Spring School Counseling & Student Support Updates from TEA

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Texas Education Agency

Spring 2022

The Counseling, Advising, & Student Supports Newsletter

Young Child in Cap and Gown at K Graduation

Counselor Corner

This spring newsletter offers key information for counselors including advising updates, Child Abuse Prevention Month resources, and Mental Health Month tools.


Advising Updates

Effective Advising Framework 

The Effective Advising Framework (EAF) Planning Pilot grant program is in its final months with an inaugural cohort of 8 education service centers supporting various districts across the state. The program supports districts who are interested in ramping up an individual student planning system within the context of their comprehensive school counseling program.  Funds have been secured for additional grant opportunities in the 2022-2023 school year.  Please check the TEA Grant Opportunities webpage for updates and contact lindsey.phillips@tea.texas.gov with questions. 

The Financial Aid Graduation Requirement FAQs 

As you may know, the 87th Texas Legislature revised the new requirement for Texas students to complete a financial aid application (or formally opt out) in order to graduate. Current seniors must meet the new Financial Aid Graduation Requirement. Visit the Federal Student Aid webpage to learn more about this new requirement to apply for aid. Visit the Texas OnCourse resource webpage for comprehensive information and resources available for school counselors, students, families, and district partners. 

We have gathered many questions from school counselors, educators, and administrators; responses are provided in the FAQ document.  

Highest Ranking Graduate

In conjunction with Texas Education Code (TEC), §54.301, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) provides an opportunity for each public, charter, and accredited non-public high school in Texas to identify a student to award a "Highest Ranking Graduate” certificate and tuition waiver document. These documents shall be presented to the highest ranking graduate (HRG) in the senior class.

Visit the HRG "frequently asked questions" web page for additional information regarding the award.


Counseling Updates

April is Mental Health Month. Accordingly, all of the counseling updates and MTSS resources below promote positive mental health for students. 

  • The revised School Counseling (SC) FAQs are now available on the TEA website.   
  • TEA has also revised the School Counselor Evaluation webpage, with new tools and an updated job description that aligns with recent amendments to statute.  
  • The Mental Health Task Force Survey closes April 24th. All are encouraged to complete the survey, which is intended to assess school needs and capacity towards establishing and implementing multi-tiered systems of support that address mental and behavioral health.  

MTSS Resources 

MTSS Overview

(TIER, 2022)

  • Tier 1 Universal Resource: TEA’s partners at the Texas School Safety Center have free tobacco/vape prevention toolkits that focus on mental health wellness. They can be shared with the entire school population through guidance lessons and campus décor.  
  • Tier 2 Targeted Resource: This student support group presentation and guide highlights practices that can be used with students who need targeted mental health supports. 
  • Tier 3 Intensive Resource: The Texas Child Health Access Through Telemedicine (TCHATT) program assists public school districts with identifying mental health care needs and teleservices. With this resource, school personnel are guided in supporting and referring students experiencing intensive mental health challenges. To learn more or submit a TCHATT referral, visit https://www.ttuhsc.edu/catr/about-tchatt.aspx.  

Comprehensive School Counseling Program Plans 

The CASS Team is continuing to collect best practice examples of comprehensive school counseling program (CSCP) plans that we can share as exemplars. If you have a CSCP plan that you'd be willing to share with us, please email it to stephanie.lerner@tea.texas.gov. Thank you!   


Student Support Updates

Child Abuse Prevention Month  

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and May is National Foster Care Month. Below are some helpful student support resources that TEA has released recently.  

TEA’s Human Trafficking website has many resources and tools to help school personnel aid in the prevention of child abuse, neglect, and human trafficking. Two resources of particular interest are: 

To learn more, visit TEAs website or contact the team at PreventingHumanTrafficking@tea.texas.gov.     

In collaboration with various partners such as Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, TEA has created the Texas Foster Care & Student Success Resource Guide as a resource to support Texas schools in addressing the education of students in foster care. Page 162 of this guide has a particularly helpful flowchart on the Child Protective Services process. 


New & Noteworthy

  • The TEA Annual Report was released last month. “Our intent is to shine light on our commitment to ensuring that every one of the more than five million public school students in Texas is prepared for success in college, a career or the military” (TEA, 2022). 
  • The School Counselor District-Level Leadership Group meets quarterly so that school counselor district leaders can receive/share counseling information and network. Email stephanie.lerner@tea.texas.gov if you are a district-level employee over school counseling and would like to join our leadership group. 
  • TEA's brand new FAQs on Child Abuse, Family Violence, Dating Violence, and Human Trafficking just posted on the webpage. For more information, visit the FAQs here.


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 Updates from Other TEA Teams

CTE Professional Development Update 

CTE Professional Development, sponsored by the Texas Education Agency, will host two regional convenings starting this spring. Both professional development training sessions are offered at no cost to the LEA. Please contact your Education Service Center (ESC) CTE Specialist for registration details. 

Module One: CTE Programs – An Infrastructure for College, Career, and Military Readiness (CCMR) provides counselors with the opportunity to examine how strong CTE programs can support all students as they prepare for postsecondary success.

Module Two: Effective Advising for CTE Programs – Ensuring Access and Equity of CCMR will help prepare counselors for their crucial roles in supporting students’ postsecondary success.


Stay in Touch


General inquiries can be directed to CASSTeam@tea.texas.gov

Alexis Bauserman, Director, College, Career, and Military Preparation  Alexis.Bauserman@tea.texas.gov

Stephanie Lerner, Counselor Support Program Manager   Stephanie.Lerner@tea.texas.gov

Sara Vercher, Mental Health Program Manager   Sara.Vercher@tea.texas.gov

Lindsey Phillips, Pathways Program Manager   Lindsey.Phillips@tea.texas.gov

Eric Metcalf, Student Supports Program Manager  Eric.Metcalf@tea.texas.gov

Sara Grunberger, Communities In School Statewide Director Sara.Grunberger@tea.texas.gov

Michael Willard, Advising Partnerships Manager  Michael.Willard@tea.texas.gov

Christi Buerger, CASS Intern christi.buerger@tea.texas.gov


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