Thursday, July 10, 2008

Summer: A Time to Reflect and Plan Ahead

Like many of the rest of you might be, I’m in summer mode and actually taking a little time away from work for a few days so it’s hard to remember that in a few months we’ll all be gathered in Seattle for the NACAC National Conference.

When our fiscal year started on July 1, I was able to work with our business manager and get all of our counselors registered and hooked up with hotel rooms, etc. Special thanks to the kind staff at NACAC who helped me navigate that process of registering multiple people – not online because like a fool I failed to get their NACAC log-ins and passwords before they scattered for the summer! Note to self for next year: get all of that information so it can be done online, it’s SO much easier. For any of you who have not yet registered, online is the way to go. (Sidebar NOTE: Early bird registration ends on July 11! Then registration prices go up! Have you registered yet?) Now we’re looking at plane tickets and making sure that we leave enough time to visit some colleges/universities while we’re in Seattle.

High school counselors: if you need to make a case with your business office or whomever allows you to spend money on professional development, remind them that spending a few extra days in a hotel when you’ve already paid for a plane ticket is MUCH cheaper than paying for a completely new ticket to Seattle plus a hotel room again.

An administrator of mine pointed that out to me a few years ago and it makes so much sense. It might also be easier to just block out an entire week to be out of the office rather than four days here and three days there. But that all depends on your schedule and how your office is staffed.

I also think that July is the perfect time for reflection. Usually the “housekeeping” details of the office –sending final transcripts, updating transcripts for the coming year, updating Naviance, etc—have been taken care of and you might actually find yourself with some time to think.

Maybe it’s a good time to sort through all of those emails from the NACAC Elist that you carefully filed away (or not?) because you thought they had good ideas in them. Glancing at them in July usually gives you enough time to actually put some plans in place if you want to set any of the ideas in motion for the coming school year.

When I did this a week ago, I found myself making a list of things I wanted to learn more about, or things I wanted to follow up on when I was with my colleagues at NACAC. I have not yet compared my list of topics to discuss with the conference schedule but I’m confident that many of the items will overlap with things that others want to discuss. That is perhaps the best part about NACAC, the ability to have conversations with colleagues who are in your shoes, or sit on the other side of the desk and can shed some light on your situation.

So, that’s my advice for this mid-July blog posting: reflect and think about where you want your program to go in the 2008-09 school year, and then plan to use the NACAC conference to the fullest degree to find answers to your questions and share your ideas with others.

Happy summer!

Elizabeth Guice
Director of College Counseling and Registrar
St. Andrew's Episcopal School
Austin, TX