Counselor Connection

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May Is Mental Health Awareness Month

You are valid. You are important. You are worthy. Your mental health matters. These are messages I want all school counselors to know and truly receive. Remind yourself that you deserve to be healthy. Remind your students, colleagues and school community that they deserve the same thing. Let's #breakthestigma about mental health together.

The Department for Behavioral Health has put some incredible infographs together that are linked below. Please distribute these to your school community. They discuss staying mentally healthy at home, resources and contact information for people enduring domestic violence, recovery resources for substance abuse and coping with financial stress during the pandemic. Click on the attachments, download the documents and share!

Middle School

Middle School EILA Opportunity

Learn from Stacey Russell (Boone County) and Amanda Warder (Bowling Green Independent) in this video.These school counselors discuss best practices and lessons learned in their own experience. Not only are these interviews helpful for middle school counselors, but they can help counselors from all levels!

In Warder's interview, she mentions an emotional check-in that she uses through Google Forms. You may view the emotional check-in form, bu please do not complete it.

After watching the video, send an email to Kristen Jarboe requesting your certificate.

Check Out KDE's COVID-19 School Counseling Page and Graduation Requirements Page

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has a dedicated school counseling page filled with resources for school counselors. We recently added a resource on how school counselors can have a tiered response to the pandemic. We hope you take a look!

We also have a page that answers frequently asked questions in reference to graduation requirements and considerations.

school counseling advisory council

Counselor’s advisory group discusses importance of staying connected with students during COVID-19 crisis

(FRANKFORT, KY)  – The Kentucky Department of Education’s (KDE) School Counselor Advisory Council (SCAC) met virtually May 13 and stressed the importance of not only staying connected with students as they complete the 2019-2020 school year but also remaining connected throughout the summer.

You can read the story about the meeting on Kentucky Teacher, view the agenda and watch a video of the meeting.

Pushout Documentary

Pushout is Free Until 6/16/2020

Girls of color experience discriminatory, punitive and unfair treatment in schools at alarming rates. Take a deep dive into the practices, cultural beliefs and policies that disrupt one of the most important factors in girls' lives: education. Watch Pushout for free until June 16.


Special Student-to-Student Survey from the Prichard Committee

I know we’re bumping up against the very end of school, but I am making a special request. This is a  special survey that I would very much appreciate you have your students take.

The survey was designed by high school students from Kentucky’s Prichard Committee Student Voice Team in consultation with research experts to gather feedback from students across the state about what they experienced at home and at school during the COVID-19 school closures. It is the first statewide student-driven study of its kind.

The results will be published this summer and presented to the Kentucky Board of Education and other policymakers in order to help them figure out ways to make schools better as we come out of the crisis.

The survey should take no more than about 10 minutes to complete and is anonymous. Please post this survey to encourage and enlist student participation.

KDE will prioritize students’ academic, mental health needs when schools reopen

Meeting the academic and mental health needs of students will be a top priority for the staff of the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) as the agency helps schools and districts prepare for the eventual return of students to their classrooms.

KDE staff members addressed issues within both areas May 6 during a virtual meeting of the Local School Board Members Advisory Council.

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virtual bus to business

Now Playing: Virtual Bus to Business!

Bus to Business is a statewide initiative focused on connecting students with employers. The goal of the program is to show students what career pathways exist in their communities.

During these days of non-traditional learning and working from home, the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center has partnered with the Kentucky Department of Education to provide students the ability to learn about different careers with Virtual Bus to Business.

Four video interviews have premiered that feature leaders from across the state as they discuss their different industries and the pathways they took to lead them to where they are today. Available videos can be found on this YouTube channel and we have created two playlists: one for elementary school students, and one for middle and high school students. Download the student and teacher guide.

Videos now streaming include:

  • Ashli Watts, president and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
  • Nick Rowe, president of Kentucky American Water
  • Daniel Cameron, attorney general of Kentucky
  • Suzanne Cecil White, Cecil Farms Produce
  • Adam Hinton, Hinton Mills
  • Nico Casper and Ashley Mandel, UPS

Make sure you are subscribed and ready to tune in and learn about all of the great career opportunities in Kentucky. Stay tuned for more interviews!


too good for drugs

Check out Too Good for Drug Virtual Lessons

Kentucky’s Regional Prevention Centers (RPCs) across the state are excited to share "Too Good for Drugs" lessons virtually. These lessons are available to all Kentucky students and can be accessed by visiting the "Too Good for Drugs" webpage

Please note, currently lessons are available for grades 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and high school, but the remainder will be available soon. If you would like an email notification when grades K, 2 and 8 are available, email Laura Edwards

Each grade has 10 lessons and pre/post-tests that are linked for evaluation purposes. Each student who watches is asked to complete the corresponding pre/post-test found on the page with the lessons.

The "Too Good for Drugs" curriculum (training and materials) for your entire school is now free through the RPCs. The only requirement is that schools agree to participate in the program evaluation and also review policies and procedures related to substance use and mental health processes and updates when needed. RPC staff will discuss the requirements with the school’s administration during an onboarding process. 

For more information, contact your RPC.

May 15, 2020


School Counselors' Mixtape

My biggest concern through this pandemic is our students who have endured trauma. Please, check-in with students and families. Consider hosting drop-in times when students can drop into a Google Hangout or Zoom meeting with you. Offer a Google Voice phone number that students can text if they are in trouble or need to talk.

If you continuously try checking in with families and haven't heard from anyone, you may need to request a student welfare check. 

Listen to "Safe" by Nico Santos. The theme of this song is to help keep someone safe. Our kids need you to do just that. I believe in you and so do they!

Also,listen to "I Choose by Alessia Cara. I know that you choose your students every single day! Do they know how very important they are to you? We all need to be told that we are loved. Don't wait! Call your students now and let them know just how important they are to you!

If you have other songs that you recommend, send them to me at

Learning from Teenagers and College Students About the Impact of COVID-19

The Kentucky Cabinet for Children and Families has put together three wonderful videos. 

"Teen Voices of COVID-19"

"Teens Can Be Healthy at Home"

"Coping with COVID-19: Voices of Kentucky College Students"

EILA Opportunties

A series of digital trainings provided by the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center has been posted to KDE’s Professional Learning Bulletin Board. EILA for school counselors and CEU credit  is also available for all of these trainings.

The trainings include:

"Developing Emergency Operations Plans EOPS K-12 101"

"Implementing Psychological First Aid PFA in School and Postsecondary"

"Planning to Recover from Emergencies at Districts and Schools"

"Psychological First Aid: Addressing Mental Health Distress during Disasters"

"School EOPS In-Depth: Developing a Bereavement and Loss Annex"

"School EOPS In-Depth: Developing a Coop Annex"

"School EOPs In-Depth: Developing a Food Contamination Annex"

"School EOPS In-Depth: Planning for Infectious Diseases"

"School EOPs In-Depth: Planning for Large Events"

"Trauma-Informed Care for Schools Before During and After Possible Emergency Events"

"Understanding Educator Resilience and Developing a Self-Care Plan"

After completing the training sessions, please contact Rae Burgess or Doug Roberts to obtain your EILA or CEU certificate.

Advice from Elementary School Counselors for Elementary School Counselors (EILA Opportunity)

We have incredible elementary school counselors across the state!

In this video, you will hear from James Talley (Jefferson County), Heather Haynes (Jefferson County), Lauren Clark (Bullitt County), Lauren Zakem (Jefferson County), and Sarah Akin (Christian County).

Email Kristen Jarboe to get your EILA certificate after watching the video.

NCAA Information

NCAA Eligibility Center COVID-19 Response FAQs.

Resource from Edutopia

How districts are tackling the big issues now. Plus: 3 tips for humanizing digital pedagogy (Edutopia)

KDE helps schools through challenges of providing special education during NTI days

Visit Kentucky Teacher for the story and a link to a webcast.

KDE, KHEAA address impact of non-traditional instruction on KEES awards

Visit the Kentucky Department of Education Media Portal to watch the superintendents' webcast.

Resources for School Counselors During the Pandemic

Take a look at our Padlet with Corona Virus Resources.

Social/Emotional Learning Resources for Educators

Here, we offer a Padlet for social and emotional learning.

I strongly suggest you start with the "Kernels of Practice" article.

Nourish to Flourish

Self-Care for School Counselors

Have you ever wondered why virtual meetings can be so exhausting? After all, didn't it always seem like a dream to attend a meeting at your house, in your pajamas? Check out  "7 Tips to deal with Virtual Meeting Fatigue During Corona" from WYSA.