October 2016 Newsletter

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

EngageOK Counselors

October 2016


Counselor Leadership in Action

In their book School Counselor Leadership: The Essential Practice, Dr. Anita Young and Marcy Miller Kneale say, “We believe leadership may be the essential practice needed to mobilize comprehensive school counseling program implementation. Working as a school counselor leader requires moving beyond transformative school counseling roles to initiating schoolwide or districtwide school counseling systemic strategies and being present at the decision-making tables” (p. 3).

This last month has allowed me an opportunity to see many School Counselors actively participating in leadership roles. On Wednesday, Oct. 5, the Superintendent’s Counselor Advisory Committee gathered at the Oklahoma State Department of Education and discussed counselor initiatives and concerns with Superintendent Hofmeister. I was so energized after this meeting! Great suggestions were made in terms of Professional Development targeted to School Counselors, how to manage 504 plans, and much, much more.

Our partners at the Oklahoma Department of Career Tech hosted five regional GuidanceFest meetings across the state. Counselor leaders were learning about the Ok Career Guide website, what is happening in our state and nation in education in terms of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), counselor leadership, legislation, and prevention. Thank you to all of you that participated! You had such insightful questions and best practices to share. I know that you are leaders in your district and are relaying all of that new knowledge to others at your sites.

Lastly, I had the honor to work with Duncan Public School counselors, Pre-K through 12, on devising an action plan for implementing Career Pathways in their district. I very much enjoyed our round table discussion and hearing all of the exciting opportunities happening across all grade levels in Duncan that are moving them forward in College & Career Readiness Counseling and the future implementation of Career Pathways.

I know that initiatives like thesare occurring all over the state of Oklahoma. I am so happy to  be a part of your important conversations. I would like to leave you with this quote from Peter Drucker, “Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes.”

What will you do in your building and district to help lead? What are the goals and vision of your position and department? How will you show the results of your leadership as the School Counselor? I challenge you all to step up and lead. I have faith in all of you!  Happy Fall and I can’t wait to work and collaborate with all of you!!

Mid-Del Superintendent Dr. Rick Cobb, students, Director of Communication Stacey Boyer, and Coordinator of College and Career Readiness Meagan Bryant all participated in the Mid-Del Lip Sync Challenge. They performed the Michael Jackson classic, "Thriller."

School Spotlight: Mid-Del Lip Syncs Challenge Raises Money and Builds  Positive Climates

What started as a way to raise money for each school’s Special Olympics Teams in the Mid-Del School District has turned into so much more. Several schools have posted videos in the first ever “Mid-Del Lip Sync Challenge.”

Mid-Del Superintendent Dr. Rick Cobb said the challenge has been fun for faculty, staff and students.

“It was started by the Midwest City High School administration to raise money for their Special Olympics program,” Cobb said. “Since I had a meeting scheduled with our leadership students from all three high schools anyway, I thought it would be fun to include them. They learned the moves in about five minutes. I never did. And I have had 30-plus years.

Cobb and some of the district administrative team plus students put together a terrifying rendition of “Thriller,” complete with special effects (well, fake smoke and zombie makeup).  

Carl Albert Middle School, Kerr  Middle School, Midwest City High School, Monroney Middle School, and the Superintendent’s Advisory Board all have posted their videos. Cobb said more videos from other schools are still in the works.

Superintendent's Student Advisory Council Applications Available

We need your help! We are currently accepting applications for Superintendent Hofmeister’s Student Advisory Council. We will select 25 juniors and seniors from across Oklahoma to participate in this Council. Your district superintendent must recommend students for this Council. In addition to the district superintendent’s recommendation, names and contact information for two additional references we will contact will also be needed. Applications are due by Nov. 11, 2016.

The Student Advisory Council will meet twice during the spring semester 2017. Students will need to provide their own transportation to the meetings, which will be held at the Oklahoma State Department of Education-State Board Room (2500 N. Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City). If you have any questions, please call Heather Griswold at 405-522-8758 or Heather.Griswold@sde.ok.gov. Applications should be submitted to Martha.Eaves@sde.ok.gov.

CLICK HERE to download the application.

We encourage you to print off the application and let students know that it is available. We know we have great students in Oklahoma, and we can't wait to hear from them.

Webinars are Training Hundreds

More than 250 people from districts and schools all across Oklahoma have taken our first two webinars, Mental Health Concerns and Your Students and Drugs and Alcohol in Schools! All webinars offer CEUs for licensed individuals. We also provide a professional development certificate. The free webinars all should last about an hour.

Our next webinar will be "Building a Crisis Team." This webinar was rescheduled following our response to a school crisis. The new date and time is Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016 at noon. Even if you had signed up for the last webinar, you will need to sign up again for the new time and date. CLICK HERE to sign up to attend virtually with us!

Course Description: Many times schools don’t have a crisis team in place and have never thought about it until they are in the middle of a crisis. This training includes how to respond to a tragedy (including suicide, trauma, school violence, community violence, etc.), who should be on a crisis team, and how to work with your community and the OSDE to support your school community. Resources and best practices will be shared with attendees.

Also in November we will offer "Bullying in 2016." It is set for Thursday, Nov. 10 at 11 a.m. CLICK HERE to sign up to attend virtually with us!

Course Description: There has been a problem with bullying for generations. This course will address what specific prevention techniques, interventions and reports should your district should have in responding to these incidents and how counselors should handle bullying. This course will include: how to respond to students who say they are being bullied; how to ask for help from principals and other educators; and who else needs to know about the issue. Resources will be provided to attendees, as well as current data.  Scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 10  at 11 a.m.

While these sessions are in the works, Sutherlin said she is open to other ideas and needs of counselors and other educators. You can contact her at  Michelle.Sutherlin@sde.ok.gov or 405-521-2106 for other sessions you would like to see. Or CLICK HERE to provide ideas. Sutherlin said she is also available to give in-person professional development on these sessions or others upon request.

Sessions in the works include:

Tuesday, November 1 at Noon - Building a Crisis Team
Thursday, November 10 at 11 a.m. - Bullying Prevention in 2016

January - Working with Students Returning from a Mental Health Crisis
February - Teen Dating Violence and Sexual Assault
March - How to Build Empathy in the Classroom and Beyond
April - Community Collaboration: How to work with your community to serve your school
May - Engaging Parents in Prevention


YOU Can Save a Life!

By Kodi Pollard, ODMHSAS - Yes, YOU can and it won’t cost you anything! Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach SCHOOL COUNSELORS, parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing challenges or in crisis due to mental health or addiction issues.

Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. This 8-hour course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD) and eating disorders.

YOU too can become a First-Aider! Right now, the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) Prevention Division is providing Youth Mental Health First Aid training throughout the state of Oklahoma FOR FREE! Yes, that’s right folks; it won’t cost your school anything. All you have to do is sign-up, provide a place to conduct the training and we will do the rest! This training can be completed in one 8-hour training day, or it can be divided into two 4-hour training sessions, depending on the preference of your school.

Visit our website to learn more and access/complete a request form to schedule a training event in your area. You can access the site by CLICKING HERE. You can also contact Kodi Pollard, Sr. MHFA Prevention Field Program Representative at 405-522-6051 or by email at kapollard@odmhsas.org. You need to have at least 10 participants to schedule a training event. There is a cutoff of 30 individuals per event.

If you don’t have enough staff to have an event just for your school, NO PROBLEM! You can team up with other schools within your area to host a training or even make it part of a staff professional development day. All we would need is a location, date and time. We provide the manuals and the instructors to conduct the training.

New Legislation FAQs

Since we have been on the road traveling and talking about the new legislation affecting counselors, we have had many great questions. Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers.

HB 2784

“How should permanent records be stored electronically?”

The OSDE is in the process of providing best-practice guidance and will be shared soon.

HB 3218

“Do Juniors and Seniors who missed the EOI in either ELA or Math have to participate in the sophomore suite of assessments?”

Not for the 2016-2017 school year.

“Do juniors and seniors have to have taken the English, math, Biology, and US History assessment prior to graduation?”

This is a local decision. Each Local School Board was directed to put a policy in place in regards to assessments being tied to graduation.

“Do sophomores have to take the Sophomore Science Assessment if they have already taken the Biology I EOI?”

No. For this year only, any sophomore who has a valid (A, P, LK, U) Biology I EOI assessment score can be exempt from the sophomore science assessment.

“If a sophomore student has an LK or U on their Biology I EOI and we exempt them, will this negatively impact our accountability score?”

No. If a student has a valid Biology I EOI score, the student will be coded as “exempt” for the science assessment. The score will not be pulled again and negatively impact the school’s accountability score.

“We are offering the Pre-ACT to our sophomores, can this replace the spring Sophomore Suite of Assessments?”

No. The Pre-ACT is an excellent assessment for your sophomore students and will provide valid data to students, families, and teachers. However, this assessment cannot replace the federally required assessments being administered this spring.

SB 1105

“Do 5th year seniors have to be enrolled in a 6-hour day?”

No. Any student who was denied a diploma for failure to meet graduation requirements due to lack of credits may only be enrolled for the portion of the day for the courses in which the student must complete to graduate. See the article in this newsletter concerning Part-Time Graduation Report to learn how to receive funding for these students.

SB 1380

“Does Environmental Science count as a lab science?”

If the Environmental Science class is taught to the Oklahoma State Standards for High School Environmental Science, it can count as 1 of the 3 required lab sciences regardless of which year it is offered. If Environmental Science is taught as a Pre-Biology course, it will not count as 1 of the 3 sciences needed for graduation.

Can we still embed Fine Arts into other courses?”

Please CLICK HERE to see Fine Arts Competencies.

Part Time Graduation Report Information

Pursuant to the changes in Senate Bill 1105, the previous Wave ACE Part-time quarterly reports have been renamed the Graduation Part-Time Reports. 

The changes in the law still allow a student who has been denied a standard diploma by his or her school district for failing to meet the requirements of either the college preparatory/work curriculum or the core curriculum to re-enroll in the district that denied the diploma following denial. 

Students that enroll for this purpose should not be reported on your First Quarter Statistical report or the Annual Statistics Report. They must be submitted through the Graduation Part-Time Report in order for the district to add those students to their State Aid funding calculation. State Aid funding is to be calculated based upon the percentage of the total school day in which the student is enrolled. 

State aid can only be received for the periods necessary to meet graduation requirements and not elective courses. On the Graduation Part-Time Report, you will be required to provide the Number of Classes in a Day and the Number of Days in a Quarter for your school’s calendar and schedule. Each student enrolled on a part-time basis to meet graduation requirements will need to be provided along with the number of classes enrolled, number of membership days, and the actual number of days the student was in attendance. 

The Graduation Part-Time Report will be collected on a quarterly basis at the dates below:

Quarter 1 Collection: 11/4/2016-11/30/2016

Quarter 2 Collection: 12/29/2016-1/31/2017

Quarter 3 Collection: 3/1/2017-4/2/2017

Quarter 4 Collection: 5/1/2017-6/1/2017

College Application Week Coming Soon

College Application Week (CAW) is part of a national initiative sponsored by the Kresge Foundation, the Lumina Foundation, and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the American Council on Education. On the state level, the project is endorsed by the State Secretary of Education’s office, Regents’ Chancellor Glen D. Johnson, the Oklahoma State Department of Education and the Oklahoma State Chamber. 

The designated dates for CAW are November 14-18, but it is not required that an event is hosted during that week.

After Oklahoma GEAR UP’s successful pilot of the CAW program with their designated school districts in 2012, a partnership was formed with the Oklahoma College Assistance Program (OCAP) to allow the expansion of the program statewide. Last year, thousands of high school seniors in Oklahoma submitted online college applications as a result of CAW.

To learn more about College App Week and to see the many resources available to help you plan and host your CAW event, visit OCAP.org/CAW.

To register your school for CAW, simply complete this registration survey.

All registered schools will receive free “I Applied to College” stickers for the number of seniors reported on their completed surveys.

For more information, contact Letha Huddleston at (405) 234-4345 or lhuddleston@ocap.org. For those who would like to participate, a conference call regarding CAW will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 10 a.m. To join the call, dial 1-888-446-7584. At the prompt, enter the access code 7274409#. To mute or un-mute your line, press *6.

Contact Information


Shelly Ellis, M.Ed.
Executive Director of Counseling
(405) 521-3549

Michelle Sutherlin, MHR
Director of Prevention Services
(405) 521-2106


Both our counseling site and prevention site are changing! We are updating our most current information and resources. Check back often to see the updates!

Click below for: 


Professional Collaboration Network

The most effective collaboration, learning, and sharing happens when we share ideas. We encourage counselors, educators, administrators, parents, students, and the community to participate in our Professional Collaboration Network.

Web site: www.preventionok.com
Twitter: @PreventionOK
Instagram: YouthPreventionOK




American School Counselors Association

Oklahoma School Counselors Association

International Bullying Prevention Association

Oklahoma Counseling Association



OSCA Fall Conference

OCA Fall Conference

OCA Mid-Winter ConferenceIBPA Conference

ASCA National Conference

Bullying, Cyberbullying & Suicide in Today's World


Awareness Calendar 


World AIDS Day – Dec. 1

Human Rights Day – Dec. 10


Mental Health Month

National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month


Random Acts of Kindness Week – Feb. 14-20

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week – Feb. 21-27

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month


Self-Injury Awareness Day – 

March 1

Kick Butts Day (tobacco free) – March 15 


National Youth Violence Prevention Week – April 3-7

Day of Silence – April 15

Sexual Assault Awareness Month Day of Action – April 4

Alcohol Awareness Month

Child Abuse Prevention Month

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

National Counselor Awareness Month


World No Tobacco Day – May 31

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week – May 7-13


Resources Always Available

The office or prevention services has a resource library with about 150 items that you can check out and have mailed to you at any time! There are 66 DVDs, 19 curriculums, and 64 books available. Click the links below to see the list and print the form to check out materials.

Resource Library Check-Out Form

Resource Library List

How Can We Help You?

There are many ways we can serve you as the counseling team at the Oklahoma State Department of Education. Here are some specific ways:

  • We offer webinars at least once a month on different topics. Each webinar is free and offers CEUs.
  • We are available to come to you to do live trainings in some cases.
  • We are available to conduct a direct webinar with your site only.
  • We are planning on hosting training for crisis teams this spring.
  • We have tons of resources available to you through our web site and our resource library.
  • We are available to answer your questions or concerns any time. Just call or email us!
  • We are able to respond to a crisis in your school district. We can help guide you through your process to respond with best practices.