Advocacy Before and After GSCA’s Day on the Hill
The GSCA Day on the Hill is an event at the Georgia state capitol that focuses attention at a state level on our great profession of school counseling. Whether you attended this year, in the past year, or just hope you can attend one day, there are steps you can take to use the momentum from this event to advocate in both large and small ways. Here are some things you could do now or in preparation for the next GSCA Day on the Hill:
- After Day on the Hill: Send legislators copies of articles and blurbs that included their names or images associated with Day on the Hill. Include a thank you.
- Write thank-you notes to legislators with whom you met or with whom other school counselors met. Thank them for their attention to school counseling and thereby to P-12 students in our state.
- Receive permission from your building principal to invite legislators to your schools to see your work firsthand.
- Post a photo and a brief write-up on your school website about your time at Day on the Hill.
- Write a brief blurb about your experience and ask teachers to share it within their weekly class newsletter to parents.
- Post brief messages about your day on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
- Ask to present to your school board about Day on the Hill and GSCA’s major advocacy topics represented at this year’s event.
- Ask to speak briefly at your school’s next faculty meeting to share major points from Day on the Hill.
- Ask to speak briefly at your school’s next parent/teacher meeting to share major points from Day on the Hill.
If you could not attend this year but have a colleague who did, ask if you could assist with some of the above ideas.
For the next Day on the Hill:
- All of the above ideas!
- If you are an elementary school counselor and your school does Flat Stanley or Flat Stella, take along the cut-out and use him or her to chronicle your day. Write about it and present to classrooms for both a learning and fun experience.
- If you are a middle school counselor, work with language arts teachers to provide students with a writing prompt about a day at the state capital and what they would want to speak to representatives about. Follow up with classroom lessons in which you share your experience during your day at the capital.
- If you are a high school counselor, chronicle your day then collaborate with your teacher colleagues and present to civics classes about advocacy and lobbying.
- Reach out to your local representatives for a meeting for the next Day on the Hill. For example, in 2018, I emailed three of my south Georgia representatives to tell them about Day on the Hill and asked to meet with them. Much to my surprise, all three responded and invited me and three of my graduate students for introductions and discussion about school counseling. One of our representatives followed up the meeting with our photo and a brief write up to our local paper. Ask permission to take a photo yourself and share it with your local media.