August Student Support Newsletter

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EngageOK: Counselors

August 2019

In this issue:

The New Scope of the Counselor Newsletter

We have revamped the counselor newsletter to reflect all of the exciting things happening within the Student Support office at OSDE! The student support newsletter will now contain information from the following discipline areas within our office; SEL and Mental Health in Schools, Academic Counseling, Career and College Readiness, Work-Based Learning and Industry Engagement, Family and Community Engagement, Alternative Education and Prevention. Grant highlights from the Project AWARE and School Climate Transformation grants housed within our office will also be shared here. 

If you feel there are those you work with who could benefit from the new scope of this newsletter please share it with them and have them request access from Beth Whittle.

Counselor Spotlight

Megan Kennedy, Emerging Leaders Award

Megan Kennedy is a school counselor at Union High School in Tulsa.  She won the Emerging Leader grant this year and attended the ASCA conference. As Megan reflected on what made her proud during the previous school year this is what she said: 

"I've used more technology to make it easier for students to access me. We’ve used a QR code for students to scan and access a Microsoft form to sign up to see me. It has made data collection MUCH easier as well as being more time-efficient for kids to sign up."

"I’m super proud of our activities for school counseling week. Since I’ve started working at Union we’ve done a needs assessment every year. This past school year, we more than doubled our response rate and that was all due to engaging our teachers in the data collection."

"Student successes that I’m most proud of are more on an individual basis. However, because I loop with my students it is always exciting to see the growth students make from year to year. Watching them use the skills you’ve taught them is always so rewarding!" Congratulations Megan!

Melanie Hayes, OSCA President 

Join us in congratulating Melanie Hayes as the new Oklahoma School Counselor Association President! Congratulations Melanie!

Nominate a School Counselor for the Spotlight

Do you want to recognize a colleague for doing amazing things in our field? Nominate them by emailing Beth Whittle.

SEL and Mental Health

Addressing Substance Abuse and Mental Health in Schools

This Joint SAMHSA-CMS informational Bulletin provides guidance to states and school systems about addressing mental health and substance use issues in schools. It provides examples of approaches for services in schools and describes some Medicaid authorities that states may use to cover services.

Mosaic SEL Curriculum - FREE

The MOSAIC approach includes a three-year curriculum to build students’ social-emotional skills and virtues, create opportunities for youth voice in schools, and promote a respectful and caring school climate.

MOSAIC guides middle school students to find their positive purpose by supporting character inspiration and skill mastery in daily 15-minute lessons sequenced around monthly themes.  At the end of each month, students practice skills and character virtues in the context of discussions that target school and community action.  However, MOSAIC is not confined to these lessons; it is designed for follow-through in all classes and school routines.

National School Mental Health Curriculum - FREE

To help states, districts, and schools advance comprehensive school mental health, as well as engage in a planning process around implementation of services, the MHTTC Network Coordinating Office and National Center for School Mental Health developed a national school mental health curriculum.

Project AWARE staff at OSDE had the opportunity to be trained in this curriculum and it has a wealth of information, tools and guidance. Even if you choose not to implement the entire curriculum there are resources for supporting mental health within a Multi-Tiered System of Support at each tier and how to best support mental health in schools. 

Overcoming Obstacles - FREE

Overcoming Obstacles is a wonderful resource for counselors looking to supplement SEL guidance lessons or help students process behaviors and choices on an individual level. Districts have used Overcoming Obstacles activities within trauma-informed in school discipline and have seen improvements in student behavior. All lessons are downloadable in English and Spanish and are grade level and presenting problem specific. 

College and Career Readiness

Beating the Odds

High school graduation is a big step in the life of a young person. Students make plans for their future and assume the best.

However, 10-20% of students who make a concrete commitment to go to college never make it. Financial burden, fear of leaving home, and enrollment requirements are a few factors that lead to this phenomenon known as Summer Melt. In some communities, as many as 40% of students who intend to go to college never get there.

Caring adults and strong systems of support must help students stay on track, stay committed to attending, and remind them to complete all of the necessary tasks to start college on the first day of classes. For students to beat the odds, they need targeted support during the summer before college so they arrive prepared academically, socially, and emotionally to succeed.

Hosting a Beating the Odds Summit is a way to support your students who have overcome obstacles to go to college. It is also a time to keep students on track to be ready on day one.

We hope you'll join us by hosting a #BeatingTheOdds event at your school, college campus, or in your community. Download our toolkit to learn how and make sure to register your event with us!  

ICAP Toolkit

With the roll out of ICAP for 9th grade students this year counselor's can take advantage of the many tools located in the ICAP toolkit to help in the planning and implementation process. 

Work-Based Learning and Industry Engagement

ICAP Webinar Series

Webinar series on Individual Career Academic Planning (ICAP) are held every third Thursday of each month from 1:00pm-2:00pm.

These webinars highlight successes and challenges from various ICAP pilot school districts, best practices on implementing the ICAP, ways to maximize online learning tools, guidance on career advising, advice on forging better partnerships with business and community organizations, and so much more. 

ICAP Webinar - August 15

ICAP Webinar Series - Using for ICAP and Career Development of students PK-12

Voice from the field: AJ Crowell, OKCareerGuide Coordinator at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education

To register, click here

Don’t forget to watch one of our archived ICAP webinars:

Focused Momentum

Small Teams Making BIG Impacts

Internships: Connecting Business and Education 

Family Engagement in ICAP

ICAP Webinar Series

ICAP and Alternative Education

ICAP and Purpose Connecting the Dots

Using OKCollegeStart to Implement the ICAP

All archived ICAP webinars will soon be available on


Annual Bullying Survey Results

BRCH Suicide Prevention Conference - CEU

Suicide Prevention Tookit Introduction Webinar - August 8th

Join the MHTTC for a webinar that will walk you through their new Suicide Prevention Toolkit (FREE). By the end of the webinar, participants will be able to describe how they can use the K12 Toolkit in their districts, including the specific sections on Prevention, Crisis Intervention, and Postvention. Participants will know how to access the K12 Toolkit in web-based and pdf formats, such that strategies can be deployed quickly in crisis intervention and postvention. Participants will learn about an innovative public-private partnership through Santa Clara County and Kognito, which enhances teacher self-efficacy in engaging with all students in their classrooms, especially those in need of mental health support or referral.

Open Doors - Creating a Healthy School Climate Webinar - Aug 8th

Imagine a place where you can’t wait to go every day — where you feel safe, connected, supported and excited about learning. What does it take for schools in your community to be like this?

In the third webinar of the 2019 Attendance Awareness Campaign, our speakers share school-wide strategies to create an engaging, healthy school climate that supports everyone in the school building. Whether it’s in an elementary or secondary setting, when school staff work together to increase students’ and families’ sense of belonging, safety and connection to school, and support their physical and emotional health, they can motivate kids to attend even when life is challenging. Our special guest speakers will share strategies that can shift the relationship between families and school staff, support students’ social and emotional learning and development, teacher's physical and emotional health, and improve the learning environment for everyone in the building.

Please note: Due to the high level of interest in this series, we are likely to exceed the webinar room capacity of 500. All registrants will receive the webinar recording, PowerPoint slides, and other materials after the session is complete. You might consider organizing a separate session to watch with a group using the recording and discussion guide. Guests are welcome to log in 15 minutes prior to the beginning of the webinar.

Academic Counseling

Have a question about graduation requirements?  Scheduling? Communicating with parents? Concurrent enrollment?  Posting grades? Transfer students? Who has time to search wandering websites, forgotten file drawers, and bustling binders for these answers AND serve students and families. Let us know and we’ll find the answer and share it with others who may have similar questions.  Email your questions to Petra Woodard, Executive Director of Academic Counseling, and she'll give you ACCESS--Academic Counseling Connections to Enrich Student Support.  Your contribution will help get us all on the same page as we prepare Oklahoma’s graduates!

Family and Community Engagement

The Value of Independence with the Goals of Interdependence

Nurturing the Amazing Teen Brain

Project AWARE and School Climate Transformation

Welcome the Project AWARE Program Manager

We would like to announce our new Program Manager for Project AWARE, Cheryl McGee. Cheryl is a licensed professional counselor who worked as an elementary school counselor in Norman Public Schools previous to beginning her new adventure with Project AWARE. Cheryl has extensive experience in community based mental health services as well as grants management. We are happy to have her join our growing team!

Employment Opportunity

OSDE is happy to announce we have posted a position for a Statewide Suicide Prevention Specialist! Please locate the job description here and share with anyone you feel may be interested! 


We welcome your feedback! Please fill out the form here to let us know how we can better support you in the work you do!


Kids on the Block - FREE 

Family Builders in OKC provides free mandatory reporting training for staff as well as Rescue and Report and Anti-bullying programs for students K-6. You can find a link to their free programming here. If you are in OKC or surrounding schools districts Family Builders would be happy to visit your schools and provide their programs to your staff and students. You may contact Brittany Joyner or Helen Palmer at 405-232-8226 to schedule.