Child Abuse Prevention and Spring Pandemic Resources

Texas Education Agency

April 2021

The Counseling, Advising, & Student Supports Newsletter

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Counselor Corner

This newsletter offers tools to engagement resources for counselors, parents, and caregivers, highlights two key TEA advising resources, and reviews important child abuse awareness and prevention resources for school counselors, educators, and school-based mental health professionals.


Counseling Updates

Counseling Program Resources

As the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, school counseling programs must be dynamic to meet the changing needs of students. Last week, the Department released the second volume of its K-12 COVID-19 Handbook, with new guidance for schools to consider as they continue the work of safely reopening schools for in-person learning. This new publication offers guidance around addressing mental and behavioral health challenges that have arisen during or been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Parent and Caregiver Resources

Parents and caregivers continue to be essential partners in engaging students, whether they are motivating students through the final months of virtual school or looking for strategies to support summer learning as the 2020-2021 schoolyear draws to a close. Below are some resources to share with parents:

Advising Updates

Financial Aid Graduation Requirement

TEA has launched a Financial Aid Graduation Requirement webpage to support districts as they implement the new requirement in the 2021-2022 school year. This page will be kept up-to-date with language from Texas Education Code and Texas Administrative Code related to the requirement, provide key resources, such as the approved opt-out form, and direct stakeholders to quality resources and training opportunities.

Proposed Commissioner's rules regarding this new requirement are currently available for public comment. You can review these and other proposed rules here.

Texas College Bridge

The Texas College Bridge can help prepare students for entry level college courses. The program provides districts with HB5 college preparatory English and math curriculum that is consistent, high quality, and thorough. The online platform provides students with a personalized study plan to meet their goals. The Texas Education Agency is covering the cost for these courses through June 2022.  For more details and registration information, click here.

Student Supports Updates

Child Abuse Prevention & Awareness

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. During the COVID-19 pandemic, school-aged children continue to be susceptible to abuse, neglect, and are vulnerable to manipulation and exploitation by traffickers. Local Education Agency (LEA) staff are encouraged to develop a heightened sense of observation when working with students virtually and must continue to make reports of suspected child abuse when necessary. By remaining vigilant and following mandatory reporting guidelines, LEA staff including educators can continue to identify, prevent, and report child abuse, neglect, and human trafficking. For more information on this topic, review TEA's COVID FAQ sheet here.

DFPS Online Training for Reporting Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation: The Online Texas Abuse Hotline User Guide provides instructions and other resources for starting and completing an online report. The videos on this page help explain the written instructions in the guide. The videos are short, and they address specific sections of the online report where a video demonstration may be helpful. To access this guide, as well as other DFPS resources, click here.

Texas Youth Helpline: The Texas Youth Helpline provides free and confidential services to youth, their parents, and other family members of youth in crisis who need help finding a counselor, safe shelter, legal information, other local referral information, or just someone to talk to. You can visit the Texas Youth Helpline here.

The Cyber Safety and Digital Responsibility: A Parent’s Guide video is a collaboration between the Texas School Safety Center and Safer Schools Together.  This 90-minute training video explores the positive and negative ways that youth are using technology and social media. The information in this training will empower both school-based staff and caregivers to facilitate a proactive conversation with youth on how to safely use today’s technology. You can find this guide here. 


New & Noteworthy

New CASS Website

The new Counseling, Advising, and Student Supports website is live. Visit it here to check out all our information and resources, tailored to meet your school counselor and student support needs.

ASCA's State of the Profession Report

In October 2020, ASCA surveyed nearly 75,000 professionals in order to gather details on school counselor demographics, roles and responsibilities, the challenges of virtual learning necessitated by COVID-19, and other areas. You can find the results of this data collection effort here. 

Advising Grant Opportunity

TEA has released a grant opportunity for ESCs to work in partnership with districts in planning programs aligned to the Effective Advising Framework. To learn more, visit the grant opportunities webpage.

Survey Opportunity

The Texas Institute for Child and Family Wellbeing at UT-Austin is studying the impact of COVID-19 on school social work services.  Please share this opportunity with colleagues as appropriate. Learn more and participate in a survey here.


Stay in Touch

General inquiries can be directed to

Alexis Bauserman, Deputy Director, College, Career, and Military Preparation

Stephanie Lerner, Counselor Support Program Manager

Sara Vercher, Mental Health Program Manager

Lindsey Phillips, Effective Advising Program Manager

Eric Metcalf, Student Supports Program Manager

Sara Grunberger, Communities In School Statewide Director

Michael Willard, Advising Partnerships Manager

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