November 2019 Student Support Newsletter

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

November 2019

In this issue:

Counselor Spotlight

Donni Harris

At John Ross Elementary they thrive on relationships! Donni Harris has the joy of working with almost 800 students and a little over 100 staff members every day.  Conscious Discipline (CD) is a huge part of her counseling program, Donni says it has guided her in being an even better wife and mother of 2.  Whether she's working with teachers, parents, teaching guidance lessons, leading small groups, or assisting individual students CD is her foundation. John Ross is filled with parent support, so Donni enjoys giving back to them by hosting parent nights. She offers CD parent nights so that the same language and tools can be used at home and at school.

Donni's students love giving back to the community. Donni and fellow teacher, Heidi Walter, guide students after school through their Nighthawk Service Cub.  Last year one of their big projects included constructing an outdoor classroom and this year, with the help of a grant from the OKC Zoo and assistance from a couple of Eagle Scout Projects, they were able to add a Butterfly Garden and Observation Center to their outdoor classroom! Their next project involves collecting underwear and socks for individuals who experience homelessness in the metro. Donni states that "watching students smile as they serve the community leaves her feeling boastful".  

Although the school days are filled with a large variety of tasks, emotions and unexpected events, Donni loves the relationships created through it all!

“At every moment you have a choice between approaching the world with a spirit of love and learning or one of fear and punishing. That choice is yours.” -Conscious Discipline 

Linda Nunley

Linda Nunley is a counselor at Yukon Independence Intermediate. She helped develop the Oklahoma Standards for School Counselors in 2004 and has advocated for the school counseling profession since she began as a counselor.  

Linda has had a huge impact on students, individually challenging them to be their best. She has also encouraged teachers, staff and other counselors along the way. Mrs. Nunley is the ideal example of a counselor as she genuinely is present with both students and staff when she talks to them.  Linda's empathetic understanding and knowledge of real world expectations helps students that do not believe they are capable of great success. Linda's colleagues report that "she is amazing and she deserves the kudos she would not ever ask for."

Krista Sain

Krista Sain is a counselor at Idabel Central. As most school counselors in Oklahoma do, Krista wears a lot of hats. Krista's coworkers recognize her ability to build relationships with all students.. Because Krista has developed such strong relationships with both parents and students they never hesitate to come to her for help. Krista's coworkers state that because of these strong relationships parents and students flock to her at events.

Ms. Sain teaches a Character Counts class and meets with ALL students each week. Krista assesses current issues within the school then develops tailored lessons to deliver on aweekly basis. Krista is extremely invested in the school community, understadning the needs of all studentsl. For example, Idabel Central does not have an art teacher so Krista incorporates art into her guidance lessons and individual counseling sessions, allowing several students to take their art to state level competitions.

Ms. Sain also serves as Idabel Central's Building Test Coordinator. In addition to organizing test booklets, accommodations, monitors and proctors Krista also makes time to teach students test taking strategies to ease anxiety during testing.

SEL and Mental Health

Youth Leadership Oklahoma Currently Accepting Student Applications

Each year approximately 50 high school juniors from across Oklahoma are selected for Youth Leadership Oklahoma. The class will spend May 31st- June 5th, 2020 traveling to selected locations in Oklahoma to learn about and experience our state’s treasures, meet adult community and state leaders and develop personal leadership skills. Each student selected will receive a scholarship for program expenses related to transportation, lodging and meals. 

For further questions contact Elizabeth Logan

Road to Recovery Regional Training - 12.5 hrs Free CEUs

This 2 day Oklahoma Systems of Care cross-collaborative training will support all
levels of providers in learning about best practices and techniques to help reduce
the stress faced by children with IDD who have also experienced trauma, along with
their families, and the providers who serve them.

The Road to Recovery Tool Kit was developed by the Hogg Foundation and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). The goal of the toolkit it to share resources and learn about development, traumatic stress, the nuances of working with children with IDD and their families. The toolkit also stresses our own need for self-care so that we will become more effective in our jobs and find even more reward in working with the children and families in our care. Open to ALL levels of providers and partners. See more information here.

School Based Mental Health Innovations in a High Trauma Setting

This presentation looks at creative intervention strategies used to address continually evolving needs at a “newcomer campus” in Houston ISD. This campus serves recent immigrant and refugee students who have no or very limited English language proficiency and who often have had limited formal education in their native countries.

Strategies that have been implemented to serve this population are described, including the therapy bunny, the school garden and restorative justice circles. An overview of the needs of the school and the students is presented to provide background on the development and implementation of the intervention strategies. The challenges that have arisen, creative solutions that have been adopted and unexpected successes are shared in order to provide participants with strategies they can implement in their own settings. To view this archived webinar click here.

Teach Kindness - Free Evidence Based SEL Curriculum

Teach Kindness is an easy and no cost way to foster kindness and improve school climate in grades K-8. Teach Kindness offers best-in-class resources, free of charge, to teach and
foster kindness over a four-week period of the school’s choosing. Teachers and other participating school staff will receive ongoing access to outstanding kindness-building
lesson plans following the successful completion of Teach Kindness. By teaching kids how to practice kindness, be more empathetic, and manage their emotions and actions, they
become better equipped to navigate our complex world. For more information click here. For questions contact Steve Hahn

Career and College Readiness

Monthly ICAP Meetings

The ICAP process was designed by educators like you! In order to ensure this process meets all of our student and family needs we need your help. If you are interested in joining the K12 College and Career Readiness Community to share new ideas, resources, and suggestions join us for our monthly ICAP Check-in webinars.

Dates below: 

We know that you need a variety of resources that is why we are excited to offer you three different ICAP implementation guides to meet any district where they are! To view our ICAP toolkits view the page below:

ICAP Webinar Series

November 21, 2019

Join us to hear first-hand perspective on how a rural school district was inspired by a large school district to host an ICAP: Career Fair.

Guest Presenter: Falon Wilson, High School Counselor, Chelsea Public Schools

To register, click here



Alcohol misuse doesn’t just put students at risk; it threatens the ability of schools to achieve their educational objectives. AlcoholEdu for High School takes a public health approach to preventing alcohol abuse, incorporating evidence-based prevention methods to create a highly engaging user experience. AlcoholEdu is proven to reduce negative consequences associated with underage drinking. Through this scalable online program, high schools can reach all students with a consistent message and empower them to make safer and healthier decisions about alcoholAlcoholEdu for High School is available at no cost to high schools in the state by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. For more information about the online program, please contact Wyjuana Montgomery at

Lions Quest Prevention Training

East Central University Jan. 16th 2020 from 8:00-4:30

This professional staff development workshop will certify counselors and teachers to use SAMHSA and CASEL’s highest rated research based Lions-Quest SEL curriculum that has proven effective in preventing bullying, suicide and substance abuse while increasing academic test scores in grades K thru 8. Curriculum training and teacher materials are provided free thru an LCIF Core IV Grant awarded to the Lions of Oklahoma. The workshop is approved for 6 hours LPC credit. The workshop is limited to 36 participants. Registration deadline is Dec. 15th.

To register: Send name, school name, grade taught and contact e-mail address to:

Academic Counseling

2023 Graduation Checklists Now Live

The 2023 Graduation Checklists are live on our website!

Visit the web page here to access the new graduation checklists as well as checklists from previous years.

If you have any questions please contact Petra Woodard, Executive Director of Academic Counseling.

Superintendent's Advisory Council Now Accepting Applications

OSDE is currently accepting applications for Superintendent Hofmeister’s Student Advisory Council.

We will select 11th and 12th grade students from across Oklahoma to participate in this Council. The school district superintendent must sign off on the students' application for this Council. Applications are due by November 15th. The Student Advisory Council will meet twice during the spring semester. Students will need to provide their own transportation to the meetings, which will be held in Oklahoma City.

If students have any questions, please have them contact Justin Newton at (405) 522-8767 or

Please share this information with students and encourage them to complete this application and return it to Justin Newton at along with their most recent transcript.

Regents for Higher Education Academic Scholars Program

The Oklahoma State Regents' Academic Scholars Program was established by the State Regents in 1988 and formalized by statute in 1989 to enhance academic quality in Oklahoma colleges and universities. 

2020 Oklahoma high school graduates may qualify for the program in one of two ways:

ACT/SAT Scores

Students may qualify by scoring at or above the 99.5 percentile on the ACT or SAT. 

For fall 2020, the ACT required score is a total sum score of the ACT skill areas of 135.

For fall 2020, the SAT required score is a total sum score of the critical reading and math skill areas of 1540.

Nationally Recognized Awards

Students may also qualify by achieving one of the following designations: National Merit Scholar, National Merit Finalist, or United States Presidential Scholar.

Students are required to be Oklahoma Residents according to OSRHE Residency Policy (OSRHE Policy and Procedures Manual, Chapter 3 - Academic Affairs. View Section 3.18 of PDF file.). Attached is the 2020-21 Academic Scholars Program Application. It is also available online at

If you should have any questions, please contact Linette McMurtrey at (405) 225-9131.

Family and Community Engagement

Positive Parenting Practices Resources for Parents

Parenting a teen is not easy. Many outside influences distract our youth and add challenges to parenting efforts. Youth need adults who are there for them—people who connect with them, communicate with them, spend time with them and show a genuine interest in them. A key parental role is helping teens understand that their health and well-being—now and in the future—are not simply a matter of chance, but a matter of choice.

Visit the CDC's Adolescent and School Health web page for downloaded parent resources here.

Upcoming Events

Trauma Summit 2.0

Please join Superintendent Hofmeister as she welcomes Dr. Bruce Perry with the Child Trauma Academy to speak on Monday, February 17, 2020, at the Cox Convention Center. This event is FREE and open to all educators, non-profit partners, tribal entities, other government agencies and any organization who currently works with at-risk children. We are working on having the summit approved for LPC/LMFT CEUs (2 units). Register here.

2019 Student Preparation Conferences

Click here for registration.


Trauma Informed Educators Network Podcast

 the Trauma Informed Educators Network Podcast is live and currently has episodes featuring Jim Sporleder, Claudia Roodt, and Ingrid Cockhren.  The podcast was established out of the Trauma Informed Schools Network, a Facebook group with nearly 17,000 members from 100+ different countries.  The network is designed to connect educators and practitioners around the world to share ideas, gain new ideas, and share resources! Click here for access to the podcast or here for access to the Facebook group.


MD curated resources about Trauma Informed Care for Physicians, Parents, and Professionals. Visit the website here.

ODMHSAS Prevention Toolkit 

Click here for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health's Prevention Toolkit. This toolkit contains ready made forms to use for early student referral to services as well as suicide prevention. 

MHTTC Trauma Informed Webinar Series

Part 1 : Trauma Awareness and Key Considerations

Part 2 : Trauma Sensitive Practices


The Body Keeps the Score Book Study

If you would like to join the upcoming Project AWARE Trauma Informed Book Study please contact