School Counseling Needs Assessment

During the summer, I received several emails and messages asking for tips and tricks on conducting a school counseling needs assessment as well as direction for putting one together. Below, I have a simple one-page needs assessment (and an editable version!) as well as some quick tips for when and how I use the information!

Download a free school counseling needs assessment to get the ball rolling on your curriculum map for classroom guidance lessons!

School Counseling Needs Assessment

When do you conduct your needs assessment?

I have done this 2 different ways. During my first year, I started during 3rd quarter. I gave out the needs assessment to teachers at the end of the year because honestly, I hadn’t had a lot of time to really gauge needs any other time while I was learning on the fly. So I asked them to reflect on the year and think about what skills they thought their students really needed in the next grade level. I’ll be honest: I did not love doing it this way. First, I had some teachers openly admit they were probably just burnt out and jaded from the year and therefore felt a bit negative about things. Others were feeling nostalgic and basking in the light at the end of the tunnel and didn’t provide a whole lot of insight for me.

The time that I prefer to send out needs assessments is about 2 months into school. Sending at the beginning of the year doesn’t give teachers enough time to really know their students. And let’s be honest: a lot of our kiddos are still on their best behavior at the very beginning of the year and haven’t given their teachers a clear window into their needs. After about 6-8 weeks, teachers have had a good amount of time to get to know their students and identify those needs. During those first 6-8 weeks, I typically focus on the same things each year: meet the counselor/counselor’s role lessons, goal setting, and expected behaviors. That pretty much covers classroom guidance until the needs assessments go out and the information comes pouring in.

What’s it look like?

I like to keep a needs assessment to one page only. I have found that the longer the form, the fewer I get back. Teachers are busy people! On the one-page form, I break topics down into categories: academic skills, emotional skills, self management skills, social skills, and career skills. Under each category, I list out some lesson topics and ask teachers to check the lessons that they think their students need the most. I also provide some space for them to fill me in on other needs they’ve identified not mentioned on the list. Really simple!

Then what?

When the assessments come back in, the curriculum plan can start to take shape, addressing the needs your teachers identified and the skills or standards you need to hit as well. Look for themes among grade levels, consider your awareness dates and how those lessons might fit in, and cross with your own standards.

You can download your free copy of this needs assessment here (and receive an editable version in your email). And while you’re at it, get your free year-long curriculum map too! Maybe seeing these 2 things together will help you to conceptualize your next steps too.

When do you like to send your school counseling needs assessment? What other information do you request? Let me know in the comments!

Download a free school counseling needs assessment to get the ball rolling on your curriculum map for classroom guidance lessons!

Download a free school counseling needs assessment to get the ball rolling on your curriculum map for classroom guidance lessons!

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5 thoughts on “School Counseling Needs Assessment

  1. I love your services and would not mind if I can learn some counselling skills from you. I am a student of guidance and counselling in the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and have been aspiring to have a site where I can provide a similar service like yours. I am very motivated by your work. I love to have a personal relationship with you where I can learn practical counselling skills from you. Thank you in anticipation for your acceptance

  2. Hi! I hope you see this! I am a first year elementary school counselor, my district has 3 lower elementary schools, and I rotate between all 3. So, my question for you is, how manageable is it to implement a curriculum for all three schools? At first, I thought I could create one and implement it at all 3 buildings — but if the needs assessments come back completely different from one another, that would require a lot of extra planning. I am 1 of 2 counselors for the 3 buildings. The other counselor has a Mindfulness curriculum already in place, so I am essentially on my own…

    Do you have any suggestions as to how I can manage a curriculum and best serve my students?

    1. I think you’re on the right track – the needs/data drive the curriculum. So it’s not totally realistic to use one set curriculum for all 3 schools (unless of course the data/needs are the same!).

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