This conference was valuable for establishing and maintaining professional connections and support within CEESA. The counselors were able to collaborate around standards and best practices for a variety of topics to help build cohesiveness within all CEESA schools.
Professional development included a workshop on Brief Solution Focused School Counseling Approach, presented by Evan George and Denise Yusuf from the organization BRIEF in London, UK. The next day Chris Gould provided guidance on Developing a Comprehensive Safeguarding Program in our CEESA schools. That afternoon, the counselors formed three working groups, with focus on: child protection, crisis management, and advisory/social-emotional curriculum. Each group developed guidelines or resources that will be reviewed by CEESA before they get their implementation in schools.
These guidelines include:
- Child protection checklist to develop a comprehensive safeguarding program in each CEESA school;
- Crisis management school program recommendations to ensure schools are prepared for any crisis they may face;
- Advisory/social-emotional curriculum recommendations on consistency of programs in topics and delivery, with enough flexibility for individual schools to cover the needs of their community based on needs assessments.
Other workshops presented at the conference were equally beneficial:
- The Chimp Paradox - Emotional and Rational Brain Management, presented by Jonatan Owen;
- Setting up Concise Counseling Record Keeping Programs Connected with Google Calendar and Forms, presented by Joe George;
- Executive Functioning in the Classroom, presented by Jose Acevedo.
The Conference was a huge success, as all participants in this event appreciate the fact that organizing a CEESA Counselors’ Retreat as a separate event has many benefits. Most importantly, it allows for intensive and focused work pertaining to counseling programs and development of consistent programs across all CEESA schools.
Finally, the 2018 CEESA Counselors’ Retreat was discussed, and Moscow was offered as a possible host. The counselors are looking forward to the next opportunity to meet and enhance our programs!
Compiled by Divna Stakic, The International School of Belgrade