Saturday, July 19, 2014


Michelle Obama spoke at the American School Counselor Association's Annual Conference this year in Orlando, Florida. I was lucky enough to be in the audience for her inspirational speech. She acknowledged the many struggles we face as school counselors, honored the ripple effect of our work, and discussed how school counselors play an intergral role in the White House's Reach Higher initiative.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from her speech:

"I know that you all have one of the hardest, most stressful, most important and most underappreciated jobs of anyone in this country -- and I live with the President of the United States. So frankly, when I think about what you all do on an average day, well, quite frankly, I’m amazed."

"ASCA recommends no more than 250 students per counselor, the national average is one school counselor for every 471 students...And that’s appalling. And a lot of people in this country have no idea about these numbers. They have no idea about all the other challenges you face just to do your jobs."

"So while you might be the most highly educated professional in the building, instead of being allowed to do the job you were trained for, you’re assigned to proctor exams, or monitor the lunchroom, or serve as substitute teachers. And then I understand that on professional development days, you have to sit through yet another workshop on reading strategies or the new math curriculum because there aren’t any professional development units relevant to your job."

"So higher education is no longer just for kids in the top quarter or the top half of the class -- college is for everyone. Every student in this country needs some higher education, whether that’s two-year degree, a four-year degree, or professional training of some sort."

You can view her speech on Youtube here: First Lady Speeks at ASCA14

My new co-counselor and I already planned to incorporate more college and career readiness into our school counseling program at our brand new school this coming school year. Reach Higher fits right into our program goals. The School Counselor Online Professional Exchange is hosting a photo challenge, with the last day to submit photos being July 20, that highlights school counselor goals that align with Reach Higher. See below for my submission.

We tried to get the state sign in there, but it was a challenge to see both the sign and goal print clearly. This is just one of many goals we have for the new school year in preparing ALL students to be college and career ready.

What will you do to #reachhigher?