Community service tracking and challenge of paper – how to replace the headaches of tracking and managing community service on paper to more effectively track community service hours.
Community service has so many benefits for our students and is something we should highlight to colleges and employers. However, tracking and logging these experiences is a lot of work and often falls to school counselors.
I know this because I was a school counselor. Often, I faced several obstacles when gathering this important data, verifying volunteer hours and analyzing the numbers.
The process is archaic and takes up more time than it should. And instead of focusing on students, school counselors are buried in tasks and minutiae.
As more states require tracking community service under the Every Student Succeeds Act, and as you think about ways to maximize your staff’s time, here are some things to think about:
Paper, paper, paper
Students often jot down their volunteer experiences on paper, if they write them down at all.
They then turn this information, on various sheets, to their school counselor. And because there is no comprehensive system to collect and gather this data, school counselors are putting this information in spreadsheets.
We need a better system that automatically collects these service hours and analyzes these experiences.
The back-and-forth dialogue
As part of the verification process, school counselors are asked to reach out to various service agencies to confirm students volunteered.
Between meetings with students and staff, we make phone calls and leave voicemails. We send emails. And then we follow up when we don’t hear back.
This back-and-forth dialogue is cumbersome and takes up too much of our counselors’ time.
The need for insights
School counselors are often the first people asked to write letters of recommendation for college and scholarships. Having data at your fingertips is important, but wouldn’t it be great if we could go beyond statistics and share insights?
Spreadsheets are great at adding numbers but they can’t tell us what our students value and what skills they have gained. We need a system that does just this.
It is important we provide an easy solution to gather data so school counselors can spend less time with paper and more time with students. As you’re putting together plans to track and verify community service, I hope you’ll check out Transeo to see the value it provides.
About the Author
Dustin M. Seemann, M.Ed,
Transeo VP of Content and Curriculum
Dustin has worked in K-12 and Higher Education for over 15 years. Throughout his professional career, he has served as a School Counselor, Club Advisor, Graduate Professor and now Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction.
Dustin served as Vice President of the Illinois School Counselors Association. He was also named School Counselor of the Year in 2014.
Dustin earned his bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University and master’s degrees in School Counselor and Education Leadership from DePaul University.
Transeo was founded by educators and for educators because we believe community service programs not only increases future chances of success, it fosters active citizenship, empowers individuals and builds resilient communities.
Our entire team believes in a future where students are defined by determination, resilience, and hard-work. We also believe that future starts with giving students tools like Transeo Serve Community Service Tracking App. A community service tracking app helps them find track and manage their community service to help them unlock their potential, help others and transform their community. Let’s work together to make this a reality.
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