Counselor Connection

Counselor Connection

From the desk of Damien Sweeney, Ed.D.

Providing Equity in Education:

A Webinar Opportunity

with Damien Sweeney

One of our roles in schools is to provide equity and access to our students. A report by The Education Trust shows that minority students in Kentucky are not given fair access to rigorous educational programs in our schools.

As school counselors, we often speak about being data-driven. This gives us another opportunity to look at our academic data to decide whether or not our practices of scheduling students into Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Cambridge International or dual credit classes is equitable. What is the makeup of these classes? How do we decide who goes in versus who doesn't? How can we be intentional with our recruitment efforts of traditionally marginalized students? To answer these questions and more, join me for a webinar from 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. ET Jan. 31. Use this Google document to register.

Meade County Schools' Career Pathways: Leading the Way with Academic and Career Advising


Meade County schools have created this incredible career pathway guidance document that helps make clear the road to completion status within a pathway for students, families and other stakeholders within the community. While Meade County still considers this document a draft with updates to come, please feel free to reach out to Associate Superintendent Marc Adams with any questions you may have. 

Did You Know?


KRS 158.302 requires that cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training be provided for high school students at every public high school as part of the health course or the physical education course that is required for graduation or the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps course that meets the physical education requirement. The training must:

  • Be based on the American Heart Association's Guidelines for CPR and Emergency Cardiovascular Care or other nationally recognized, evidence-based guidelines;
  • Incorporate psycho-motor skills training to support cognitive learning; and
  • Make students aware of the purpose of an automated external defibrillator and its ease and safety of use.

The training does not have to be provided by a certified instructor or result in students being certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Comprehensive School Counseling

ASCA Nat Model

There is often a misconception about indirect services in school counseling. The American School Counseling Association says the following about indirect services:

"Although students are the beneficiaries of indirect services, school counselors work with parents, teachers, administrators, school staff and community stakeholders to promote achievement for a specific student or to promote systemic change to address the needs of groups of students such as underachieving or underrepresented groups of students in the school."

As school counselors, we should be working to create systems that incorporate other key members of the school, district and community. Included on our teams should be Family Resource and Youth Service Center coordinators, school social workers, school psychologists and community mental health agencies. How can we pull everyone together to make data-informed decisions and what systems can we put in place when students are in crisis? These are among the many questions we must ask ourselves when organizing systems around indirect student services.

Jan. 21, 2020


One of the things I've been presenting on during my time at the Kentucky Department of Education is trauma-informed practices. We often speak about how students who have endured trauma may have trouble trusting others. This may especially be true for adults in authoritative positions. That is why it is so important to remember to be consistently positive with your students.

Learn their names while remaining visible to them every single day and saying hello. Remind them about their character strengths using this VIA Character Strengths chart. You can use this chart in a school counseling curriculum lesson as well.

From "ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors for Student Success: K-12 College- and Career-Readiness Standards for Every Student", use mindset 3, Sense of belonging in the school environment, and mindset 5, belief in using abilities to their fullest to achieve high-quality results and outcomes.

From the same document, use behavior-social skills standard 3, create relationships with adults that support success, while introducing students to "Faith" by Galantis and Dolly Parton featuring Mr. Probz.

Sometimes our students need to be reminded that they can, in fact, rise up in the face of adversity. It may take a ton of support from people like you, but they can stand up and stay strong. Remind them that you will be there to support them every step of the way!

NEW! CTE Dual Credit Tracker

Do you have students attending multiple colleges for dual credit classes? Is it hard to keep up with who is doing what? If so, never fear! We've got you covered with this new CTE Dual Credit Tracker.

NEW! Superintendent's Webcast – Kentucky Standards of Practice for School Counselors

The Dec. 17 superintendents' webcast provided an introduction to the Kentucky Standards of Practice for School Counselors

NEW! 'It's a New Day for the Kentucky ILP' webcast

A recent Kentucky Department of Education webcast details the new Kentucky Individual Learning Plan.

Early Graduation Pathway Sample Students

This document from the Kentucky Department of Education offers some examples of how students can complete the early graduation pathway. Do you have other examples you'd like to see? Please email them to Damien Sweeney.

Dual Credit Guidance Available in Latest Webinar

In this Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) webinar on dual credit guidance, learn from Kiley Whitaker, Morgan Lovitt and Damien Sweeney from KDE's Office of Career and Technical Education and Student Transition and Harmony Little of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

New Minimum High School Graduation Requirements Webcast

This Kentucky Department of Education webcast can help you stay in the loop about the new minimum high school graduation requirements.

Transition Readiness Webcast

Tale a look at this Kentucky Department of Education video to learn more about transition readiness and dual credit partnerships.

Thank you to the following organizations for partnering with me recently!

Floyd County schools

Hardin County schools

Infinite Campus Interchange

Mercer County schools

Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative

Social and Emotional Health Standing Committee

State Interagency Council


Resolutions are hard! That is why most of us quit or give up on our resolutions as early as February, according to this article by Best Life. Instead, what is the one word you want to live by in 2020? Is it balance, strive, faith,  presence, mindfulness or something else? Identify one word that can ground you and encourage you to be your best self this year.