Saturday, October 16, 2010

Keeping Track of Counselor Notes

A reader asked for ideas for how to maintain counseling notes and information.

Q: First of all thanks for the effort and energy you put into your fabulous blog, it is really great!
I am curious as to what kind of system you use to maintain student information? How is it that you maintain student records, keep track of counseling sessions, and other valuable information that can easily be lost without some sort of system in place? Any feedback on this would be great!

A: Keeping track of notes and information was a struggle for me until my colleague, Shelly Blair, introduced me to Microsoft Access. As a side note, Shelly recently wrote a guest blog post for School Counselor Blog: Creating a Portable Sand Tray.

Shelly introduced me to Microsoft Access to keep track of students and notes. I use the "issue database," which can be downloaded for free. This is the best system I have found so far because it is free and it can be password protected. It is really easy to use. I was new to Microsoft Access and picked it up very quickly. I store each student as an "issue" and use the "contacts" to record the teacher name and my own name. I make the teacher the "assigned to" section and the "opened by" section say my name.

For "status" I assign teacher referral, admin referral, self referral, parent referral or counselor referral. For "priority" I assign individual, individual & group, and group.  For "categories," I add presenting concerns such as grief/loss, new student, attendance, etc.  In the comment section I record my notes. I write the date and then write brief observable notes about the session. In the comment section, I also include telephone numbers and other information I may need to access later.

Another great benefit of the "issue database" is that you can view charts by priority, status, category, and the teacher assigned to the student. This a great way to see which students share the same presenting problem.  I use this when starting a group to see which students I should screen.

Click below to view and download the "issue database."

Click here for a tutorial on how to password protect your database.

How do you keep track of student information? Comment below, email me, tweet, or share on the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page!

Danielle is a K-12 Certified School Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and blogger at School Counselor Blog, a place where school counselors share innovative ideas, creative lesson plans, and quality resources.  Contact Danielle via email, follow her on twitter, and become a fan of the School Counselor Blog Facebook Page.


  1. I created an excel document with each students' name that is organized according to their grade level, teacher, and last name. It is color-coded as well: purple for students with IEPs, orange for students I have met with individually, green for students in my divorce group, ect. I also include any IEP/SPED information and take brief notes based on any individual sessions/referrals that I have with the child. It is great to have all of my info in one place and is so easy to refer to when I need it!

  2. EZ Analyze Time Tracker also works really well. It is primarily used to track time on task data but has some really great student notes features as well. It was created especially for School Counselors so it has a very specific layout which I find extremely helpful! It can be downloaded for free here:

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