survey them about every area counselors cover. If you can get administrative backing to perform a comprehensive assessment, then I say go for it. However, if you want helpful information in a timely manner you will need to narrow down the focus of your assessment.
I choose to assess social, emotional, and behavioral needs/concerns. When I was new to my district I conducted a school counseling program needs assessment, where I asked teachers to rate how well they new the program, accessibility, etc. If you haven’t already conducted a program needs assessment, I strongly suggest that you head over to Scrapbook of a School Counselor and see what Tabitha included in her assessment.
How will the information be used?
Some counselors have less than 250 students on their caseload and some (like me) have more than 1,500. When teachers/staff are answering questions about the frequency of services, they (at least on some level) will want you to provide the services you presented.
If you ask what frequency you should hold parent information nights and you offer week, monthly, and quarterly as choices…the expectation will be that you will hold parent information nights at least quarterly.
My recommendation is to use the needs assessment to gauge the issues and concerns the teachers are experiencing in the classroom rather than on how your program is delivered.
I guess now it’s time for for less telling and more showing…
Here is an image of the school counseling needs assessment I made on Google Drive using some of the examples on Dr. Sink’s professional school counseling website:
So that’s how I plan on assessing the needs at my schools…Do you plan on conducting a needs assessment this year?