Counselor Connection

Counselor Connection

From the desk of Damien Sweeney, Ed.D.

Happy Black History Month!

Black History Month

Dear school counselors:

Let's celebrate Black History Month!

Our African American students need us. They need every single one of us to validate them, hear their stories and show them compassion. 

Check out our mixtape created just for you! This mixtape is here to help remind you of the deep and rich history in the African American community.

Track 1: "Able" Pharell Williams 

Track 2: "History Has Its Eyes on You" John Legend

Track 3: "Wake Up Everybody" John Legend, The Roots, Common, Melanie Fiona

Track 4: "Glory" John Legend

Track 5: "Rise Up" Andra Day

Track 6: "Africa Must Wake Up" Nas, Damian Marley, K'NAAN

Remember that so much of our jobs as school counselors is to provide equity in our schools. Your role allows you to see your school for everything it is and everything it can be.  How can we ensure that our minority students are getting what they need? How can we ensure our minority students feel supported?

Remember that you have the opportunity to be "the one." You can open up so many doors for your students and be the light that they need in order to find success and overcome obstacles. Our African American students need to be acknowledged this month (and every month) and they need you. Be the light!

Check out Teach Rock's recent newsletter on Black History Month for more ideas and lessons to celebrate our African American youth and educators!

Graduation Requirement Clarity

We have added a few questions and answers in the Minimum High School Graduation Requirement FAQ. These new questions and answers are about the visual and performing arts (VPA) requirement and transition readiness.

Now it should be clear that any arts class aligned to a student's Individual Learning Plan and that embeds the standards from that art form can count as the VPA requirement. The Kentucky Department of Education also hoped to clarify what counts toward each "bucket" for academic readiness.

Ignite #LoveinSchools

If you have gone to a conference recently, you have most likely seen the smile of Joel Katte. In this video interview, you will learn ways to connect with your students, become a fan of others in our profession, become comfortably uncomfortable and model mindfulness. 

joel katte

Giving Thanks

We all need encouragement. I want to take a moment to encourage three people that were always there to encourage me as an up and coming school counselor. Michelle, Tenesha and Tinisha are amazing people, friends and school counselors! Thank you for all that you do for your students and our profession!

JCPS School Counselors

Michelle Leslie, from left, school counselor at Dupont Manual High School (Jefferson County); Tenesha Marshall, transition counselor State Agency Schools (Jefferson County); and Dr. Tinisha Taylor, Western High School (Jefferson County)

Meet Daphne Darkomensah from Mercer County Public Schools

Daphne Mercer County School Counselor

Daphne Darkomensah, school counselor at King Middle School and Mercer Central (Mercer County)

Daphne Darkomensah is a new school counselor in Mercer County. She splits her time between two schools, King Middle School and Mercer Central. Check out how she engages her students while building their social and emotional skills, and exemplifies being a data-informed counselor.

Darkomensah's principal says the following about her:

"Being a new counselor, Daphne is dedicated and a go-getter. She cares about the students and goes above and beyond to ensure their success academically, socially and emotionally."

In her words, this is what Darkomensah has been up to this year:

"Some of the things I have been doing this year at Mercer Central include going into the homerooms to teach lessons on various topics, such as bullying, conflict resolution, communication skills, etc.

"This semester, I have been using the 'Why Try?' curriculum with our freshman homeroom twice a week. It is an evidence-based program (uses aspects from reality therapy and solution-focused brief therapy) centered around the act of resilience. It uses visual analogies to teach social-emotional skills and how to use these skills in a positive way to make better choices in school, home, etc.

"At King Middle School, I've been using the 'Why Try?' program during E.S.S. with a small group of students. These students were chosen for the group due to being high-risk, based on the number of behavior referrals, grades, etc. I also co-lead a girls group with our other middle school counselor, Mrs. Cheek. This group meets twice a month, and covers topics that girls at this age often struggle with (body image, peer pressure, etc)."  

Way to go, Daphne. On behalf of the school counselors in Kentucky, we are cheering you on every step of your journey!

February 25, 2020

counselor video series

Interested in learning one way to facilitate small counseling groups? Check out this video interview with Waggener High School (Jefferson County) teacher and basketball coach, Bryan O'Neill about a book study he did with his team!

'Black History Month is urgent reminder to close Kentucky's achievement gaps'

Read this Kentucky Teacher article by Aaron Thompson, president of the Council on Postsecondary Education.

'Want to close the achievement gap? Lace up your shoes and join the race'

Read this Courier Journal article by Damien Sweeney

'Closing the Achievement Gap: Resources for School Administrators Looking to Make a Change'

American University School of Education article

REL Appalachia Webinar Opportunity

"Paving the Pathway to College and Careers: The Nuts and Bolts of Transitions to Postsecondary Education" is scheduled for 3 to 4:15 p.m. ET Feb. 27.

Registration is available on Constant Contact.