The annual agreement is an ASCA national model document that helps counselors and their admins get on the same page in regards to program plans and goals. I have to admit that it took me a couple years to get on board with the importance of this...it seemed like a useless piece of paper that I didn't have time to create. A colleague shared with me how much of a difference she felt in the efficiency and effectiveness of her program once she created an annual agreement at about the same time that I got a new, very enthusiastic co-counselor, so we decided to give it a go.
We poured through examples and templates (much thanks to google!) and eventually came up with something that really worked for us. It was WELL WORTH the time and energy to create it! Here's why:
- It helped us prioritize. We allowed for some flexibility, but if it wasn't in the agreement (which we call out "program plan"), we didn't feel as compelled to do it. This is key in the world of Pinterest and amazing bloggers! It's easy to get sucked into amazing ideas and forget to focus on our key goals.
- Speaking of focused, creating this helped us be more focused as counselors overall.
- Advocacy! We started off the year in our early evaluation meetings with admin by discussing this document. It not only helped show our planning of services (a major component in our evaluation rubric), but it also allowed us to advocate for our work and our time. We tied our program goals to our school improvement goals which also helped.
- We start the year strong - we've got a plan and so we do far less floundering at the beginning.