Oakland Counseling Association
2017-18 Vol. 1
The Oakland Counseling Association is a not-for-profit, professional and educational organization that is dedicated to the growth and enhancement of the counseling profession.
The mission of the Oakland Counseling Association is to enhance the quality of life in
Oakland County by promoting the development of professional counselors, advancing the
counseling profession and using the profession and practice of counseling to promote respect for human dignity and diversity.
Are you looking for relevant, but inexpensive, professional development options?
Look no further, because becoming a member of the Oakland Counseling Association is the perfect answer. You will be joining a group dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in Oakland County by promoting the development of professional counselors, advancing in the counseling profession, and using the profession and practice of counseling to promote respect for human dignity and diversity. This year’s topics will include Solution-Focused Brief Counseling, Human Trafficking, Post-Secondary Alternative Education Options, and Suicide Prevention.
For a small fee you can become a member, and be eligible to attend a variety of workshops at a discount. Simply go to www.oaklandcounselors.org and click on the membership link on the left hand side. Current memberships are available at $20 for individuals, $50 for departments, and $10 for students. So don’t delay and sign up for your Oakland Counseling Association membership today!
Be sure to join in time for our first event, Solution-Focused Brief Counseling, on November 7, from 8:30 am- 3 pm, at Oakland Schools.
Advocacy Efforts for Oakland County School Counselors
Last school year you were asked to participate in an Oakland County School Counselor Needs Assessment. The Oakland Counseling Association is using your feedback not only to identify how our organization can support your professional growth, but also to serve as a basis for continued advocacy efforts on behalf of all school counselors who should be served better through our intermediate school district, Oakland Schools. Many of you who responded to the survey indicated you would be curious to see the results. I would like to share those results with you, as well as describe our continued advocacy efforts with Oakland Schools.
At the end of the 2016-2017 school year I met with Dr. Michael Yocum and Dr. Heidi Kattula at Oakland Schools to discuss concerns regarding the lack of deliberate support and professional education for school counselors as well as opportunities for Oakland Schools to aim more resources our way. I presented them with this OCA Proposal for School Counselor Support 2017 which you are welcome to read. It also contains the full results of the needs assessment.
Both Dr. Yocum and Dr. Kattula seemed receptive and were appreciative of our effort to communicate the needs of school counselors that have been largely unrecognized by many decision-makers at Oakland Schools. As a result, we did see some tangible outcomes as the school year wrapped up:
· We finally have access to an up-to-date counselor listserv which allows communication with all school counselors in the county. You should belong to the email@example.com email group. *If you have any new hires this year or anyone not currently getting messages (like this newsletter), please send me or another OCA board member their information to get added.*
· Oakland Schools has agreed to continue committing significant money and support toward our Election Day PD offering each year. This is one day where many districts have professional development and Oakland Schools is supportive of as many counselors as possible participating throughout the county. This year we have Dr. Sklare providing a full day workshop on Solution Focused Brief Counseling. Click the link to get more info and to register.
· Oakland Schools has assigned Dr. Julie McDaniel to serve as a liaison at Oakland Schools for the immediate future to help communicate school counselor interests and to identify potentially appropriate professional development options.
Our goal is to continue advocating for school counselor support through Oakland Schools. Although we know that working toward support at the ISD does not make up for the many school counseling departments that are often times understaffed and overburdened, we believe that it is a good place to start if we hope to create more global acknowledgement of our unique role and value as school counselors.
If you have any specific feedback or concerns you would like to share, I will be serving as a lead contact for our advocacy efforts with Oakland Schools. You can contact me at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a Minute? To Change a Life!
Looking for a quick and easy way to meet with EVERY student on your caseload? The Mason Counselors have continued seeing every student every year through “Minute Meetings.” We continue to be pleased with the process and the results after four consecutive years.
To set up the meetings we sent an email out to all of the teachers explaining "Minute Meetings" and asked them to reserve an hour time slot for us with their class.
Here is an example of what we wrote to teachers:
We would like to schedule “Minute Meetings” with all of the students in your classrooms. The purpose of the "Minute Meetings" is to give all students the opportunity to check-in with us. This will help us address student needs. Our plan is to pull a chair into the hallway and meet with students one by one. We will have each student send the next person out when their check-in is over. We would like to keep our discussion to a minute or two. In order to have enough time with each student we would like to schedule an hour block with each class.
The teachers and the students responded very well to the idea of the meetings. It was great to see the kids about something other than scheduling. Having the “Minute Meetings” has helped us understand the population in our school and how we can better serve our students. It also assists in identifying students that may need group work, individual support, peer mediation or academic support. Through these meetings we were able to help save a life as one student was on the verge of suicide and was not on our radar yet as he was a new 6th grader. We did now know he was struggling and through a quick one minute check in, we were able to get him the help he desperately needed.
We are going to do this again for the 2017/2018 school year but will change the questions slightly to suit our student population. Some exciting news it’s that we have now streamlined the process and use Illuminate to tally our data and get immediate results.
Lastly, we used the information from the “Minute Meetings” and identify at risk students. Through the use of data we are able to set specific goals rather than only provide “drive by counseling”. We call this “The Connections Project”. The real power in “The Connections Project” is to identify and assist the students that may not ask for help and will be missed.
For more information on “The Connections Project”, please contact