Counselor Connection

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Addressing Race-Related Stress and Trauma

School Counselors: 

We cannot stand by silently. No matter if you are in an urban district or a rural one, people are hurting and conversations must be had. How can you create opportunities for growth and learning during this time and once we return to school about race, racism, race-related stress and trauma?

The recently released "Guidance on How Districts Can Facilitate Conversations About Race-based Stress and Trauma" from the Kentucky Department of Education that should help you facilitate courageous conversations about racism, equity and race-related stress and trauma.

Watch this 3-minute video from Interim Commissioner of Education Kevin C. Brown giving his statement about racial injustices throughout our country to the Kentucky Board of Education.

Here are race and equity resources from the American School Counselor Association (ASCA).


ASCA Webcast to Address Race-Based Stress

Join me for a pop-up webinar with the American School Counseling Association (ASCA) noon-1 p.m. ET June 9.

The webinar is free and open to everyone. Attendees should be able to acknowledge and address current events that cause race-based stress and trauma, discuss the realities of race-based stress and trauma and understand how it plays out in students’ lives. They also will be able to identify next steps in becoming culturally sensitive and competent.

Read more about the webinar on Kentucky Teacher. To register, visit the ASCA website.

KY Framework of Best Practices for School Counselors Cover

New Kentucky Framework of Best Practices for School Counselors

I am so excited to introduce you to this framework!

School counselors are an important component of K-12 educational leadership teams within Kentucky schools. The "Kentucky Framework of Best Practices for School Counselors" helps school counselors better understand their roles. This document also allows for reflection that can be used to improve and expand comprehensive school counseling programs, along with the practices utilized by individual school counselors.


Considerations for Reopening Schools Supporting Student and Staff Wellness

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) released a new guidance document May 26 about how districts can support the social and emotional health of students, faculty and staff when schools reopen in the fall.

The document – “COVID-19 Considerations for Reopening Schools Supporting Student and Staff Wellness” – addresses planning considerations for the social and emotional well-being of students and staff during the transition when schools reopen. 

For more information, read this Kentucky Teacher story.


KDE Partners with Kentucky Education Television and the Department for Behavioral Health on Mental Health Professional Development 

This free, self-paced course being offered by KET and the Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health is a comprehensive look at mental health issues among teens and young adults, updated with resources for the novel coronavirus pandemic. Topics include depression and anxiety, trauma and toxic stress, and mental health interventions.

The course teaches counselors how to listen and  foster connections and a sense of safety to help students, both in-person and online. At the end of the course, learners earn a certificate of completion for 1.5 hours of professional development and EILA credit.

This course is open through June 30 each school year.


KCTCS Waives its Dual Credit Assessment and Placement Policy

By Shauna King-Simms, Harmony Little and LorryBeth Wilson

Given the inability to assess/test students due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) colleges have agreed to waive the dual credit placement policy for the 2020-2021 school year.

Students may be admitted and placed into general education courses with a high school grade point average (GPA) per the table below. Course prerequisites listed in the KCTCS catalog remain in place and also can be met using the GPA indicators. 

If a student has both recognized test scores and a GPA, they may be placed at the highest level demonstrated by either scores or GPA. High school freshman without a GPA may be admitted to one dual credit course with a high school guidance counselor’s recommendation in their first term of dual credit until they earn a GPA.  



Technical Courses


General Education courses with no placement


College Ready in Reading


College Ready in English


College ready for MAT 105, 116, 126, 141, 146, 151 and 150/100 corequisite


College Ready for MAT 150


Our goal is the success of all dual credit students.  While the waiver policy is in place, it is important to rely on the high school recommendation through the counselor, principal, teachers, etc., to understand the student's readiness for a college class.

The intent of the waiver is provide opportunities for students who were previously on-track to take and earn college credit in high school, but have not been able to test or re-test due to COVID-19.

For additional questions and information, contact the college’s dual credit coordinator.

June 5, 2020


School Counselors' Mixtape

We are school counselors. We care for and do what is right for all students regardless of the color of their skin. Every Kentuckian that is aware of the racial injustices that have occurred in our state and throughout our nation has been affected. For that, we cannot be silent or ignore what is happening. 

Here are two songs that can help your school community better understand the tragedies that have happened, while offering us hope that tomorrow can be a better day if we are willing to openly discussed the wounds that black people have had to carry for so long.

"Glory" by John Legend helps black people unite through tragedy and look toward a brighter day. You can connect this to ASCA Mindset & Behavior for Student Success  3: Sense of belonging in the school environment. The Behavior Social Skill 8: Demonstrate advocacy skills
and ability to assert self, when
necessary, also applies.

Lecrae Ft. Tori Kelly's song "I'll Find You" is specifically for you. We learn of how hurt some individuals may be as a result of the fear they live with every single day. This fear may not be for themselves. It may be for a friend or family member. What we do know is that our school counselors can be the ones who find these hurting students, colleagues and families and help them overcome the inevitable pain they feel after recent events. 

If you need help facilitating courageous conversations about race or race-related stress and trauma, please don't hesitate to email me at

Resources from the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center

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 Special Superintendents' Webcast.

Nourish to Flourish

Self-Care for School Counselors

Let's pledge to continue to look for the good in the world. Check out the Good News Network as a way to remember that there is so much good being done by so many people, including you.

I'm so proud of you as a school counselors and helper. More importantly, our school counselors are innately people that strive to grow and learn. I couldn't be more proud.

Congratulations for completing another school year! Remember that you deserve grace this summer. Take care of you and recharge!