Happy National School Counseling Week from TEA

Texas Education Agency

Counseling, Advising, & Student Supports

February 2020

CASS Newsletter

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Counselor Corner

Happy National School Counseling Week and welcome to the Counseling, Advising, and Student Supports (CASS) newsletter, a new TEA communication designed to keep school counselors and their partners in advising and student support services informed about agency initiatives and resources.

CASS is a new TEA team, working to support Texas schools as they plan, implement, and evaluate a comprehensive counseling program that prepares students for postsecondary success. The team is led by Alexis Bauserman, Deputy Director of the College, Career, and Military Preparation division.

This inaugural CASS newsletter includes staff introductions and invites your engagement. CASS team members are eager to connect meaningfully with counseling, advising, and student supports professionals across the state to better inform needs for resource development, training, and technical assistance.

Counseling Updates

Stephanie Lerner is the Counselor Support Program Manager and serves as a primary point of contact for Texas school counselors. Stephanie's work supports the strong implementation of comprehensive school counseling programs that conform to the Texas Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Programs. Stephanie has 27 years of experience in education as a school counselor, classroom teacher, school counseling trainer and author. You can reach Stephanie at Stephanie.Lerner@tea.texas.gov.

Resource Alert: Honoring National School Counseling Week (NSCW)

According to the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), the purpose of NSCW is "to focus public attention on the unique contribution of school counselors within U.S. school systems." Every year during the first week of February, ASCA sponsors NSCW in order to "[highlight] the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career."  This year NSCW will take place from February 1 to February 5. To identify ways you can engage in this weeklong celebration of the school counseling profession, review ASCA's resources and information at schoolcounselor.org.

Advising Updates

Lindsey Phillips is the Effective Advising Program Manager. Her role is to identify and promote effective postsecondary advising practices as a key function of school counseling programs. Lindsey is currently leading a collaborative effort with stakeholders across the state to develop an Effective Advising Framework. Through this initiative, TEA will support school counselors and their administrators through aligning roles and responsibilities, setting goals, and continuously improving advising practices in a strategic effort to graduate students who are college, career, and military ready. Lindsey has six years of experience in education in 7th-12th grade school counseling, higher education admissions and financial aid and workforce development. You can reach Lindsey at lindsey.phillips@tea.texas.gov.

Resource Alert: Big Future Days Virtual College Fair

College Board has a series of free virtual college fairs for current sophomores and juniors. Each fair offers insights from college admissions professionals as well as college students. You can find more information and register here.

Student Supports Updates

Sara Vercher, Eric Metcalf, and Sara Grunberger focus on strong systems for student supports in Texas schools through the lens of their work with Communities In Schools (CIS) affiliates across the state.

Sara Vercher serves as the Student Mental Health Program Manager. She supports CIS affiliates to provide strong mental and behavioral health programming to Texas students. In addition she offers best practices for school counselors to engage with community partners in providing targeted mental and behavioral health services. Sara has eighteen years of experience in the education field as a social worker, classroom teacher and behavior support coach. You can reach Sara at sara.vercher@tea.texas.gov.

Eric Metcalf serves as the Student Supports Program Manager.  He is a resource to help schools create a thoughtful integration of school-based and community-based student support systems within the Texas Model for Comprehensive Counseling Programs. He also provides a range of technical support for CIS affiliates regarding data collection, data utilization, planning, and training. Eric has worked in education for over twenty-five years as a school social worker and administrator with Communities In Schools of Central Texas. You can reach Eric at eric.metcalf@tea.texas.gov.  

Sara Grunberger serves as the CIS Program Manager. She oversees the development and implementation of CIS program requirements and technical assistance initiatives to promote program growth and effectiveness. Sara has worked in education for over seventeen years as a teacher, a student mentor, and has been at TEA for over ten years. You can reach Sara at Sara.Grunberger@tea.texas.gov

Resource Alert: Human Trafficking Awareness!

Counselors are in a unique position to help in the fight against human trafficking; they are vital in recognizing the warning signs of trafficked students, as well as guiding potential victims to find resources and support. Click here for more information and to register for TEA's Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness Webinar Series. 

New & Noteworthy

Project Restore is a new trauma-informed training video series, which is designed to address the extraordinary and unprecedented needs our students and staff are facing this year.

TEA's School Counseling website is under construction and will soon become the Counseling, Advising, and Student Supports website. Look for it in the next few weeks.

Upcoming Events: 

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