Counselor Connection

Counselor Connection

From the desk of Damien Sweeney, Ed.D.

welcome back

Hello School Counselors! 

I am a resource for you at the Kentucky Department of Education. I work to bring you up-to-date information about school counseling and education in Kentucky.

I just finished my first year at the department and work on several projects here, including minimum high school graduation requirements, the Individual Learning Plan, new school counseling standards, dual credit and more.

Beyond the projects that I work on or presentations I give, I want you to know that you have someone in Frankfort who supports you and seeks to make the importance of the school counseling role paramount in our state.

New School Counselor Chat

New school counselors can often feel overwhelmed at the beginning of the school year. Just know that you are going to make it!

Join me for a live chat at 2:30 p.m. ET Sept. 5. Feel free to ask questions and create a community. If you are interested in joining me, fill out this Google Form. I will reach out shortly with a Google Hangout link and calendar invite.

Comprehensive School Counseling


Much of our work as school counselors is evolving this school year.

On Aug. 19, the Education Professional Standards Board approved our Kentucky School Counseling Standards of Preparation. This document helps graduate schools know what to teach future school counselors.

I'll meet with the Kentucky Board of Education in October in order to get our Kentucky School Counseling Standards of Practice approved. This document helps show current school counselors best practices in our field.

Much of this work is aligned to the American School Counseling Association (ASCA). As a result, with each Counselor Connection newsletter you receive this year, I will offer at least one recommendation that aligns to our state standards or the national model.

By this time, you are making sure all schedules are in the system, starting to balance your classes and ensuring that there are no schedule gaps in Infinite Campus.You are most likely getting emails from teachers, students and parents/guardians about class changes. If you are an elementary school counselor, you are working hard to make sure your students are getting acclimated to school and completing your minute meetings in order to get to know your students.

While this is an unbelievably busy time for school counselors, let's start thinking about where we are going for the entire year.

Consider the following items as to-dos during late August and early September based on the ASCA National Model:

Annual Administrative Conference: "School counselors meet with the administrator and complete the annual agreement within the first two months of school" (ASCA, p. 58, 2019).  Not only will this activity help you clarify your role to your principal and assistant principal(s), it will help guide your program!

As a reminder, part of this task is to identify how you plan to spend your time. Section 3(e) of KRS 158.4416 (Kentucky’s School Safety Act of 2019) specifically discusses the role of school counselors. This section states that no later than Nov. 1, the local school district superintendent shall report to the department the number and placement of school counselors in the district. The report shall include the source of funding for each position, a summary of the job duties and work undertaken by each counselor and the approximate percent of time devoted to each duty over the course of the year.

Completing this agreement, along with your data-driven growth plan, should help you identify how to best spend your time this school year. 

In the upcoming editions of Counselor Connection we will discuss suicide prevention, creating advisory groups, being data-driven, aligning our mission and vision to that of our school and more!

For back-to-school resources and templates, visit the ASCA website.

donut bully talk show

I'd like to give a huge shout out to elementary students from Mason County on creating a bullying prevention video and YouTube channel. Take a look at their nationally recognized (they won their state and national Student Technology Leadership Program competitions) bullying prevention video on YouTube.


KHEAA Site Coordinator Training Webinar

By Summer Gortney

There is still time to register for one of the site coordinator trainings (see below). Toni and Chase, KHEAA outreach counselors, are looking forward to guiding you through best practices for implementing your events. This is a great way to earn 1 hour of EILA credit as well.

Below are resources to help plan and implement your event:

               Site Coordinator Training Webinar:

The webinar will focus primarily on Close the Deal and College Application Campaign. This is an excellent opportunity for you to get program updates and great information and tips on how to successfully implement your KY Goes to College events. We’ll also share best practices from previous program participants and will have an opportunity for Q&A.

The webinar will be 10 a.m. ET Aug. 22. Use this GoToWebinar link to register.

               Promotional Items:

Official KY Goes to College folders, stickers and posters are on the way

Student and Site Coordinator Surveys: We have included a QR code on that back of the folders that links students to a survey about their experience with KY Goes to College events. I’ve also included the link in this email.

Please be diligent about having students complete this short survey during your events. The information collected is vital to the longevity of these programs.

Schools that have student and site coordinator surveys submitted will be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift card.

Student Survey:

Site Coordinator Survey:

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to your outreach counselor or visit for more information.

August 20, 2019


ASCA (2019) states, "School counselors design and implement instruction aligned to the ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors for Student Success in classroom, large- and small-group and individual settings" (46).

Two of the Behavior Social Skills identified by ASCA are for students to use effective oral and written communication skills and listening skills (B-SS 1) and to create positive and supportive relationships with other students (B-SS 2).

"Be Nice" by Will.I.Am. ft. Snoop Dogg discusses the need for us (and our society) to be kind to others. Enjoy!

Early Graduation

Remember that all students who plan to complete the early graduation pathway must complete the Intent for Early Graduation form and be flagged in Infinite Campus prior to the Oct. 1 deadline.

As a reminder, there is a difference between a student completing the early graduation pathway and a student who is graduating early. For more information about this distinction, take a look at our Early Graduation webpage.

Students completing the pathway pass their end-of-course (EOC) assessments at the proficiency level and pass their ACT benchmarks.

Students graduating early may meet the minimum high school graduation requirements set by the local district and graduate without meeting the aforementioned EOC and ACT requirements if there is a district policy on file for this.

New Minimum High School Graduation Requirements Webcast

Check out this webcast  to stay in the loop about the new minimum high school graduation requirements.

Transition Readiness

Tale a look at this video and slide deck to learn more about Transition Readiness and dual credit partnerships!


Universal KCTCS Admission Requirements for Dual Credit Students

By Harmony Little

All 16 Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) colleges have adopted universal admission requirements for dual credit students seeking enrollment in college level courses. This policy aims to maximize high school student success in college level courses, and subsequent college/university coursework upon high school graduation and to provide consistence for high school students across the state. 

The policy is divided between requirements for general education courses and technical courses. It is closely aligned to the Council on Postsecondary Education’s Placement policy, which KCTCS and other public institutions must follow.

For general education courses, students need to have at least a 2.5 grade point average (GPA) or higher, meet college benchmarks in the appropriate area of study and meet any course prerequisites. There are exceptions outlined for 9th-grade students who do not yet have a GPA and it does allow seniors to enroll in a supplemental course if they don’t test into to college level math, reading or writing course.

There are several options available to colleges to allow high school students to enroll in technical courses, including an ACT Composite Score of 16, ACT Mathematics 16 and ACT Reading 16, any accepted KCTCS equivalent, or, a high school GPA of 2.5 or higher and meet any course prerequisites.

All KCTCS colleges will follow these guidelines as written; however limited admissions programs such as Early and Middle College programs will follow those program admission requirements. The full policy is available on the KCTCS website.

self-care 3

Although it sometimes feels like it, emails shouldn't be your nemesis. Read this article for tips and tricks that will help you manage your emails and communicate well through this medium.